Weekend trips

Students at WCU are always looking for someplace to go on the weekends. Since so many students go home over the weekend, others are left with nothing new to do or places to see. However, there are places close to WCU that students may visit that can offer something new on a boring weekend. In Athens, T.N., is the state’s largest Russell Stover Candies Factory Outlet Superstore, nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. What makes an outlet so great is the fact that the candy is marked down from its original price. Students can buy twice as much without spending more money than a normal college student may have. Just take Exit #49 from 175, then head ½ mile east and the store is on the left. For a place that is a little closer, there is Ghost Town in Maggie Valley. Though the park was closed for several years while a new owner was up-dating the park, it will officially be re-opened in May of this year. The park will have new rides, but the same fun outdoor gun fights and Can-Can girls that dance away. Visitors will travel 3,370ft straight up in one of their chair lifts or inclined railroad to the town while watching as riders scream from the Red Devil Roller Coaster that hangs from the side of the mountain. Maggie Valley also is home to camping, fishing and mining, as well as various restaurants for all visitors to enjoy. A short drive to Knoxville will give any weekender plenty to do. One of the sites that is favored among visitor is the Knoxville Zoo. The zoo is open every day, weather permitting, and costs around $15 to enter for the whole day. The zoo even offers internships from feeding the animals to teaching visitors about each species. Atlanta has attractions, sports and entertainment that are known around the world. It is home to one of the most important and established media centers, and the city is rich in history. For the sports fan, there is the Atlanta Dome which has hosted the Super Bowl and events for the Olympic Games, but the Dome also has hosted non-sports related events. There also is the world’s largest aquarium with over 100,000 animals, all in about 8 million gallons of water. The aquarium also has the 4-D theater which has 3-D graphics along with live actors and interactive seats. Visitors have the chance to walk under the aquarium to get a different perspective of marine life. For some, Disney is too far and expensive to travel to, so there is the Six Flags theme park, with screaming thrill rides to soaking water rides. Every Thursday night, there is live music and the animal park lets visitors see African wildlife. On the culture side of Atlanta, there is the Cyclorama and Civil War Museum, which is home to the world’s largest painting “The Battle of Atlanta.” Each student has his or her own way of enjoying a weekend. Most of these attractions are only a few hours away and are relatively cheap. As the school year comes to a close, these attractions will still be available for the next year.