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Gatlinburg aquarium: 'Animals are safe' after devastating Tennessee wildfires

Wildfires fueled by high winds roared through parts of the Great Smoky Mountains, burning the doorstep of the Dollywood theme park, destroying a resort and chasing thousands of people from their homes. In its ashy wake were scorched cars and buildings, and soot-covered debris covered in a smoky haze, The Associated Press reported.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Gatlinburg wildfire threatens Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies; employees forced to abandon building

But Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies posted a hopeful update Tuesday afternoon: All its animals are safe.

"For the safety of our employees and guests, all of our Attractions will remain closed until the evacuation has lifted," the property said in a Facebook post. "We have a team of Marine Biologists and Life Support Experts inside the Aquarium and are happy to report that the animals are safe."

>> Read the post here

For the safety of our employees and guests, all of our Attractions will remain closed until the evacuation has lifted....Posted by Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies on Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ryan DeSear, general manager of the aquarium, also spoke to the Knoxville News-Sentinel

"All is fine here at Ripley's Aquarium. Obviously, the city has had a lot of problems, and it has been very hard for us to get into this building, but all the animals are fine. Life support's working great, and the building is coming along just fine, so we're very positive moving forward that we're not going to have any issues."

He added, "We're very grateful, obviously, to all the people that have been working these fires. ... All is good. We got very lucky here at the aquarium, and we look forward to getting back to business as usual when the time comes."

>> Watch the video here

Earlier reports were harrowing.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Dollywood, other Tennessee tourist destinations evacuated due to wildfires

“We are still not allowed into the city at this time,” the property posted as flamed crept closer to Gatlinburg. “I know our Biologists are trying to get into the city as quickly as they can. We will post updates as soon as we have them.”

>> Read more trending stories

The aquarium also shared DeSear's video showing the town under smoky siege:

Arsonists need to go to prison for a long timePosted by Ryan DeSear on Monday, November 28, 2016

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Nintendo-themed areas coming to Universal Parks

Mario and friends will become a part of Universal's theme parks. 

>> Read more trending stories  

The creative visionaries behind Nintendo's legendary worlds and characters are working together with the creative teams behind Universal's blockbuster theme park attractions. Their goal is to bring the characters, action and adventure of Nintendo video games to life within Universal theme parks in new and innovative ways that capture what makes them so special.

All of the adventure, fun and whimsy that gamers experience through a screen will now be all available in real life: Guests are to feel as if they are playing inside their favorite games.

The Nintendo-themed areas are planned to be constructed at Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. They will be highly themed and authentic environments that are immersive, interactive and filled with multiple attractions, shops and restaurants.

Plans include something for everyone, regardless of age or gaming experience level.

Planning and creative work on these areas is well underway. They will open separately over the next several years.

The new themed areas come as the result of a global partnership between Universal Parks & Resorts and Nintendo -- two icons of the entertainment world. Universal theme parks create incredibly popular family entertainment experiences for millions of people based on compelling characters, stories and innovative technology. Nintendo creates imaginative games filled with captivating stories and beloved characters.

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Fit for the King: Elvis' Guest House at Graceland hotel opens in Memphis

The Guest House at Graceland is now officially open.

It has been years in the making, and now this world-class resort in Memphis, Tennessee, next to Elvis Presley's mansion is taking the region by storm.

WHBQ's Scott Madaus was invited to Thursday’s ceremony hosted by Priscilla Presley. 

>> PHOTOS: Elvis' Guest House at Graceland hotel opens in Memphis

From EP's Bar and Grill, up to one of the King’s private rooms, back down to a massively detailed lobby, over to Delta's Kitchen, then back up to a seventh-floor suite themed after Elvis' Palm Springs mansion, you will have no doubt that you are in Memphis with the King.

Leading the way and cutting the ribbon for the ceremonial grand opening was Priscilla Presley.

This $90 million project has 450 rooms, a business center, a 464-seat theater, five restaurants and lounges.

It is now officially open for business.

“If this hotel was here during the time he was alive, he would have probably spend most of his time over here," Priscilla Presley said.

The lobby's ceiling is themed after one of Elvis Presley's jumpsuits.

An exact replica of the stairwell inside Graceland including the famous chandelier is there.

>> Read more trending stories

“It has just been a dream come true," Priscilla Presley said.

No detail was spared, and much of the work force inside the guesthouse is local.

The rooms, of course, are fit for a king, and the suites are fit for the King himself.

​We're getting ready to celebrate the Grand Opening of the The Guest House at Graceland! Tune in to the Today Show on...Posted by The Guest House at Graceland on Wednesday, October 26, 2016

“Someone asked me last night if Elvis would ever stay in this hotel, and I said, 'Would he ever stay in this hotel? I mean, this would be a dream hotel for him!'" Priscilla Presley said.

In the end, this project that is now the basis for revitalization in the Whitehaven area is complete. But the best is possibly yet to come.

“It positions us for better things to come in the 21st century," said Kevin Kane, president and CEO of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau.

>> Watch a video of the ribbon cutting here

<script>(function(d, s, id) {</span><span>  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];</span><span>  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;</span><span>  js = d.createElement(s); = id;</span><span>  js.src = "//;version=v2.8";</span><span>  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);</span><span>}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> The new Guesthouse at Graceland is holding a ribbon cutting today. Scott Madaus FOX13 Memphis is live from the $90 million hotel: by FOX13 Memphis on Thursday, October 27, 2016

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'Peanuts' corn mazes crop up for 50th anniversary of 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'

Get ready for a Halloween treat, Peanuts fans.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," Utah-based The MAiZE Inc. has designed "Peanuts"-themed corn mazes at more than 90 farms across the country, the Washington Post reported last month.

>> Read more trending stories

According to the Post, "several of the mazes will feature political slogans, such as 'Snoopy for Prez'" in honor of the upcoming presidential election. 

Guests also will get a chance to watch the iconic "Great Pumpkin" special, first broadcast in 1966, at the farms. (And if you can't make it to one of the farms, don't fret: The special airs at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday on ABC.)

Read more here.

>> Click here to find a maze near you

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