An award-winning and top-rated aquarium in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Ripley’s® Aquarium of the Smokies offers a variety of interactive experiences and exhibits that showcase the many thousands of exotic sea creatures that call this venue home. Guests can touch real stingrays, travel along a 340-foot moving glidepath beneath a sea of sharks, paint a piece of artwork with penguins, and much more.
|from Ashley, one of our Gatlinburg Travel Experts|
Good To Know
|from Joan, our Gatlinburg Market Manager|
We loved all of it! We took a break from the outdoors and went through the aquarium. Loved the Sharks. Kids liked the jellyfish and sting rays that you could touch and the exhibits through out! Very interesting. You can combine it with a few other of the Ripley's exhibits in town which we did and that helps break up the day.
This was one of our families favorite spot during our trip. Make sure you take a camera and plan to spend around 3 hours...
Wonderful aquarium. Great fun for kids of all ages. We took grand kids and they loved it. We did too.
We've been to several aquariums, and we absolutely love this one. It is probably our favorite, second only to the freshwater aquarium in Chattanooga, Tn; however, that pretty much comparing apples with oranges. 😉 It is always clean and well taken care of, even with the enormous amounts of visitors they receive daily. The tanks are well taken care of, and there is a wide assortment of fish, mammals, shellfish, etc., to see. The staff is always nice and pretty knowledgeable of everything. They even have tshirts staying if they're in training; so, you can be prepared for their less than experiences answer, and they will direct you to a more knowledgeable staff member when needed. We love the Rays Bay (sting rays), the big tank of snow crabs, the jellies and the enormous tank of sharks with the convey belt you "ride." It's funny that once you're up too look down into the shark tank, you can realize it's not so enormous, but when you're below it seems huge. They've done a good job with this optical illusion, and kids (young and teens) seem to love it. The diver shows are neat, and it appears the "Sleeping with the Sharks" program is cool, but we've never tried it. They have a great interactive area where kids can play, touch a ray or jellies and expend some energy. They've now built a "treehouse playground," too, which is really cool, and I suspect is going to get a lot of the kiddie crowd off the floor on those crazy busy summer days. The only thing I'd have to say that I'm not crazy about at the aquarium is the Penguins. NOT because they're not cute and fun to watch. They have a great little area for kids to climb through and see them swimming, and I love the penguin "hospital" where you can see newborns or those who need some extra care. It's because of the smell around the penguin area. Ugh. Sometimes, it's worse than others, but it always pretty much stinks; so, I just can't stick around as much as I'd like to. The gift shop is done really well, and they have an incredible variety from which to choose. You, of course, have to exit through here. lol. Being a family of two boys, having coming here since our oldest was in a stroller, and now in his teens and his brother as a pre-teen, I can easily recommend this for all ages. Our sons enjoy it as much as we do.
|Attractions||Hotels & Lodging|
Can I leave and revisit the same day?
Sorry, the tickets are good for one-time admission to the aquarium.
How long does it take to tour the attraction?
We recommend allowing 2 hours or more to tour the aquarium.
Where can I park?
There are various parking areas nearby in Gatlinburg. There is a City owned parking garage directly behind the Aquarium. The City charges a maximum of $6 per day.
Do you have stroller rentals? Are strollers allowed?
The aquarium is stroller friendly. Strollers can be rented at guest services for $3.
Do you allow pets?
Only service animals are allowed.
Are cameras allowed?
Yes, you can take pictures and or take video to share with your friends.
Is the aquarium wheelchair accessible?
Yes it is, we also offer wheelchairs available at guest services.
Are any of the Unique Experiences included with the admission ticket?
No, that costs extra. If you are looking to Splash with the Stingrays or participate in the Penguin Encounter or any other special tours, you can call the aquarium directly for an additional fee.
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