The new $25 million dollar permanent Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. will open on Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 10 a.m. with a star-studded Grand Opening hosted by Regis Philbin.  The event, which is open to the public, also will be attended by descendants and family members of those onboard the Titanic and includes a christening of the ship.

Philbin, best known for his television shows including Live With Regis & Kelly (Kathie Lee) and Who Wants to be A Millionaire, will serve as master of ceremonies during the Grand Opening. Philbin’s television career started more than 50 years ago when he was a reporter in San Diego. Since that time, he has become a national fixture with a string of Emmy Award-winning shows. The christening and Grand Opening events, which take place outside of the Titanic Museum Attraction, are free and open to the public.

Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge is a half-scale, permanent, three-deck reproduction of the Titanic. The museum houses 20 galleries to display hundreds of authentic, priceless Titanic artifacts that were either carried from the ship and into lifeboats by passengers and crew, or were found afloat soon after the sinking and quickly salvaged by rescue boats.

Inside the Titanic Museum, visitors find full-size reproductions (built to actual Titanic blueprints) of a First Class suite, First Class hallways, Third Class accommodations and – the museum’s centerpiece – a $1 million exact reproduction of the Titanic’s Grand Staircase. The First Class suite will be a tribute to Isidor and Ida Straus, owners of Macy’s Department Stores, which  was also the cabin used in James Cameron’s blockbuster movie Titanic as Rose’s suite.

“We pay respect to Titanic by telling the story of the ship and her passengers,” said John Joslyn, owner of the new Titanic Museum Attraction. “Visitors learn the individual stories of those onboard the ship as they are learning about the ship itself. We have spent years researching these people – and their stories are absolutely amazing.

“In addition to an unparalleled collection of artifacts, we have built the Titanic Museum as a completely interactive attraction. You hear the wonderful stories as you’re going through the museum, but you are also experiencing things the way they were in 1912 when Titanic sailed. It’s one thing to hear about the men who shoveled coal into the boilers – but it comes to life for you when you pick up that shovel and feel what it means to shovel coal into a furnace.”

In addition to being a world class museum in the truest sense of the word, Titanic Pigeon Forge is also highly interactive and offers a hands-on experience for children, teenagers and adults. The ship is anchored in water to create the illusion of Titanic at sea, and a two hour self-guided tour gives guests the sensation of sailing on the original ship’s 1912 maiden voyage. Upon entry, each guest receives a boarding pass bearing the name of an actual Titanic passenger or crew member whose fate is revealed on the Memorial Wall at tour end. Along the way, powerful emotions surface as guests:

•  Walk Titanic’s Grand Staircase
•  Touch the frozen surface of an “iceberg”
•  Feel the chill of that fateful “Starry Night”
•  Test the 28 degree water
•  Interact with various Titanic models
•  Grip the ship’s wheel and follow the Captain’s commands
•  Tour world-class galleries and the 300 rare historical artifacts
•  Sit in a Titanic lifeboat and listen to actual survivors tell their stories
•  Send an SOS from the Marconi Wireless Room
•  Test their balance while standing on mini-decks built to show the ever-steeper slope of Titanic as she sank
•  Watch children eight years and younger explore the special interactive TOT-Titanic Play-and-Learn Room. 1) steer a ship 2) Meet the Titanic Polar Bear 3) build the Titanic ship
•  Dive to Titanic’s wreck site via spectacular underwater camera footage from the owner who put the second Titanic expedition together and produced the first Titanic TV special.

The Titanic Museum Attraction Grand Opening event begins on Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 10 a.m. and continues with special events and celebrity guest appearances throughout the weekend.