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

395 Reviews
Amy Grindley
Zanesville, OH
3 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Nice Aquarium"
August, 2018 NEW
We liked looking at some of the fish we had never seen in person. My family enjoyed the experience to touch the jellyfish and the tunnel where the fish and sharks swim around and above you!
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Tip: Good idea to get these tickets online to avoid the long lines at the gate.

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Mrs. Kathleen Master
Saint Albans, WV
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Skip the Lines!"
August, 2018 NEW
Get right with these reservations! I bought tickets the night before and went right in the bldg via the seasons pass window - it was great! You can purchase with paypal too. The aquarium itself was fun and enjoyable. We saw the staff feeding the penguins. There were lots of sharks and stingrays and a really oversized crab! Don't forget to run up to Pigeon Forge for the All you can Eat crab legs!
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Tip: bring a lot of extra cash and be sure to do the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

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Stephanie Post
Ashtabula, OH
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Fun experience"
August, 2018 NEW
We had a great time at the Aquarium. Lots of different aquatic animals to see. Set up was very nice. My kids loved being able to touch some of the animals.
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Tip: Plan on being there for a couple hours.

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Lora Goble
Prestonsburg, KY
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"August 2018 visit"
August, 2018 NEW
This was my second visit to the aquarium, and as usual it was not a disappointment. ?? Given the opportunity I would visit every year. Took the family and the two teenage kids loved it. Really enjoyed "petting" the jellyfish and hanging outside the penguin exhibit.
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Tip: Allow a few hours to really enjoy the experience

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Ashley Eager
Nashville, TN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Sharks!"
August, 2018 NEW
Aquarium is really nice. Usually pretty busy, but that’s a good thing for them. Definitely good for the kiddos or adults if it’s rainy or hot outside! You can pet jellyfish and sting rays, and see lots of sharks and different fish here!
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Tip: Purchase a ticket ahead of time so you don’t have to wait in line!

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Keith W.
Maidens, VA
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"top of the line"
August, 2018 NEW
I absolutely love going to the aquarium. Love the shark lagoon the most. They have such an assortment of different things my daughter loves the penguins and seeing them so up close. The mermaids in the water was very exciting. Love seeing those new additions.
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Tip: Take your time and discover all the little areas. Places for children to safely play. Hands on areas where you can touch the jellyfish! Climb in the tube to see the penguins up close and personal. Watch for the scratch there the shark went into the shark lagoon. Very exciting.

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Christian Baughman
Chatsworth, GA
3 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"No limits"
August, 2018 NEW
Long lines over crowded unable to see a lot of stuff. A lot of the activities are broken.
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Tip: Use a small stroller and be prepared to be stepped on

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Linda Ward
Mills River, NC
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Awesome Trip"
August, 2018 NEW
Very nice. Shark exhibit was great. You can touch the stingrays as they swim by. There is so much more to see. Definantly worth the time.
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TripAdvisor Reviews
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tajiri02
Ashtabula, Ohio
"Best aquarium ever."
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 19, 2018 NEW
This place was wonderful, very professionally run. The exhibits were outstanding. The glass bottomed boat was amazing. Being able to touch rays and jellyfish just added to it.
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jcookram
"Vacation Visit"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed August 19, 2018 NEW
This is more kid friendly than adult. Great variety of fish and information about the fish outside every aquarium. Very disappointed no turtles seen.
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Adam C
Gatlinburg, Tennessee
"One of the best..."
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 19, 2018 NEW
The aquarium is very hands on and gives different views with exotic aquariums throughout the complex. My favorite was the peguin area. Execellent for the small ones and for the older adults, it makes you feel like a kid again. The shark area is really cool. You could spend hours just in the shark tunnel daydreaming what it must be like to be a shark. The string ray petting area is really cool as well. Definitely well worth the money and a must see if your visiting Gatlinburg. Make this your rainy day excursion. Keep in mind, depending on what time of year.... Everyone else might have the same idea.
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skyline60
mason
"Great experience"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 19, 2018 NEW
The aquarium was fantastic. We enjoyed all the exhibits and found it a great learning experience. We have been to good aquariums all over the country, but this had water life we had not seen before. It was very crowded, but seemed to flow well. We had our tickets from AAA and did not have to stand in a long line to get them. Also found places to sit and just watch the exhibits.
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gfogt
Gatlinburg, Tennessee
"Great Aquarium"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed August 19, 2018 NEW
This is a very nice aquarium. There are many interactive areas for the kids and even adults. Very clean.
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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.