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 NEW
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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amandajanehargrove
Lake Station, Indiana
"Great aquarium"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed April 02, 2020 NEW
The aquarium was a very fun and interesting stop in Gatlinburg. While we were not traveling with children, those who have kids would really have a good time here. There are a few different touch pools and a "shark lagoon" that is like nothing I've seen before! Check it out!
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Great_Beer_Now
Houston, Texas
"Fun and Educational for the Entire Family"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 19, 2020 NEW
Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a popular vacation destination. There is a wide range of things to do and if your time is limited, you will have to narrow down the choices. One attraction that I have visited multiple times over the years and still enjoy is Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. This large aquatic attraction is a good one for people of any age. Kids will love observing all the different fish, sharks, sting rays, etc but adults will love it, too. The aquarium has several interactive activities where you can get to know the different sea creatures on a more intimate level and even touch them, if you want. When you enter Aquarium of the Smokies, you will be directed toward the starting point. You just follow the pathway and it will lead you through the entire aquarium, floor by floor. The journey ends in the gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs to take home and keep the memories alive. It would be difficult to choose a favorite part of this attraction. The tunnels are certainly cool. You can stand on the slow moving sidewalk and view the different fishes overhead, or if you want to move along a little faster, you can walk through the tunnels. The sting ray tank is also fun and one surprise is the boat ride and opportunity to touch penguins. This is a newer feature and lots of fun, but keep in mind that it does carry an extra charge. Ripleys Aquarium of the Smokies has parking out back, in the parking garage. It’s convenient and the price to park isn’t too bad. It’s a fun place for kids and adults alike and I rank this aquarium as one of my favorite activities in Gatlinburg and one of the few that I continue to do every time I visit.
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sgoltz316
Aurora, Nebraska
"Small but fun"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 19, 2020 NEW
Even though it’s not the largest Aquarium, it still is fun to visit. I Just love to see the jellyfish and penguins. There is a fun area for the kids to play, a nice concessions, and lots of aquatic life to be seen. The shark and stingray exhibits are nice too.
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sarahedi
Mishawaka, Indiana
"Best aquarium I’ve ever been to "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 19, 2020 NEW
We went for the full penguin petting experience and it was amazing. A definite must see. This place was amazing. The main reason why we returned to Gatlinburg.
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627toma
West Lafayette, Indiana
"Niceplace. "
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed March 18, 2020 NEW
I love the location. The variety is great. The best part is the underwater tunnels. Plenty of room to stretch out and take the time you wish. The photo ops are amazing.
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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.