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Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies




Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is one of our favorite destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains.  The attraction is big and spacious and features a wide variety of ocean life.  We particularly  enjoyed the ocean tunnel and the jellyfish.  Oh yes, I can’t forget the penguins!  Really there is so much to see and enjoy here that the entire attraction was fantastic!

 The Upper Level features the several different attractions.  Experience the Tropical Rainforest and see all the beautiful fish and the poisonous dart frogs.   The Ocean Realm is quite the spectacle as you become mesmerized with the creatures of the deep! Cue the JAWS music here and enter the Shark Lagoon! I seriously could not get enough of this tunnel filled with amazing and beautiful sea creatures.  You “travel on a moving 340-foot long glidepath that winds it’s way through an underwater tunnel.  You will come face-to-face with snappers, tarpons, grunts, squirrelfish, a green sea turtle, giant stingrays, sawfish, and very large SHARKS! Feel as if you were exploring the deep oceans and could almost touch the amazing sea life.”

The Touch a Ray Bay  is shallow lagoon where guests can reach out and touch rays as they glide by. Their skin is smooth and touching them will not hurt you or the rays.”


The Lower Level has has a wide variety of exhibits.  The Coral Reef allows guests the opportunity to see colorful and exotic fish from the Indo-Pacific.   They also offer several dive shows in this area.  Check the schedule here.  You can also have some fun in hands-on exploration in the Discovery Center.
The Gallery of the Sea features the strange and unusual creatures of the sea.  “Octopus, sea stars, corals, and jellies, animals with bright colors, strange shapes, and fascinating movements, are just some of the sea’s living jewels highlighted in our underwater art gallery.”

Splash with the stingrays in Stingray Bay.


Do not forget to go to Penguin Playground where you “crawl through tunnels and see these amazing birds in their huge indoor and outdoor habitat! Truly the world’s best penguin exhibit. View penguins from above and below the water in this unique and interactive exhibit.”


Finally, check out the Swarm exhibit.  “Find out why Swarms take the shape of Donuts… Mmmm Donuts! And why Alewives should stay in school! You’ll come face-to-face with American eels and enjoy the calming view of Blue Blubber Jellyfish. From Flashlight Fish to Mice to Halloween Crabs- there are over 1,000 animals to meet when you explore our NEW SWARM Exhibit!”  This exhibit is temporary so be sure to check it out before it departs.  You can even experience a fish manicure!  Intrigued?  You better get there to experience this!

Check out my photos from our time in the aquarium!

Ripley’s Aquarium at the Smokies also offers live shows and some unique experiences for the ocean loving fan.

Penguin Paintings & Encounters

Splash with the Stingrays

Summer Camps


Behind the Scenes Tour


“Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies® is literally teeming with life – thousands of exotic sea creatures comprised of more than 350 individual species. There are more fish in this aquarium than there are people living in the entire town of Gatlinburg.  Although Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is hundreds of miles from the ocean, the scenic beauty and the abundance of water all around makes the town of Gatlinburg a “natural” location for a world-class aquarium, voted America’s #1 Aquarium by TripAdvisor and ranked Top Destination to see penguins by USA Today Travel!”

This aquarium is something to see!  You NEED to GO!   You won’t regret it, I promise!


88 River Road

Gatlinburg, TN 33738

January – February
Monday-Thursday: 9 am – 8 pm, Friday – Sunday: 9 am – 10 pm

March – Memorial Day
Monday-Thursday: 9 am – 9 pm, Friday – Sunday: 9 am – 10 pm

Memorial Day – Labor Day
Monday-Thursday: 9 am – 10 pm, Friday – Sunday: 9 am – 11 pm

Labor Day – New Year’s Day
Monday-Thursday: 9 am – 9 pm, Friday – Sunday: 9 am – 10 pm



Social Media Connections

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Website

Ripley’s Aquarium at the Smokies Facebook

Ripley’s Aquarium Twitter

Ripley’s Aquarium Instagram

Ripley’s Aquarium Pinterest

Ripley’s Aquarium Vine

Images from the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies website and Facebook.

DISCLAIMER: I was given a free passes for my family to review this attraction in exchange for my honest opinion. Many thanks to the Ripley’s Attractions in Gatlinburg for this opportunity.

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  1. Dandi D says

    This looks really fun and I think my whole family would enjoy it!

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