Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg

4.5
#1 of 273 in Parks in Tennessee
Explore the wonders of the underwater world at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. The world-class aquarium offers an array of interactive exhibits, with over 10,000 sea creatures of over 350 diverse species. Stand on the moving pathway as it takes you through the aquarium's underwater tunnel to admire giant sea turtles and 3.7 m (12 ft) sharks. Enjoy a hands-on experience in the tide pool exhibit, where you can handle horseshoe crabs and stingrays, or stay for a diving and feeding show with the dolphins. Check the aquarium’s website before your visit, as discount tickets are often available. Make Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies a part of your Gatlinburg vacation plans using our Gatlinburg trip itinerary planner .
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Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
12,463 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • This aquarium was well organized and so many excellent exhibits! We loved the manarays and sharks the swim over your head. Also a favorite was the penguins! This is a place worth the money. Also we ha...  more »
  • This Aquarium is the best! It is fun, educational, and you can visit at your own pace. Every exhibit is clearly labeled and many of the exhibits have hands on experiences for the kids to enjoy. There ...  more »
  • We went and really enjoyed the aquarium. My 2 year old was really looking forward to the mermaids. Unfortunately they don’t advertise the mermaid schedule and unknown to us they only do 1 show a day a...  more »
Google
  • I liked that the natural flow of the layout took you through the entire aquarium so you didn't need a map. It was just the right size to keep our group engaged until the end. The bathrooms were well placed right when you needed them. They had just about every sea creature we expected to see except we weren't able to spot the sea turtle. We most enjoyed the penguin feeding and stingray dive live shows. Parking was very reasonably priced. Everything was indoor so the threatening rain wasn't a concern. There are lots of fun places for kids to crawl in and through to get different views and to tire them out. We had a great time and would go again. Be sure to grab a coupon from one of many brochure displays around town.
  • We love the Ripley's Aquarium. The kids can spend hours here. It's fun and educational. The staff is always helpful,even when the place is packed full they keep up the excellent customer service. The annual passes are a great price and well worth it if you live nearby. Especially, during slow times, the lights are dim and it's relaxing listening to the sounds playing around the aquarium. The only criticizing things I will say is the food needs improving and added with healthy options. Maybe enforce rules about not smoking so close to the entrance, there's always smokers too close and some people are allergic to the smoke.
  • We Visited on a weekday during the off season, so it was not crowded at all and we were not rushed and were able to enjoy everything in our own time. The aquarium is well laid out so the flow is natural. Its was clean with clearly marked signage. The only reason I didn't rate this a 5 was simply due to cost, it is in the higher end of the attractions in town. There were no kids in our group but there is a whole section just for children that's interactive, I could see an additional hour if you have kids with you.
  • My husband and I took our 3 small sons (6,5,3) recently and overall we all really enjoyed it. There are a lot of interesting creatures to view but it wasn't as large as I expected from viewing the online site. Also there is a play gym that is fairly central on each level so if you have small children especially be prepared to spend most of your time at those and there is not a lot of seating near them to rest and keep watch while they play. I did like that the play area gyms only have one entrance and one exit. I wish there was one central location for the play area toward the end of the aquarium. Also don't waste your money on the glass bottom boat experience we looked at it but didn't feel it was a good value for the small area it was in. My only other negative comment would be in regards to the photographer , it was truly a terrible picture of our family and she could have offered to retake it. We would have bought it if the pic had been better. They had good prices at their snack stand especially for a place like this. I also did not enjoy the fact that you had to exit through the gift shop so parents be prepared to buy something. Don't dismay if you don't want to spend a lot there is a discounted area. The best part was the Penguin Play House, my kids loved getting to crawl out to the penguins. It was very cool. Also the Shark area is the most impressive in my opinion, very cool. Overall we had a fantastic time and definitely will be back. I recommend purchasing the Ultimate Fun Pass it is the best value you can do all the attractions as many times as you want for an entire year. Definitely worth it.
  • I really enjoyed all the fish and sea life! The hands on activities are amazing and super kid friendly. My son loves this and has a great time every time we come! We will be back again for sure. The prices on food and stuff is expensive but the joy my son gets from this place makes it worth it to me!
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