Gatlinburg Attraction Review: Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Sea turtle

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is one of those places you have to visit when you come into Gatlinburg. It has been named “Best U.S. Aquarium” for a reason. Inside you will find over 100 THOUSAND sea creatures swimming in 1.4 million gallons of water. The aquarium is set up wonderfully, with a 340 foot moving glidepath that tunnels beneath the animals. You will see sharks, exotic fish and other creatures swimming right over your head.


Ever want to pet a stingray? Then you are in luck! In the shallow “Touch a Ray” lagoon, stingrays pass right by in easy distance for a touch. There is even a glass bottom boat ride that gets you even closer to some of the most dangerous sea creatures in the world.


The aquarium is famous for its penguins. The aquarium’s unique penguin environment lets you view them above and below the water. The aquarium also offers encounters that put you face-to-face with the penguins! Want to take home a piece of artwork created by a penguin? You can buy it here.


While you’re there, you can get a bite to eat in the aquarium’s snack bar, or pick up something unique to take home in its gift store.

Gift shop

The best way to give you an idea of what you will find at the aquarium is just to show you more pics!


Ripley's life

Exotic fish

Exotic fish

Exotic fish

Bottom line: no visit to Gatlinburg is complete without checking out the top aquarium in the country, especially if you’ve never been there! So book your room at the Historic Gatlinburg Inn and you can walk right down the street to it.

Highly recommended!



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