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

302 Reviews
Reserve Pigeon Forge Customer
Island Heights, NJ
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Great time with family!"
April, 2018 NEW
Line can be long getting in and line can be long once in (bottleneck once in is caused by people getting photo taken by a staff photographer.) But once in and past the first set of fish tanks, it didn't feel crowded at all - busy yes but you could still move around and see all the fish. Informative displays not only on the fish and other marine animals, but also on the Civil War. There's also a small play area for the kids as well as a small snack kiosk midway through. An outside balcony near the penguin exhibit also provides a nice breather from inside, and the moving walkway through the shark tunnel was great. Parking in the adjacent garage can be a bit of a bear; we ignored the "full" sign and went in (and found a decent space!) because it wasn't closed off. Next time we'll try taking the trolley from the Gatlinburg Visitor Center at the entrance to the Great Smoky National Park, because all the trolleys stop here. Recommended.
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Tip: Take trolley here. All trolleys stop here. Have lots of patience - bottleneck once inside is because people are either using bathroom or getting their picture taken.

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Joni Hart
Corbin, KY
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Great place!"
April, 2018 NEW
Had an awesome time. Place was great!! Will be back
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Melissa Beall
Grand Haven, MI
9 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Excellent"
April, 2018 NEW
We have been to many aquariums around the county and this is one of the better ones. We loved the tunnel where the sharks and other fish swim over you and had a great time. Our son (10) loved his chance to pet the jelly fish!
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Tip: Purchase tickets ahead of time - it saved us time in line

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James Schrettenbrunner
Fishers, IN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"James S"
April, 2018 NEW
Great place. My kids ages 9 and 11 really enjoyed the aquarium. The highlight was the shark exhibit. Well worth the price to visit while you are staying in town.
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Rebecca W.
Black Mountain, NC
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Easy service...CROWDED AQUARIUM."
April, 2018 NEW
Purchasing tickets online was very easy. My experience was that the venue was way oversold.
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Tip: Don’t go during spring break.

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Kimberly F.
Landrum, SC
5 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Love this place"
April, 2018 NEW
Absolutely love coming here. It is always a stop for us when we are visiting TN
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Kandice Johnson
Mooresville, NC
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Not the best experience"
April, 2018 NEW
We went on spring break... Enough said.. Was super crowded and even though i had purchased tickets prior ther was still a line one in the building to see all the exhibits. After about 15 min my 6yr was done she wanted to leave. Disnt want to fight the crowd to see the fish. It took us about another 10 to get out we were following exits signs that kept us going in circles. the other attractions that are purchased with the aquarium ex the mirror maze and 5D movie were blocks away from the actual aquarium.
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Tip: The other attractions you purchase with the aquarium ex the 5D movie. Mirror maze. And odditorium are blocks away fron the aquarium. All within walking distance but still soething i would have liked to know beforehand especially when traveling with children.

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Ricky Beck
Jonesville , NC
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Best experience"
April, 2018 NEW
We had a great time here at Ripleys great Smokey aquarium. It was fun for all five of our kids ages 3 to 13. We will definitely be back again.
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Tip: It’s busy but still easy to get around

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TripAdvisor Reviews
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F4450ZMkevinh
Grand Rapids, United States
"This was a must see on our list of things to do...not disappointed!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed April 18, 2018 NEW
We had a large group of 16 so we split into two groups and went through the Aquarium. Very cool! It was set up so well - the line/crowd just had a natural flow and no one place was ever too crowded. Very nice!
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clra234
Lexington, Kentucky
"Best part of our trip.....Stingrays!!!!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed April 18, 2018 NEW
This was by far one of the best parts of our trip. They added a glass bottom boat ride in shark lagoon so you can see the fish swimming underneath you. Also if you like stingrays you can pet AND feed the stingrays as well...its such a wonderful experience
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dbowles06
"Great"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed April 18, 2018 NEW
Aquarium was great. You can pet the stings rays, jelly fish, & horseshoe crabs. They have a lot of interesting creatures. It is pricey and I wish it was bigger.
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ShortSpurr
"The shark 🦈 tank was so cool!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed April 17, 2018 NEW
This place was amazing! Kids loved it, has a play area for them to have a blast and the penguin and shark exhibits were top notch!
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sparkilla
Lexington, Kentucky
"Don't forget to feed the rays!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed April 17, 2018 NEW
Overall really a fun time to be had of any age. The fish are amazing to look at and the boat ride was really fun especially seeing the sharks immediately under the boat. The best experience was feeding the sting rays though when they would literally jump up on the wall for the food and let you pet them!
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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.