Oct 22, 2020

A night at the wax museum, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

In a town like Pigeon Forge, Tenn., which seems primarily to exists to cater to family vacations, you’re destined to find plenty of artificially created attractions to take your money, come rain or shine.  So, when it did rain on our evening plans, my wife Punky hunkered down in our hotel room, while the Kiddo and I ventured out on the main highway through town to see what we could find. 

We ended up drawn to a site with one of the most prominent building facades on the Pigeon Forge Parkway – a replica of King Kong climbing a skyscraper while holding a biplane.  Perfectly out of place in Pigeon Forge, but what the heck? 

We had arrived at the Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center.

As I later learned, this Hollywood Wax Museum – there are four locations with the original in Hollywood, Calif. – is the largest wax museum in the United States and has been attracting roaming tourists since 2012.  The museum is actually one of several attractions on-site, but since I had little interest in muddling my way through a mirror maze or walking through a house full of zombies, I talked the Kiddo out of a combo ticket and stuck with our original plan to only tour the wax museum.    

As wax museums go, the Hollywood is probably what you’d expect it to be, but as you move from scene to scene, you begin to appreciate the effort put into making each display – and especially each sculpture – as realistic as possible.  And they invite you to put yourself into many scenes, so you can cheese it up with your favorite “fake” celebrities.   

For instance, ever want to know what it feels like to walk the red carpet at famous functions?  You can here, along with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. 

I couldn’t resist inserting myself into an adventure with Indiana Jones.  I tried to warn him to leave the crystal skull behind, but I’m betting he didn’t listen.    

Meanwhile, the Kiddo looks as uncomfortable on the Ellen Degeneres show as most of Ellen’s guests.

I’m not certain why they chose an older Bill Murray and not his iconic character from “Caddyshack” to put on the golf course, but posing with him was a Cinderella story nonetheless.  

I was beaming when we got to the "Star Trek" transporter room, but the Kiddo seemed slightly puzzled.

At least I wasn’t wearing a red shirt that night, or I might have decided to skip this photo opportunity.

Wax museums are often associated with scenes of horror and creepiness, so it seemed appropriate that Hollywood has an entire section devoted to classic movie monsters, from the classic Bela Lugosi version of Dracula … 

… to the Crypt Keeper. 

As a huge Sean Connery fan, I was very pleased when we reached the “Hunt for Red October” scene. 

And the Kiddo happily inserted herself into the film “Titanic.”

Moving on, yet another part of the movie section of the museum was devoted to westerns, with John Wayne appropriately represented.  

Or, if you prefer your Westerns spaghetti-style, Clint Eastwood.   

One of the last sections we walked through was devoted to giants of the music industry.  Punky is a huge fan of Prince, so I had to take a picture of his likeness.  The Kiddo was happy to ham it up on the keyboard with him. 

Finally, it just wouldn’t be right to have a celebrity wax museum in Pigeon Forge without a portrayal of its most famous resident. 

So, this didn’t turn out so bad after all.  Punky got a peaceful couple of hours to herself, and the Kiddo and I had some quality time goofing off.  Some tourist traps are worth the price for a little frivolous fun, and the Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., will likely have something to amuse everyone in the family.  If you have some free time on your family trip to the area, give it a visit. 

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