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Alcatraz East Officially Opens for Business December 16, 2016 | News

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Alcatraz East Officially Opens for Business December 16, 2016
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Alcatraz East Officially Opens for Business December 16, 2016

As the community of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge rebuild from the recent wildfires, one thing is for sure - tourism is still welcome and the community is open for business.  As many people look for a way to show their support to the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area, one important way they can do that is to still visit through the holidays, as many people do annually. Each year, the area has around 11 million visitors who visit the vacation destination, enjoying everything from hiking in the Smoky Mountains to visiting popular themed restaurants and museums.

“There are around 10,000 people who live in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area, and tourism is their livelihood, they rely on visitors choosing the destination each year,” states Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer for Alcatraz East, “With the opening of the Crime Museum, we have added one more fun thing that families can do when they vacation in the area.”

Each year, people from around the world visit the area, taking in the gorgeous year-round nature scenes, as well as exploring the many family friendly things there are to do. During the winter months, the average visitor stays for almost four days, and has traveled around 300 miles to get there. Each year, people visit the Dollywood theme park, going skiing and sledding, white water rafting, hiking, and explore places like Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and the Guinness World Records Museum. Alcatraz East officially joined the ranks of those fun and family friendly options, officially opening December 16, 2016. The new crime museum is located at the entrance to The Island, at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge. They are located near the Margaritaville Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.

Visitors to Alcatraz East will appreciate the exterior façade, which is of a 19th century prison. The look was inspired by the historic Alcatraz in San Francisco, and offers 24,000 square feet of space in a two-story museum. With over 100 interactive exhibits covering the history of American crime, the consequences of crime, crime scene investigation, crime fighting, and pop culture, there is something of interest to everyone.

Some of the highlights of the many crime artifacts on display at the museum include John Dillinger’s death mask, Al Capone’s rosary, a Bonnie & Clyde collection, the Bronco from the OJ chase, an FBI polygraph machine, Al Pacino’s submachine gun from the movie Scarface, items related to the 2012 Benghazi attack, the latest in law enforcement technology, and a variety of other artifacts.

These artifacts, which include firearms, detection equipment, prison art, and automobiles, come from hundreds of justice and law enforcement divisions nationwide, including several from the state of Tennessee.  Items to note from The Volunteer State are the polygraph machine used on Martin Luther King assassin James Earl Ray, along with items belonging to outlaw Jesse James, confiscated moonshine stills, a display on Dr. William Bass of the Body Farm, Tennessee police badges, and a centerpiece of the new museum, Tennessee’s electric chair, “Old Smokey,” used in 125 executions from 1916-1960. The museum also features numerous Tennessee stories, such as the Scopes Monkey Trial, Sheriff Buford Pusser, and the Wild Bunch.

“Spending the holidays in the Pigeon Forge area is a great way to make family memories,” states Vaccarello, “Visiting Alcatraz East while in the area is a great way for your family to be a CSI, learn about crime prevention, and to get some first-hand history lessons.”

The museum has a star-studded board of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, memorabilia collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and more. There are also many activities that are kid friendly. The board also includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony case.

General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum will be open 365 days per year, from 10 am to 9 pm, with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, log online: www.alcatrazeast.com.

 

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