Of the hundreds of thousands of visitors that the Gatlinburg area welcomes each year, many are persons of deep religious faith. They and their families will find much to entertain, enrich, and inspire them at Christ in the Smokes, located at 510 River Road, just off the parkway. Children as well as adults of all ages will find this to be a moving experience that brings to life the events of the Bible in a marvelous way.
Those who are prior visitors to the area will recognize this as the former site of Christus Gardens. The tranquil, park-like setting has been preserved. Several exciting additions have been put in place by the new owners, however. The largest is a series of 12 exhibits that show major events in Jesus’ life. Each of these is reproduced in splendid details with the use of highly lifelike wax figures. The first scene is of the nativity, and they progress through Christ’s miracles, his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension to heaven.
A recorded narrative played at each stop explains the context for the scene from the New Testament. Extreme care has been taken to make each of them historically and biblically accurate. Lovely inspirational music, dramatic lighting, and special effects help to enhance the authentic quality of the displays.
Navigation from one room to the next is easy, thanks to the spacious hallways. Normal tour time is around 40 minutes. All floors are level, and everything is easy to walk, even for those with strollers. The staff is happy to provide wheelchairs for those who need them.
For many visitors, the reproduction of the Last Supper is especially beautiful. The scene is based both on New Testament descriptions as well as the famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci.
In addition to the museum, the newly renovated gift shop offers a wide array of inspirational and religious items. You’ll also have the opportunity to see coins and gems from actual biblical times, as well as a page from a King James Bible printed in 1611.
Many Gatlinburg attractions can be noisy and even a little hectic at times. Those seeking a quieter, more contemplative atmosphere will not be disappointed by the beautiful gardens just outside the main building. The centerpiece of this area is the statue of the face of Christ. His eyes seem to follow visitors as they walk about, enjoying the natural beauty and peace of the surroundings.
Those staying in one of our Gatlinburg cabins during the Christmas season have the opportunity to see the entire location decorated with thousands of festive holiday lights. Many are set in the shapes of characters and animals from the Bible, including doves, lambs, and even Christ himself, standing with arms outstretched.
Christ in the Smokies is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tours begin every 15 minutes. Be sure to visit this marvelous attraction the next time you’re in the Gatlinburg area.
Author Mike Olsen