Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN

88 River RoadGatlinburg, TN 37738
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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.

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Gatlinburg Travel Experts
  • City Parking Garage behind Ripley’s Aquarium is cash only.
  • Trolley stop in front of Aquarium.
  • Allot 2 hours for self-guided tour.
  • Evening hours are less crowded.
  • Cameras and videos allowed.
  • Open 365 days a year
  • No outside food or drinks allowed.
  • Voted America’s #1 Aquarium by TripAdvisor.
  • Family Package and combo tickets available.
  • Live animal shows and interactive experiences make for a memorable visit.

Discover More With Us

Insights from Reserve Direct's own team members

Joan B.

Loved the shark tunnel and penguin exhibit! The new Pearl Harbor exhibit is nicely done and very informative.

Chad W.

The aquarium is great, inside they have a lot of great interactive exhibits letting you, touch stingrays and jellyfish, play on a giant indoor playground, go through tubes into the penguin exhibit, and even take a conveyor belt through an underwater tunnel full of sharks, stingrays, fish, and sea turtles (this is the best part). You will also find an extensive gift shop, an exhibit area (pearl harbor when we went last), and a cafeteria inside the aquarium. Ripley’s is a mandatory stop for us when our family visits the Smokies.

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from Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
Explore the Amazing Aquatic World Up-Close!
Voted Best U.S. Aquarium by USA Today, one of the Top 5 Aquariums in the USA & the World by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice, and Top Destination to See Penguins by USA Today!

Marvel at 12-foot sharks, a giant sea turtle, thousands of exotic sea creatures and playful penguins as you enjoy the most spectacular, state-of-the-art underwater tunnels! Touch horseshoe crabs, jellyfish, and stingrays. Play in the new 3-story Discovery Treehouse & Play Center!. Experience a ride over Shark Lagoon in the New Glass Bottom Boat (additional cost). See Mermaids swimming June & July!

Family fun, interactive, hourly dive/feeding shows, and much, much more!

Exhibits at Ripley's Aquarium Include:
  • Tropical RainForest

  • Ocean Realm

  • Systems Control

  • Coral Reef

  • Shark Lagoon

  • Discovery Center

  • Gallery of the Seas

  • Stingray Bay

  • Touch a Ray Bay

  • Penguin Playhouse

  • Glass Bottom Boats (Additional Cost)

Since humans took to the sea to explore the planet, there have been shipwrecks. 71% of the Earth is covered by water. Scattered miles across and below the surface, secrets of our civilization wait silently to be discovered. See, experience, and explore many shipwrecks throughout history and the world.
  • Wreck Reenactments!

  • Unearth Buried Treasures!

  • Discover shipwrecks from early B.C. to the Forgotten Shipwrecks and what caused the shipwrecks!

  • Take a photo with a famous replica from Chuuk Lagoon!

  • Stand by Abraham Lincoln or Pose as The Lincolns!

  • Learn about Black Beard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge, the Edmund Fitzgerald, CSS Alabama, the Hunley and many more!

Open 365 days a year. Located in downtown Gatlinburg at traffic light #5.

Reserve Gatlinburg Customer Reviews

455 Reviews
Judy Suarez
Douglasville, GA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
December, 2018 NEW
We really enjoyed our visit. Very educational. Beautiful and enjoyable. I have had 4 sugeries this yeat. This was such a treat. Going back and Christmas with grandkids snd family members. Every one was nice and helpful. Thank you, Judy Suarez
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Tip: It is Accessible to anyones needs. Beautiful place to visit

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C Culpepper
Fuquay Varina, NC
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies - Outstanding all the way around!!"
November, 2018 NEW
As younger grandparents, we took our children and grandchildren to the Aquarium over Thanksgiving weekend. What a terrific experience. Our grandchildren are 3 and 8. Both were completely engaged in their own ways.

There are exhibits, really displays of fish that have an internal hollow globe where the children can go under and pop up into the display with fish swimming around them (this is a bit difficult to explain). The kids loved it! Best photo ops ever!! The play area was a nice respite for the kids to blow off some energy.

