Whether they admit it or not, most people hold a huge fascination with tabloids and the stories they tell. Newspapers and magazines abound, but the National Enquirer reigns supreme as the ultimate source of juicy news. It was a go-to for insider info long before social media arrived on the scene — and today, it continues to titillate us in line at the grocery store, and increasingly, online as well.
Beyond the Lens, formally known as National Enquirer Live encourages us to embrace our natural curiosity. This Pigeon Forge attraction pays homage to our love of gossip, all while offering an inside glimpse of an intriguing industry. Seven years of detailed planning and development went into this ambitious product, with those involved scouring through thousands of hours of interviews to ensure that chosen stories were retold in a way that would captivate visitors just as much as these reports did when initially released.
Spanning 20,000 square feet, Beyond the Lens offers something for everyone. You’ll be impressed before you even set foot in the building; the eye-catching facade features a fallen building and a huge camera in the clutches of the paparazzi. Take a photo before this impressive backdrop. You’ll continue to pose for the camera throughout your visit; highlights include photos in a space ball pit and selfies atop a pallet of money.
Inside, you’ll find a myriad of exhibits that fall under the umbrella of four main categories: crime, conspiracies, celebrities, and gossip. Highlights include exhibits detailing the JFK conspiracy, the O.J. Simpson trial, and Princess Diana’s complicated relationship with the press.
Ultimately, this attraction tells the story behind the story. While navigating its exhibits, you’ll gain a better sense for why certain stories have held such appeal over the years — and why the National Enquirer’s method of reporting continues to succeed across several platforms.
A few of our favorite exhibits and activities include the following:
Beyond the Lens’s tribute to the British royal family has attracted its fair share of attention, but it’s not quite as scandalous as you might expect. At its core, this exhibit features a series of sliding doors and interactive walls that offer insight into one of the world’s most cherished families. A locator map demonstrates the path Princess Diana’s car took on the night she died.
The National Enquirer has long followed Bigfoot, with sightings regularly reported within the tabloid’s pages — and now, memorialized at Beyond the Lens. At Bigfoot’s Lair, you’ll find the ultimate Sasquatch photo opportunity, as well as several interactive exhibits worth browsing.
UFO and Space Conspiracies Room
Bigfoot was only the beginning for the National Enquirer, which also has a long history of reporting on UFO sightings. Several of the tabloid’s most notable space conspiracy stories are highlighted in this exhibit, which is also home to an Instagram-friendly ball pit. This pit isn’t merely a photo op, however; it also allows you to embrace your inner child and goof off.
History of Social Media Gallery
Social media has prompted its fair share of scandal over the years, with influencers often at the center of such stories. This gallery examines the role social media has played in modern gossip and storytelling, while also offering additional activities to keep you and your loved ones entertained. Highlights include a YouTube tower and a station that allows you to create your own tabloid cover.
No matter your stance on tabloids, you’ll find something to enjoy at Beyond the Lens. Arrive with an open mind, and you’ll leave with dozens of pictures — and plenty of new insights on the history and future of gossip.
Beyond the Lens offers an app to provide additional details and guidance for the attraction. Many visitors report issues with loading the app, however. It is by no means vital to enjoying the attraction as a whole.
Eating and drinking are prohibited inside Beyond the Lens — a possible point of concern for those hoping to spend several hours exploring the many jam-packed exhibits available. Consider packing a cooler with snacks in your vehicle; if you step out for a moment, you’ll be allowed to re-enter and continue seeing all that the attraction has to offer.