Earthquake the Ride Is Just As Bad as You Think (a Look Inside)

earthquake the ride on the parkway in gatlinburg tn

(photos by Morgan Overholt/

An honest review with prices, location and parking information from a TN native

I’ve lived in East Tennessee for most of my life, and I have fond memories of spending my weekends and summers roaming around the Smoky Mountains. I’ve tried almost every attraction at least once. Except, that is, Earthquake the Ride. Earthquake the Ride is a theme park-style thrill ride located in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The attraction promises to offer a “sensory overload” of “gut-wrenching high-tech special effects” and simulate the feel of a real earthquake.

Earthquake The Ride is a standalone attraction located on the strip in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It’s known among locals for being a cheesy ride and somewhat of a tourist trap. It features outdated effects and not many thrills for the price, especially compared to other nearby attractions. Parking is also not easy to find nearby due to its downtown Gatlinburg location.

two mannequins at earthquake the ride in gatlinburg
Why does every cheesy attraction in the Smokies feature nightmare-inducing creepy mannequins? (photo by Morgan Overholt/

What is it like to ride Earthquake the Ride?

To start, we purchased our tickets and got in line behind some creepy mismatched mannequins with missing appendages. A ride attendant motioned us onto a prop subway train where we were greeted by a few rows of movie-theater-like chairs with seat belts. We, alongside the other guests, took our seats, buckled in, and secured our belongings. Bags are permitted on the ride, however, you have to hold them in your lap. The ride began with an “oncoming train” on the tracks – represented by a bright light al la Dollywood’s Blazing Fury.

“Station control – we have a train on our track and it’s coming at us” you hear the pre-recorded conductor yell over the intercom. That’s when the floor beneath our feet began to move back and forth along the track on a tilt as we, for some reason, lurched closer to the oncoming train. Then, the strobe lights kick in and the ceiling “collapses”. After that, I’m not entirely sure what happened to the train because suddenly I was surrounded by a mind-bending random assortment of props including (but not limited to) a flood of water, a giant animatronic gorilla, a gaggle of alligators and a handful of rats. The entire ride lasts roughly four minutes.

cage with fake gorilla at earthquake the ride in gatlinburg tn
An angry gorilla – because there’s one in every earthquake? (photo by Morgan Overholt/

Is it that bad?

Yes, it really is that bad. It currently has a 2.3-star review on Google. However, it’s also the kind of bad that almost makes it good. Like the kind of bad that maybe, if you pre-gamed at Ole Smoky beforehand, you’d find the whole thing hilarious. Honestly, I did not have any moonshine samples and I kind of found it to be hilarious. But not so hilarious that I was willing to forgive the $14.99 price I paid for admission, but note that prices are subject to change. As far as the earthquake simulation is concerned, I must admit I’ve never personally experienced a quake in real life. But for obvious reasons, I’m fairly certain Earthquake the Ride’s simulation lacks authenticity.

attendant at earthquake the ride in gatlinburg
If you feel like throwing your money away, you can find Earthquake the Ride on the main strip in downtown Gatlinburg (photo by Morgan Overholt/

Parking, prices and location

An admission ticket for Earthquake The Ride is $14.99 for adults, and pricing for children is also available. Pricing is subject to change. Earthquake the Ride currently takes up precious real estate along the Gatlinburg strip and is located at 653 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 across from Fannie Farkles and Ole Smoky Moonshine. There is no free parking for this stand-alone attraction, but there are paid lots nearby. The ride does not have a website, and in my experience, if you call the attraction’s phone number it will likely just go to voicemail.

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Have you ridden Earthquake the Ride? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.

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Disclosure: We have used and experienced all the products and activities recommended on The Smokies. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products and experiences featured.

6 thoughts on “Earthquake the Ride Is Just As Bad as You Think (a Look Inside)”

  1. I totally agree!! What a complete waste of time. Everyone was laughing because of how stupid we all were to have wasted our money on a kiddie ride gone wrong! And not wrong in the good way!

  2. I rode it many years ago and only paid 6.99..I thought it was fun not scary per say.. it is somewhat outdated, but still a part of Gatlinburg.

  3. Don’t care! This is one of the few remaining classic attractions left in the village and one myself and many others my age who have known it most of our lives and still visit it every time we get back to Gatlinburg appreciate it!
    You want to know what’s sad to me? Take a walk up the strip which you to be filled with unique locally owned and operated businesses, attractions, restaurants, and hotels are all being slowly replaced by the big hotel chains, chain restaurants, and expensive restaurants and upscale shops! In the past decade or so Gatlinburg has lost a lot of its charm, it’s architecture, and everything made it special! Why not go ahead to bulldoze the rest? I’m sure they could build more box plain shaped stores in their place.

  4. Went once, years ago. BIG disappointment. Now, when my wife and I stroll past, we stage whisper “you’ll be sorry!” to the people in line. It’s the least we can, in good conscience, do.

  5. This attraction, along with World of Illusions and Hauntings, gave Gatlinburg its unique charm. Now, most of them have sadly been replaced with Moonshine stores and other generic shops. Gatlinburg isn’t as fun as it used to be.


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