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WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge to Host Astronaut and Special NASA Exhibit

This fall, visitors to Pigeon Forge will be able to take one small step for vacationers and one giant leap for vacation-kind! From October 5 – 8, 2017, the popular WonderWorks attraction will host a temporary exhibit called “NASA Journey to Mars”. This eagerly anticipated exhibit will feature a meet and greet with a former astronaut, an actual moon rock that guests can touch, a virtual reality experience, and even more fun. To help you make the most of your next getaway, Visit My Smokies has put together a convenient guide to this special event at WonderWorks.

Meet and Greet with an Astronaut

On Saturday, October 7, retired astronaut Captain Robert “Hoot” Gibson will appear at WonderWorks to pose for photos, give autographs, and answer questions about space exploration. According to the Sevier News Messenger, Gibson will participate in meet and greets at the following times:

  • 11a.m – noon
  • 1 – 2 p.m.
  • 3 – 4 p.m.

Captain Gibson had a storied career as a NASA astronaut. From 1979 – 1996, Gibson participated in five space shuttle flights, logging 36 and ½ total days in space. During his final mission, Capt. Gibson commanded the Atlantic space shuttle as it docked with the Russian shuttle Mir for the first time. In 2003, Gibson was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Before becoming an astronaut, Gibson served in the Navy as a fighter pilot and test pilot. He is a graduate of the Naval Fighter Weapons School, a.k.a. “Topgun”, and the Navy Test Pilot School. Gibson is married to Dr. Rhea Seddon, one of America’s first female astronauts.

An astronaut floating above Earth.Highlights of the NASA Exhibit at WonderWorks

In addition to the meet and greet with Captain Gibson, the NASA exhibit will feature a number of other interactive experiences. Here are some of the highlights of the exhibit:

Guests will be able to participate in a virtual tour of the new Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft. In the coming years, the SLS and Orion will launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a historic mission. The WonderWorks exhibit will include models of the SLS and Orion and special virtual reality experiences that will take guests inside the spacecrafts. Official NASA staff will run this one-of-a-kind exhibit.

A moon rock from the Apollo 17 mission will be on display. Guests will even have the opportunity to touch the rock!

Visitors to WonderWorks will have the chance to take home a photo of themselves inside a NASA spacesuit. These fun prints will feature your choice of background: the International Space Station, Mars Rover, Orion spacecraft, or Space Launch System rocket.

The sign outside of WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge.Register for the Journey to Mars Event

When you register for the Journey to Mars event in advance, you’ll receive a complimentary Mission Complete patch or another free gift (while supplies last). To sign up, head over to the official WonderWorks website and fill out the registration form. The NASA exhibit and meet and greet with Captain Gibson are open to guests who purchase any WonderWorks ticket combo.

For even more fun things to do during your next vacation, check out our complete listing of attractions in Pigeon Forge!