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Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN

88 River RoadGatlinburg, TN 37738
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$29.99
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Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies Logo
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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
  • 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 own team members

Joan B.

Loved the shark tunnel and penguin exhibit! The new Pearl Harbor exhibit is nicely done and very informative.

Description

from Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
Voted 2017 Best U.S. Aquarium by USA Today 10Best.com, and 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!

Visitors are invited to venture into Shark Lagoon and experience the new, 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.

This new experience will allow you to venture into the heart of Shark Lagoon, home to over 8,500 aquatic animals representing more than 75 different species. Led by our Adventure Crew, guests will learn all about the animals within the Aquarium and what it takes to maintain the facility during each boat ride. Upgrade your visit when you come in!

Pearl Harbor Exhibit extended throughout 2017
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 firsthand the environmental impact that continues to this day.

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.

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

  • Brand New - Glass Bottom Boats (Additional Cost)


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


Reserve Pigeon Forge Customer Reviews

268 Reviews
Nathaniel Davis
Covington, GA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"My Experience"
November, 2016
The experience I had was tremendous. When we first walked in, there was a big Turtle skeleton right up above. We then walked over to the stingrays as they swimmed. They let us pet them as well. I loved how it was like a path so that there would be no congestion.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Joseph Eagan
Dothan, AL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"amazing!"
October, 2016
This was amazing, my first aquarium so I hoped it would be. The tunnel was awesome, and exhibits leading up to it were amazing. I enjoyed the pearl harbor addition greatly. I do however wish there was more than one sea turtle, but out isn't a deal breaker at all. My girlfriend has been to many aquariums she said it was amazing too.
Tip: don't use flash in the dark out areas, bring a fully charged phone or camera, be prepared to take photo at the entrance

Was this review helpful? Yes

don wright
1 Review
"To Expensive for children 3 years old"
October, 2016
They are way to expensive for young children they don't have a lot of idea what is going on. Children up to 6 years old should be free I know I won't be going back not worth the money.
Tip: be prepared to pay for parking be prepared to walk to get to it and be prepared to shed out plentry of money.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Julie Laney
Altoona, PA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Fabulous place"
August, 2016
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

TripAdvisor Reviews
TripAdvisor user image
Jennifer A
New York City, New York
"Family Trip"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed April 24, 2017 NEW
Small aquarium. Staff were hard to find. Shows were great. Kids (ages 3, 8, 11) enjoyed themselves. Pricey pictures which we bought. Overall, okay for an aquarium.
TripAdvisor user image
Alayna R
"Fun for the kids"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed April 24, 2017 NEW
This was our rainy day activity. The kids enjoyed it. Facility was very well kept. It felt cramped and busy, which would be my only complaint. However, the aquarium was great.
TripAdvisor user image
ashley m
"Fantastic!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed April 24, 2017 NEW
Have been to quite a few aquariums in a lot of states, but this was by far one of my faves. The set up was amazing and very interactive! Can't wait to bring my kids back!
TripAdvisor user image
Linda W
"Great experience"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed April 24, 2017 NEW
We did the day and penguin experiences and both were pretty cool. The day we went was rainy so super packed. The phone calls made before we went on several previous day's were interesting. Calls were not directed to the desks it said they would be. I don't know if this is a computer or human issue. The website doesn't say you have to reserve for the experiences or which days they are on so calling was necessary. Most of the staff was helpful and during the experiences they were great! Even though it was busy we all had a good time. When we lost our small group (5) staff was able to direct us easily.
TripAdvisor user image
DLKentucky
Kentucky
"Great for our family"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed April 23, 2017 NEW
This is a very nice aquarium. The shark area is our favorite...very clean, well organized. We enjoyed it!

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.