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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
  • New Exhibit: Pearl Harbor. An interactive gallery available through 2016 that will both educate and amaze you.
  • Penguin Playhouse exhibit.
  • Educational activities.
  • Glidepath tunnel below giant aquarium.
  • Live animal shows.
  • Interactive experiences.
  • 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.

Discover More With Us

Insights from Reserve Direct's travel experts

Great aquarium for kids! Big variety of animals with lots of information, so also very educational.


from Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
Voted One of the Top 5 Aquariums in the USA & the World by TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice! Explore 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!

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!

NEW Pearl Harbor Exhibit -
Pearl Harbor is an interactive and educational exhibit on the history of the date which will live in infamy! See, hear and interact throughout the entire exhibit as you go through the timeline of world events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Experience, first hand, the environmental impact that continues to this day, 75 years later.

The Pearl Harbor exhibit features models of ships and planes, an interactive map of the attack, life-sized figure of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a crawl through replica of the USS Arizona BB-39 Forward Magazine, a theater with memorabilia from the 1940s, as well as various aquatic animals native to Hawaii and invasive species now living in Hawaii that were brought in from the Japanese ships during the attack.

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

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

Reserve Gatlinburg Customer Reviews

264 Reviews
Julie Laney
Altoona, PA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Fabulous place"
August, 2016 NEW
We had an absolutely fabulous time! This aquarium appeals to all age groups. This was the first visit for some in our group but was my 3rd visit. We are actually planning to visit again next year...my baby will be a little over a year then and look forward to his smiles! Thank you for a wonderful place to visit for not a lot of money!
Tip: This is a very large aquarium. Plan to be there for a few hours.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Pamela Pillsbury
Clinton, TN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"An Aquatic fun spot"
August, 2016
Do you want to feel like you are in the ocean world? Ripley's Aquarium lets you do just that. As you travel through you see so many different sea creatures. When you feel you need a break there is wonderful places to rest and for kids to enjoy. The many places you can "pop" your head up to be in with the fish, penquins, & really feel that you are in the ocean are so much fun. The sting ray and mermaid shows are educational and exciting. The newest exhibit where you can stand next to Truman & feel like you are in a submarine are a wonderful & fun learning experience. We really enjoyed our day.
Tip: Make sure to have cash for parking--otherwise just enjoy!

Was this review helpful? Yes

Wendy VanDyke
Scottdale, PA
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"fascinating experience"
August, 2016
We have been to the aquarium 3 times in the past year. It never gets old. Every time we go, we see something that we didn't see before. We are always looking forward to our next visit.
Tip: Have your camera ready

Was this review helpful? Yes

Susan McCarl
McVeytown, PA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Wonderful Experience"
August, 2016
This was one of the highlights of our trip. Have been to Gatlinburg many times but never went to the Aquarium. Not sure why. It is wonderful. Our grandson had a great time.
Tip: Should allow a couple hours to see everything.

Was this review helpful? Yes

keundrea felton
birmingham, AL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Celebrating My Son"
August, 2016
Everyone was very nice, and my son who did great in school was very pleased! We have gone countless times and he absolutely loves it! The sharks scares him, but other than that he loves to see the fish! We will definitely come back!
Tip: The aquarium closes at 11pm and they put the pigeons to sleep around 10:30pm.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Anita Bamber
Columbus, OH
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Amazing experience!"
August, 2016
We took the advice of the customer service assistant we called before our visit, and came 3 hours before closing on a week night. We avoided any crowds, and could leisurely view all the sea life. We liked the lockers where we stowed our stuff from walking around Gatlinburg.The aquariums had plenty of information about each exhibit (with pictures) to make it more enjoyable viewing the animals. The shark tank/tunnel with the people-mover was awe-inspiring! We could step off the walk-way to stay still and study, or keep moving and watching. All the animals seemed very healthy, the tanks were beautiful and vibrant. I liked learning a little about the inner-workings of such a huge aquarium, with the chemistry and science explained too. My husband really liked viewing the saw-toothed shark, who appeared to be resting just over our heads (wow!). We would recommend this aquarium to both families (lots of kid-friendly play areas), and older couples like us, a chance to get out of the heat and enter another world.
Tip: Go later in the day - couple hours before closing - and put your things in lockers for a couple dollars to have your hands free.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Kelly Dreier
Knoxville, TN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Ripley's Aquarium"
August, 2016
I loved my experience. There were new attractions that me and my fiancé really enjoyed. The jelly fish attraction was really fun and we had a great time.
Tip: They should try to bring the minimum amount so they can have free hands to touch the jelly fish and horseshoe crab.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Eric Ross
Murfreesboro, TN
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
August, 2016
Our experience was excellent, there were a lot of people but there was enough space to see every exhibit.
Tip: Time of day going to the aquarium due to traffic

Was this review helpful? Yes

TripAdvisor Reviews
TripAdvisor user image
Maeghan S
"Pricey but nice visit"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed September 28, 2016 NEW
My husband and I really enjoyed our visit to this aquarium. Beautiful fish and a great variety. I wish it werent so expensive though so make sure you get a coupon for your visit. They have a new Pearl Harbor exhibit which was interesting.
TripAdvisor user image
New York
"Great Family Attraction"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 28, 2016 NEW
Had our family reunion in the area, this was one of our stops. Our 5 year old and 17 month old grandsons loved it. As did the rest of us, ages 51-21. I really enjoyed the tunnel where you could view numerous fish and sharks. I think the moving floor is a great idea as it keeps people from blocking your view. You can pet a stingray and touch jellyfish along with other hands on activities. They give a generous military discount as well.
TripAdvisor user image
Grantville, Georgia
"Great aquarium!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 28, 2016 NEW
We've visited this aquarium twice. It's clean, well maintained, not too crowded, and large. Love the penguins!
TripAdvisor user image
"Great place"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 28, 2016 NEW
Probably the cleanest aquarium I have ever visited. From the time you walk in until you leave there's so much to see and do... some Hands-On stuff as well. I would recommend this as must see attraction.
TripAdvisor user image
Melissa F
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed September 28, 2016 NEW
This was an up close and personal attraction. The sharks are what caught my eye the most. I loved that they provided a spot for kids to play and unwind.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

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.