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

390 Reviews
Keith W.
Maidens, VA
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"top of the line"
August, 2018 NEW
I absolutely love going to the aquarium. Love the shark lagoon the most. They have such an assortment of different things my daughter loves the penguins and seeing them so up close. The mermaids in the water was very exciting. Love seeing those new additions.
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Tip: Take your time and discover all the little areas. Places for children to safely play. Hands on areas where you can touch the jellyfish! Climb in the tube to see the penguins up close and personal. Watch for the scratch there the shark went into the shark lagoon. Very exciting.

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Christian Baughman
Chatsworth, GA
3 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"No limits"
August, 2018 NEW
Long lines over crowded unable to see a lot of stuff. A lot of the activities are broken.
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Tip: Use a small stroller and be prepared to be stepped on

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Linda Ward
Mills River, NC
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Awesome Trip"
August, 2018 NEW
Very nice. Shark exhibit was great. You can touch the stingrays as they swim by. There is so much more to see. Definantly worth the time.
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Lorie Kent
Pleasant Shade , TN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Wonderful"
August, 2018 NEW
Our 2nd trip to the aquarium and we just love it
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Tip: The penguins and petting the jellyfish are our favorites

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Tracy T.
Erie, IL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Great time"
August, 2018 NEW
We really enjoyed the Aquarium. The divers shows were our favorite.
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Tip: After 6pm there is no crowds.

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steven bowles
roanoke, VA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Family friendly"
August, 2018 NEW
I have taken my family here several times and it is always a great day
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Tip: Go early and be prepared to spend 4hours

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Mary Yonka
Pulaski , TN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Amazing"
August, 2018 NEW
Awesome shark exhibit.
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Harriett M.
BIRMINGHAM, AL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Awesome Aquarium"
August, 2018 NEW
It has been 10 years since we visited this aquarium and we absolutely loved it! There were a couple of changes that we didn't see before! Make sure you visit the penguins and shark exhibits, they were our favorites!
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Tip: Make sure you get there early to get good parking if you want to drive. It's better to take the Trolley because there is so much to do in Gatlinburg and the parking can be hectic at times.

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TripAdvisor Reviews
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Haley G
Bunkie, Louisiana, United States
"Beautiful scenery!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 15, 2018 NEW
This aquarium had a large selection of fish. It was very clean and such a great place for family time to learn new things and have fun as a family all at the same time.
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traveler2983
Nashville, Tennessee
"Awesome!"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed August 14, 2018 NEW
I’m no connoisseur of aquariums but I think this one is top notch. Tons of things to see, do, and play with.
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bamjones
Strasburg, Ohio
"Best Aquarium We’ve Been To! "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 14, 2018 NEW
This was one of our best days on vacation! Beautiful aquarium with lots of attractions! Our 8 year old loved the mermaid show, the sharks, and the penguins in particular. Every exhibit was great!!!
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Lisa H
"Amazing "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 14, 2018 NEW
We love the Aquarium. It’s our second visit because we love it so much! My 4 yr old loved the penguins especially! My fave is the shark tunnel!! So cool!
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MisterShrimp
Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania
"Great Aquaium"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 14, 2018 NEW
I've been to numerous aquariums and this one is awesome. They have a large variety of fish and everything is so clean. I enjoyed the new shipwreck display.
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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.