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 Tripster's own team members

Joan B.

Loved the shark tunnel and penguin exhibit! The new Pearl Harbor exhibit is nicely done and very informative.

Description

from Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
Voted Best U.S. Aquarium by USA Today 10Best.com, one of the Top 5 Aquariums in the USA & the World by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice, and Top Destination to See Penguins by USA Today!

2019 All-New Exhibit: Savage Seas - Tales of Adventure, Myth and Ruin
Life at sea isn’t for everyone! Find out what it takes to survive on the open waters. Arrr yet fit for it?! This new exhibit features 5 tanks,10 interactive experiences, and more that highlights life on the savage seas, shipwrecks, sea monsters and mother nature. Dig through magical sand to uncover buried treasure. Experience how divers work to uncover buried vessels using special diving gloves. Brave hurricane-force winds in a mighty storm simulation, and take your photo with Ripley’s resident sea monster.

Explore the Amazing Aquatic World Up-Close!
Marvel at 12-foot sharks, a giant sea turtle, thousands of exotic sea creatures and playful penguins as you enjoy the most spectacular, state-of-the-art underwater tunnels! Touch horseshoe crabs, jellyfish, and stingrays. Play in the new 3-story Discovery Treehouse & Play Center!. Experience a ride over Shark Lagoon in the New Glass Bottom Boat (additional cost). See Mermaids swimming in June & July!

Family fun, interactive, hourly dive/feeding shows, and much, much more!

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)


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


Gatlinburg Customer Reviews

509 Reviews
Kris Matury
Hawesville, KY
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Family fun!"
July 2019 NEW
Ripley's Aquarium was amazing and fun! With the special package we were able to go to two other Ripley's attractions for one great price. My family enjoyed their time there and it was worth every penny. We can't wait to go back again!
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Tip: All the Ripley's attractions are within walking distance of one another.

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Dionne Fields
11 Reviews
"Kid's Under The Sea Adventure."
July 2019 NEW
Ripley's Aquarium Of The Smokies, has the best under the sea quest for kid's of all ages.
Its so much fun, to explore, the beautiful ocean life up close and very personal.
This is my son, favorite place to visit in Gatlinburg ,TN all Year long.
We love this huge amusement park, under the sea.
The entire staff at the cafe and gift shop was very kind and friendly.
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Denise Tinker
Spencer, IN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"So many wonderful things"
July 2019 NEW
There is so much to see and do a couple hours was just not enough. My grandson could of stayed the whole day he loved it so much.
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Tip: It's better off to drive your own vehicle or walk. The trolley rides people were waiting over an hour for a ride

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Brenda Hankins
Shepherdsville, KY
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Gatlinburg Getaway"
July 2019 NEW
My husband and myself went to Gatlinburg for a quick vacation. We visited the aquarium while there. It was really nice. We especially liked the super easy and convenient parking garage. The displays were amazing and the moving walkway was great. We didn't have kids with us, but the kids there seemed to be having a wonderful time.
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Tip: If you get your tickets online you can skip the tucket purchasing line.

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Crystal Kelly
Lima, OH
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Family vacation"
June 2019
Had an amazing time. Loved the pirate experience.
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Tip: Go through the shark tunnel and definitely through the new pirate room.

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Michael Czech
Edgar, WI
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Family vacation"
June 2019
Have been to several aquariums and this is by far the best there is.
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Shane Kinder
Union, OH
9 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"A biased aquarium lover."
June 2019
It's an aquarium. It has cool stuff if you're into fish. It says the average visit is 2-3 hours but we cleared it in an hour easily since we chose not to lollygag a whole lot. It's a nice aquarium though.
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Tip: Parking behind the aquarium is cheaper than most lots in the area.

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Melissa Hogan
TROY, OH
3 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies"
June 2019
This is our favorite Aquarium. There is so much to see and lots to do for kids. I love the Penguins. We go every 2 years and it has been great everytime.
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TripAdvisor Reviews
TripAdvisor user image
n9kux
Gatlinburg, Tennessee
"A nice aquarium to visit"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed July 23, 2019 NEW
Ripley’s is a nice aquarium to visit either by yourself or with a group. When I got to the aquarium there was a bit of a long line to purchase tickets, but the line moved along fairly well. I did see that you can purchase tickets on line which would then get you passed the line to get a ticket. There are also promo codes you can use to get a discount on tickets. Make sure you have a couple of hours to devote to this stop as it will take you a bit to walk around and see all of the animals. There are also some nice shows you can watch, but make sure you get to the location early to get a good spot to view the event. Your time here will depend on how many of the shows you stop to watch. The staff is very friendly and helpful. The only down side to my visit was having to fight my way thru the gift shop to exit the aquarium. I did not a number of men standing around wanting on the rest of their party to shop, so a nice waiting area with seating would be a good thing to have for the men folk to wait. All in all a good visit.
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cristyjo
Jackson, Tennessee
"Best all around "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed July 22, 2019 NEW
This was by the far the beat part of my trip! I have been to a few aquariums and this one is by far the best in TN! I was taken back by the walk under tank and how up close and personal we got to the sharks! I could have stayed all day just watching the sharks swim! The stingray tank was amazing and a lady even put on an underwater show while swimming with them! Afterwards she came up to the petting tank and fed one so we could touch it! The admission is a little high but worth every penny! Will be back!!
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600katien
Conneaut, Ohio
"Rainy Day Activity"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed July 22, 2019 NEW
The aquarium was very cool with lots of unique exhibits. It does not take a long time to get through the entire place (I wouldn’t recommend planning on staying there the entire day).
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TripAdvisor user image
Mary Jo B
Charlottesville, Virginia
"Great Aquarium"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed July 22, 2019 NEW
This is a very well laid out aquarium and even though it was crowed when we visited, we had no trouble seeing all the exhibits. The penguins are incredible — so friendly!
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martinezm216
Rock Hill, South Carolina
"Our favorite aquarium out of 7 visited!!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed July 22, 2019 NEW
Such a great aquarium that every time we are in Gatlinburg/Pigeon we make coming here a priority. We tend to visit zoo’s and aquariums every time we go anywhere for vacation and this is by far our favorite aquarium. It’s perfect for children with all their playgrounds and things designed especially for young children but it’s also great for adults. The shark tunnel is AMAZING! I had to go through it twice this last time around and each time I noticed something different. The penguin exhibit is an added bonus as well. They’re all so cute and active, especially if you’re able to catch a feeding segment. So many species of fish here that you could spend hours looking at everything. We love the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and I would recommend this to anyone.
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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.