Ripley's Aquarium

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Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is an unmissable Gatlinburg adventure. With interactive, hands-on exhibits, this aquarium gives you up close, experiences with rays, penguins, jellyfish, and much more! What can you expect at this world-class aquarium?

More than 10,000 sea creatures live here and you’ll spend hours immersed in their watery world. Touch the smooth skin of mysterious rays as they glide past you. Travel along the ocean floor as a moving pathway carries you below the water and you come face to face with sharks, rays, and fish. Visit the Penguin Playhouse to watch penguins waddle adorably on land and glide gracefully underwater.

You might feel a chill despite the steamy warmth when you encounter piranhas and poison dart frogs in the Tropical Rainforest. In the colorful Coral Reef, visit cheery orange-and-white clownfish, blue tangs, striped butterflyfish, and other dazzling dwellers of the deep. The Gallery of the Seas showcases nature’s art in the form of beautiful jellyfish, octopus, corals, and sea stars.

At the aquarium’s live shows, watch divers interact with and feed the creatures in the Coral Reef, Shark Lagoon, and Stingray Bay. In the summer, mermaids dive to delight you.

The Discovery Center is a hands-on learning lab where kids and adults touch creatures including moon jellyfish, horseshoe crabs, and pufferfish.

Up-Close Experiences

The aquarium offers special experiences for an extra fee:

  • Take a Glass Bottom Boat Adventure on Shark Lagoon and thrill as only three inches of glass separate you from the 12-foot-long sharks circling below you.
  • Make a penguin pal with a personal Penguin Encounter: Pet one of these delightful birds and get your photo taken together.
  • In the Penguin Painting Experience, help a penguin create a painting. You’ll take home the artwork you both made.
  • Turtle Time demonstrates how the aquarium trains its sea turtle and lets you feed her a snack. (Turtle Time is on hold at the moment, so check the website for updates.)

The stroller- and wheelchair-friendly aquarium is open 365 days a year. If you’re retired or active duty military, or a member of the AARP or AAA, ask about ticket discounts. You don’t need a reservation for a general admission ticket, though you’ll need to make reservations for special programs and experiences.

When you visit Gatlinburg, don’t miss the fascinating fun at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. And don’t miss the chance to stay in a private cabin where you can relax and recall your day petting stingrays and watching real mermaids. Reserve your rental cabin today.