Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN

88 River RoadGatlinburg, TN 37738
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Overview

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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Description

from Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
One of the Top 5 Aquariums in the USA & the World by TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice! Experience the Amazing Aquatic World Up-Close! Marvel at 12-foot sharks, the giant sea turtle, thousands of exotic sea creatures and playful penguins swimming as you enjoy the State-of-the-Art Clear Underwater Tunnels throughout! An Ultimate Underwater Experience without being wet!

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)


NEW SHIPWRECKS EXHIBIT!
Since humans took to the sea to explore the planet, there have been ship wrecks. 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!


Explore the lush, unique and beautiful worlds of the Tropical Rainforest, Ocean Realm, Coral Reef, and Gallery of the Seas, and the Best Shark Exhibit in the Most Spectacular Underwater Tunnel in Shark Lagoon. Enjoy entertaining dive and feeding shows in Coral Reef, Stingray Bay and Penguin Playhouse. Pet horseshoe crabs and stingrays in the Discovery Center and Touch-A-Ray Bay. Enjoy playful penguins swimming, pop up on the penguins' private beach and get nose-to-beak in Penguin Playhouse, voted by USA Today Travel 10 Best List as one of the best places to see penguins in the world! Fun-Filled family experience and MUCH, MUCH MORE!

Venture into Shark Lagoon and experience the indoor Glass Bottom Boat Adventure. 3 inches of glass separates visitors from 12-foot sharks that call Shark Lagoon home. Approximately 10 people per tour. Boat launches every 20 minutes. The Glass Bottom Boat is an add-on to your aquarium ticket and does not include admission to the aquarium. Visit the Glass Bottom Boat area to upgrade your adventure.

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


Reserve Gatlinburg Customer Reviews

437 Reviews
Reserve Gatlinburg Customer
PERRY, FL
4 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Smokey Mountain Memories"
October, 2018 NEW
8 family members ( 4 were toddlers) went to Ripley's Aquarium for fall break / Hurricane Michael evacuation. We all had a awesome time. The lil ones thoroughly wore themselves out looking at everything multiple times.
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Tip: Allow plenty of time to look at everything. Take plenty of pictures to have the wonderful memories in the years to come.

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James Gray
Arnold, MO
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Great time"
October, 2018 NEW
Well we booked this visit to the Ripley's aquarium on a rainy morning in Gatlinburg TN. It turned out to be a busy day, but since we reserved our tickets it was quick to enter and start the really cool aquarium tour. It was my first time using the reserve site but I will again.
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Tip: Reserve your tickets and avoid the ticket lines.

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Karyn Kauffman
Williamsburg , PA
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Excellent"
October, 2018 NEW
We had a great time! My 3 year old son loved it! Will go back again!
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Briah Jenkins
Gallatin, TN
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Fun"
October, 2018 NEW
My husband can just us without the kids and we had a amazing time.
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Laura D.
Hermitage, TN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Great Experience"
October, 2018 NEW
Great aquarium to visit while in Gatlinburg. We loved the tunnel under the shark tank and being able to touch the jellyfish. It was a great experience and highly recommend.

We did the deal where it's one price for 3 Ripley's attractions. Definitely recommend looking into the deal if you are traveling with kids.
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Julie Merrill
Greenbrier, TN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Great trip and experience"
October, 2018 NEW
My daughter had not be there since she was 4 and now is 17 and had jave ACL surgery 3.5 weeks ago. Employees was curious to us and other people were nice because she was in a wheelchair. One downfall is we had to use card to feed the rays and it was 3.00. Need to be able to pay cash.
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Kristyn Purvis
New castle, IN
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Fun for the whole family!"
October, 2018 NEW
We had a great time seeing the exhibits. You are able to touch jelly fish, crabs and rays and there are several interactive areas for kids to enjoy
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Tip: We went two hours before closing and it was perfect; not crowded and able to take our time to see everything

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Emily Kocher
DAISYTOWN, PA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Awesome"
October, 2018 NEW
I have to say that it was one of the best aquariums I have ever visited. I can't wait to go back again.
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Tip: Watch the stingrays feeding

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TripAdvisor Reviews
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angiemae1
Kentucky
"Must Visit This Aquarium"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed October 20, 2018 NEW
We live in Tennessee so visit this area every couple of years. My young teens still request to go to the aquarium each time. Always a good time and beautiful views of the sharks. Good plan for a rainy day. Always had pleasant interaction with the staff. Penguin area is smelly but my daughter did not want to leave. We bought a package but did not use them all. Tickets can be used for a year so maybe we will take another weekend trip. Side note: No Way Jose is right across the street and has very yummy food if you like Mexican.
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Kayla B
"This place. Is amazing!!!! "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed October 19, 2018 NEW
My boyfriend and I came to get a weekend away, and first thing we did was the aquarium. It is so beautiful. There is so much to see and do on the inside, we have. Done the shark lagoon twice and went thru Ripleys twice as well, we had some time too kill.
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Kristyn S
Dayton, Ohio
"unscheduled stop"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed October 19, 2018 NEW
Went mid week in October. Not very crowded which was nice. Typical aquarium. Was able to purchase a painting done by Maureen the penguin. Made my adult daughter very happy.
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tah1959
Surgoinsville, Tennessee
"First visit - enjoyed."
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed October 19, 2018 NEW
Enjoyed the glass bottom boat - it was a short ride but very nice. Also, enjoyed the penguins. Very nice environment.
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klegge02
White House, Tennessee
"Amazing Shark Tunnel, Don't Ride the Boat"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed October 18, 2018 NEW
The shark tunnel is amazing. No other words for it. However, do not bother wasting your money on the Glass Bottomed Boat Ride. It lasts less than 10 minutes and it's in a very small area. Complete waste of time and money, the view from the tunnel is Much better! Food was good. Play area is crazy loud, of course. Everything is expensive, but what isn't at an aquarium? First one I've been to where I could touch a Jelly Fish.
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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.