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Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN

88 River RoadGatlinburg, TN 37738
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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
  • New Exhibit: Pearl Harbor. An interactive gallery available through 2016 that will both educate and amaze you.
  • 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.


from Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
Voted 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!

NEW Pearl Harbor Exhibit -
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, first hand, the environmental impact that continues to this day, 75 years later.

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.

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

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

Reserve Pigeon Forge Customer Reviews

267 Reviews
Joseph Eagan
Dothan, AL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
October, 2016 NEW
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 NEW
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

Anita Bamber
Columbus, OH
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Amazing experience!"
August, 2016
We took the advice of the customer service assistant we called before our visit, and came 3 hours before closing on a week night. We avoided any crowds, and could leisurely view all the sea life. We liked the lockers where we stowed our stuff from walking around Gatlinburg.The aquariums had plenty of information about each exhibit (with pictures) to make it more enjoyable viewing the animals. The shark tank/tunnel with the people-mover was awe-inspiring! We could step off the walk-way to stay still and study, or keep moving and watching. All the animals seemed very healthy, the tanks were beautiful and vibrant. I liked learning a little about the inner-workings of such a huge aquarium, with the chemistry and science explained too. My husband really liked viewing the saw-toothed shark, who appeared to be resting just over our heads (wow!). We would recommend this aquarium to both families (lots of kid-friendly play areas), and older couples like us, a chance to get out of the heat and enter another world.
Tip: Go later in the day - couple hours before closing - and put your things in lockers for a couple dollars to have your hands free.

Was this review helpful? Yes

TripAdvisor Reviews
TripAdvisor user image
sheila m
Gatlinburg, Tennessee
"Fish, fun and family time!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed October 20, 2016 NEW
Ripley's Aquarium is a great place to spend several hours enjoying the tanks, watching the divers or interacting with the displays. There are touch tanks as well as tanks with interior-view sections (for children or small adults). There is a motorized underwater walkway, as well as a changing exhibit area. As a local, I have visited numerous times and always find something new to enjoy1
TripAdvisor user image
Kim G
Kankakee, Illinois, United States
TripAdvisor user rating 3 out of 5
Reviewed October 20, 2016 NEW
It's a great place but costly. Would definitely recommend getting tickets online vs at the window. Also if doing more than 1 Ripley activity buy together to save.
TripAdvisor user image
Harlem, Georgia
"Fun and excitement at the Aquarium"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed October 20, 2016 NEW
We took my granddaughter and her new friend to view the Aquarium. They both had a ball viewing all the different type of fish, sharks and all that was there.. We spend a big part of the day walking around and being amazed by all there was to see...Took lots of pictures and just had a great time. They were 13 and 14 years old and it was quite an experience for both girls...
TripAdvisor user image
Maddie S
Augusta, Georgia
"Very fun for all ages"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed October 20, 2016 NEW
My cousin and I decided to go here during our stay in the mountains. I truly enjoy the ambiance of the whole building. It is very peaceful but also keeps you interested. It can be very educational if you want to stop and read the information or just enjoy the sites of the variety of aquatic animals. There is a lot of interactive exhibits that are great for kids or curious adults. Their most recent changing exhibit was pear harbor. I'm not quite sure how I feel about the way they organized the exhibit but it was still nice that there was a lot of information on the topic. Overall this is a great place to go for a couple hours.
TripAdvisor user image
Patrick S
"Pretty Cool Place"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed October 20, 2016 NEW
It was pretty fun and interesting, but a little pricey. At least $30 for an adult, but I have no idea how much for kids. We live nearby and had meant to visit and just happened to be out and about and dropped in.

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.