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 Pigeon Forge Customer Reviews

432 Reviews
Julie Merrill
Greenbrier, TN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Great trip and experience"
October, 2018 NEW
My daughter had not be there since she was 4 and now is 17 and had jave ACL surgery 3.5 weeks ago. Employees was curious to us and other people were nice because she was in a wheelchair. One downfall is we had to use card to feed the rays and it was 3.00. Need to be able to pay cash.
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Kristyn Purvis
New castle, IN
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Fun for the whole family!"
October, 2018 NEW
We had a great time seeing the exhibits. You are able to touch jelly fish, crabs and rays and there are several interactive areas for kids to enjoy
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Tip: We went two hours before closing and it was perfect; not crowded and able to take our time to see everything

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Emily Kocher
DAISYTOWN, PA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Awesome"
October, 2018 NEW
I have to say that it was one of the best aquariums I have ever visited. I can't wait to go back again.
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Tip: Watch the stingrays feeding

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Joe Gettings
Sulphur, KY
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Great time"
October, 2018 NEW
Had a great time. The staff was very friendly and helpful. They offer a variety for kids of all ages and adults.
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stacey snell
milton, KY
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Wow"
October, 2018 NEW
We took our son there. It was awesome.we seen things we had never seen anywhere else.it was well worth the trip.
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Tip: You'll love it

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Elizabeth Zook
Madison, TN
3 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Wonderful"
October, 2018 NEW
Very friendly staff. Clean tanks and exhibits. Good price for items in the gift shop
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Tip: Beautiful place

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Norman Calkins
Kingsford, MI
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"LOVED IT"
October, 2018 NEW
There were so many creatures to look at. The area for the kids to play was amazing. Going through the tunnels and watching the sharks and fish swim all around you was an unforgettable experience! I love that the drinking fountains had a place to fill water bottles. The civil war exhibit had so much information it was amazing. I absolutely loved every minute I spent in the aquarium! I can't wait to go back!
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Tip: The gift shop is awesome! Touching the jellyfish is invigorating!

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Kacey Combs
Fries, VA
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Glad I chose Ripley’s Aquarium"
October, 2018 NEW
I recently took my 8 month old here, it being the first time I had ever been to an aquarium myself and we both absolutely LOVED it! My babyboy loved the penguins. It was the most amazing experience. We will definitely be visiting again! :)
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TripAdvisor Reviews
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Inkedmom71
Wake Forest, North Carolina
"fun"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed October 15, 2018 NEW
The aquarium was really interesting and in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, its a must see! Allow 2-3 hours for your visit
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lisame2018
"No!"
TripAdvisor user rating 1 out of 5
Reviewed October 14, 2018 NEW
Horrible overpriced tourist trap. It was boring and all the glass enclosures were dirty. We will not return to Rickey’s Aquarium or visit anymore of their attractions in the area.
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jameslynch2018
Chicago, Illinois
"Nice Aquarium"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed October 14, 2018 NEW
We really enjoyed the aquarium. There is a ton to see and do plan for a couple of hours Ii don't think you will be disappointed.
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Lindsay W
"Very well done aquarium"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed October 14, 2018 NEW
We very much enjoyed walking through the aquarium. We were surprised by the length of the tunnel - it was long, and very much worth the price of admission. We took tons of pictures, and really enjoyed hanging out here for a few hours.
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rmichaeljones
"Penguin PJ Party"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed October 14, 2018 NEW
We recently visited Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies for their overnight Penguin PJ Party program with our Cub Scout pack. The staff was very accommodating and the experience was a lot of fun. Having visited several other Ripley’s Aquariums, it’s true that a Ripley’s Aquarium is a Ripley’s Aquarium is a Ripley’s Aquarium, but the staff in Gatlinburg definitely enhanced the experience. It was also really cool seeing some of the activities after hours and having a more private visit without feeling rushed to run through. The educational programming was definitely an added value to for this visit.
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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.