Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
September 24, 2008
Nature’s savagery was on full display in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in the early morning hours of September 23. A raging fire tore through the Three Bears Gift Shop on the tourist mecca’s main drag, destroying it. But the gift shop’s five bears (not three) survived without injury, sheltered out back within a thick concrete bear pit.
Bear Pits are a Smokey Mountain institution, made possible by an abundant population of bears and of tourists who like to look at bears. There are also those who don’t like bears in pits, yet here’s a case in which the pit proved the safest place for the bears to be.
There’s no word yet on the fate of the Three Bears attraction. But there’s every reason to believe that it will eventually reopen — as did another landmark animal attraction whose gift shop recently burned, but whose animals remained safe.