Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN

88 River RoadGatlinburg, TN 37738
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Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

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
  • Voted America’s #1 Aquarium by TripAdvisor.
  • Family Pass and combo tickets available.
  • Aquarium features playful penguins and thousands of exotic sea creatures including a giant sea turtle, jellyfish, stingrays, sharks, and more.
  • Live animal shows and hands-on experiences make for a memorable visit.
  • Trolley stop located in front of Aquarium.
  • Allot approximately 2 hours for the self-guided tour.
  • Evening hours are less crowded.
  • Open 365 days a year
  • No outside food or drinks are allowed.
  • Paid parking garage located directly behind Ripley’s Aquarium.

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!

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.


Tripster Customer Reviews

532 Reviews
Johnna Akers
Dublin, VA
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"amazing"
March 2020
took our trip right as this covid-19 was hitting, the staff was amazing, making sure everything stayed as clean and sanitized as possible.
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Tripster Customer
Bowling Green, KY
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Cool"
January 2020
People super friendly easy to get to stays open late in the week 10pm. I expected more thought the place had more exhibits. I was fooled by a couple weird shark photos thinking they were real saw them got so excited and then let down. Oh dang their fake. Lol. If you print your vouchers take ID at least one were last names match. We enjoyed the place just expected a little more. Just to seeing the surrounding area was worth going. Tickets were about $33.00 each for kids over 11.
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Ray Elliott
Covington , LA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Great"
January 2020
It was a great place to visit. Very well kept up.
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Marla Hernandez
Stone Mountain, GA
3 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Beautiful!! Awesome!!! Love it!!!!"
December 2019
The most beautiful aquarium ever!!! I will always come back to this location!!!! Have so much to do on this aquarium!!
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Tip: Beautiful and amazing

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Cynthia Brimm
Pulaski, VA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Kids loved it!"
December 2019
My children absolutely loved the aquarium. There is lots to do and see for all ages. One of my children has sensory issues and while it wasnt needed I appreciated that they had several low noise areas set aside in case they were needed. It is a lot of walking to get into the facility.
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Tip: It's a lot of walking to get into facility. You need to pay extra for parking.

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Brandon Drake
Louisville, KY
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Great Aquarium"
December 2019
Took 3 and 4 yr old daughters. Ripleys mixes in a good mix of education and interactive activities to keep young kids interested.
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Amber Dean
Elkton, VA
3 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Awesome aquarium"
December 2019
This was one of the best aquariums we have attended!! Very much made for kids so it was awesome!!! Our child had a blast
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Christopher Sullivan
IRVINGTON, AL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Family fun for all ages"
December 2019
What an amazing time! My family traveled for a 10 day excursion to the mountains. We had a blast. The aquarium had exactly what we needed for all ages (3-49). The entire party of 8 enjoyed the interactions, the playlands and the excitement was electric with the shark watching up close and personal.
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Tip: I would recommend buying your tickets prior to arrival. Makes it easier and the little ones dont have to wait as long

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TripAdvisor Reviews
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K1202IMdanas
Lynchburg, Virginia
"Loved our Visit!!"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed June 01, 2020 NEW
Loved this place.alot to do and see.the grandkids loved it and the family. Great service getting to line alot of santizing stations due to virus.
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brandyandjohn18
Destin, Florida
"Away for our anniversary"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed June 01, 2020 NEW
The aquarium was very nice and clean. A lot of to see and do. Kids will love the exploring stations; however, they are closed due to Covid. I loved all the sharks! Restrooms are clean. There is a gift shop and concessions.
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413eww
"Worth the price of admission"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed May 31, 2020 NEW
My husband is a big aquarium fan so we splurged a little on the tickets to visit the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg. The aquarium was well laid out and very informative. Technology throughout the building gave both visual and audio Information about the species included in each exhibit. While there were many good exhibits, one made the price of admission totally worth it! The star of this aquarium is a massive tank full of sharks, rays, turtles, & multiple kinds of fish. Because of the layout of the aquarium itself and the expansive tunnel system within it, visitors are able to view the tank from multiple vantage points above, beside, & underneath the water! A moving walkway through the spacious under-tank tunnels keeps traffic flowing and gives multiple perspectives on life within the tank. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting multiple incredible aquariums across the country, but I’ve never experienced anything quite like this. Everyone I saw, from very old to very young, were enthralled by the encounters available at this aquarium. I’m glad we paid the price...our experience was definitely worth it!
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GregoryT3037
Greenville, Michigan
"Very good aquarium"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed May 31, 2020 NEW
This is a very good aquarium but I have to disagree with their claim of best in the U.S. I personally think the Georgia aquarium is better. I did enjoy it and they have some great displays. There's a nice area for kids to play and interact also.
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Blueangelclm
"Great time"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed May 31, 2020 NEW
My husband and I came here during our trip last week. Everyone was so nice and we loved looking at all the animals. I loved the penguin parade. It was so cute. We will definitely have to check it out again. It was very clean and the staff was very friendly.
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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 $8 per day.

Do you allow pets?
Only service animals per ADA specifications.

Are cameras allowed?
Yes. Feel free to take pictures and shoot video and share with your friends and family.

Is the aquarium wheelchair accessible?
Yes, the Aquarium is wheelchair and stroller friendly. Wheelchairs are also available at Guest Services.

Do you have stroller rentals? Are strollers allowed?
The aquarium is stroller friendly. Strollers can be rented at guest services for $3.

Can I leave and revisit the same day?
Sorry, the tickets are good for one-time admission to the aquarium.

Are any of the Unique Experiences included with the admission ticket?
No, those cost extra. If you are looking to Splash with the Stingrays or participate in other special tours, contact the Aquarium directly.