In the past decade, the true crime genre has really exploded.  I'm guilty of it too, if there's a new true-crime documentary out, I'm going to watch it.  A new true-crime podcast?  I'll be listening to it.   I'm not sure what it is about true crime that is so interesting, I think maybe because it is both fascinating and terrifying?   Either way, if you like true crime, this museum in Tennessee is for you.

Alcatraz East True Crime Museum will make your Smoky Mountain stay a little eerie.

My husband, myself, and some friends went to the Gatlinburg/ Pigeon Forge area and we had a blast. One day it was really rainy so we decided to find something fun to do that was inside, and we stumbled across Alcatraz East True Crime Museum.  They hadn't been open long, and we didn't know much about the museum, but we had found a true-crime gem!

Here we are getting our "lineup" photo taken. Please ignore my husband's intentional double chin face here.


Let me start off by saying the museum is HUGE.  It took us a couple of hours to get through the entire museum.  You could probably get through it a little quicker if you didn't want to stop and read everything.   The museum is cool because it goes through the history of crime, starting back in the wild west days with stagecoach robbers, and then continues on through more current true crime.

Real Crime Artifacts

First off when I went there were so many exhibits to see, and they are not only huge, but many were interactive too.  I think for me the eeriest was seeing John Wayne Gacy's actual Pogo the clown suit in person, they also had some of Gacy's paintings.  It was unsettling to see, to say the least.

In the museum, you can also see some infamous vehicles, Ted Bundy's Volkswagon Bug is in the museum, and so is the Ford Bronco that was seen all over the news during the O.J. police chase.


Definitely worth the stop, but beware.

If you're planning a trip to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area, I highly recommend carving out some time in your trip to see Alcatraz East.  There is SO much to see there and learn. I will warn you though, you need ro carve out quite a bit of time to really walk through and see the museum.   Another warning, it is heavy being at Alcatraz East.  There are so many interesting things to see, but it can get heavy looking at real crime artifacts, and seeing some of those things in person.  My suggestion is to plan some time to see the museum, but after go do something fun or hike a nature trail.  You'll definitely need a palate cleanser after visiting Alcatraz East.

Check out this video that highlights a few of the exhibits, and get a peek inside!

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