The snack/dining area is clean and has some decent choices. A little pricey but what you would expect. The only recommendation for the dining area is that the poor woman working there needs some help. She was running herself silly trying to help everyone. I understand this is her job but as an employer, the aquarium has placed unrealistic expectations on her. Ripley's, please consider the request and man the dining station with two staff instead of one. Not only will this assist the individual working behind the counter but provide better customer service to the individuals trying to purchase food. The process for receiving an order was lengthy.

We spent 4 hours at the aquarium. Entry fees were worth every minute spent there. The gift shop also has a nice selection of gifts; again, the kids loved it (and so did the adults).

Excellent; 5 stars. Don't miss this. It's not like the aquarium in Atlanta, which is overcrowded and exhausting. This was fun, easygoing and enjoyable all the way around.
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Tip: It helps if you buy your tickets in advance. The lines move a bit slow for those who haven't prepurchased. Look for discount coupons online. We saved $5 off the admission fee going as a couple instead of paying individually.

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Jared King
Brookhaven , MS
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Lots of variety"
November, 2018 NEW
There was a lot of variety of different fish to observe. The sharks were our children’s favorite. I liked the Blackbeard exhibit the best personally. Temperature was comfortable. It took us about an hour to complete. This was my third time to visit this aquarium. The only complaint I have it that it’s a little pricey.
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Tip: Eat before you come. Food is high inside!

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Natalie Thompson
Clewiston, FL
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
November, 2018 NEW
5 year old enjoyed it
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Natasha Gum
West Union, WV
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Family fun for all ages"
November, 2018 NEW
We had an AMAZING time!! There were 20 of us and ages ranged from 2 to 90 and we ALL had a GREAT experience!
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Amanda M.
Elkton, VA
3 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"See the Fishy"
November, 2018 NEW
Nice place to kill some time,very friendly and accommodating just wish it was bigger
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Jane McGill
Odessa, TX
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Great rainy day activity"
November, 2018
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the aquarium in Gatlinburg. There are plenty of things to keep the kids entertained and adults as well. The walkway through the tunnel is beautiful. My only concern is the play area for the kids. There is an exit to get from first floor and second floor play area, which means the kids can escape to a different floor. Parents are then forced to go through the jungle gym or run all the way to the first floor, at which point, the kids can go back up to the second floor. We made our kids get off before that could happen but they need to fix that problem immediately.
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Tip: Good rainy day or calmer activity

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Reserve Gatlinburg Customer
Independence , KY
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Fun for the kids"
October, 2018
My toddler and older child loved the experience of seeing exotic ocean life. The penguin exhibit was the family favorite. The kids were able to get face to face with the penguins I thought we would never be able to convince them to move on to another area.
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Tip: Small aquarium be prepared to wait in line unless you prepurchase and then it’s a quicker line via guest services they just scanned my phone

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TripAdvisor Reviews
TripAdvisor user image
Columbus, Georgia
"the aquarium was one of the best"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed December 12, 2018 NEW
been to a lot of aquariums ripleys was one of the best, the only bad part was no parking had to park across the street my wife was not able to walk had to drop her off close
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Tabitha H
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed December 12, 2018 NEW
Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies is a clean establishment! There is great family fun and memories to be had here! They have all the pretty fishes and its kid interactive in most areas! They have a play area in the center where you can touch jellyfish and another creature! They have a play place similar to Mcdonald's but larger. They also have the new penguin exhibit which my kids did enjoy very much!
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Cheri B
"A neat place"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed December 11, 2018 NEW
My husband and I visited the aquarium aftet our teenage daughter recommended it from going a couple years ago. There is plenty to enjoy for families of all ages. Walking through the tunnel with the aquarium all around was so neat. I liked the option of walking through it being on the moving walkway. The tunnel was much longer than I expected and the music being played made it such a relaxing experience. The touch tanks were neat. There is also a nice play area for kids to run off their energy.
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Debra C
"Informative place to visit"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed December 11, 2018 NEW
A learning experience. Things there I did not know existed. Sharks, fish, eels, etc., so much to see. Love the glass tunnel.
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Teresa L
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed December 11, 2018 NEW
I could go here every year and never get tired of it. The shark tank is my favorite. You feel like you are in the ocean with them. Highly recommend!
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Frequently Asked Questions about Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

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.

Can I leave and revisit the same day?

Sorry, the tickets are good for one-time admission to the aquarium.