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

504 Reviews
Michael Czech
Edgar, WI
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Family vacation"
June 2019 NEW
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 NEW
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 NEW
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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Darryl Crocker jr
Pendleton, SC
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Ripley's aquarium of the smokies"
May 2019 NEW
We had a great time seeing all the different sea life
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Mary Lilly
West Carrollton, OH
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Great visit!!!"
May 2019 NEW
We loved the Aquarium. It had been many years since we had visited
Many new attractions inside, worth the trip.
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Tip: Take your time going through to enjoy everything,

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Lauren M.
Central City, KY
4 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Fun for all ages!"
May 2019 NEW
Love this place for every time we visit. It’s perfect for families without children and for families with children! Our toddler loved it and older kids do too. It’s something for all ages. I love how exhibits are always changing and the different shows they have as well. A must see!!
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Tip: Do the glass bottom boat and stop for a diving show!

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Lori Morrison
Leesville, SC
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Great for the whole family!"
May 2019
The aquarium experience was great for our whole family. The kids loved going through the tube in the water and seeing the sharks and Rays. They also loved the penguins. The penguin exhibit was awesome! Part of it is outdoors and there is crawling space underneath the indoor part where you can stick your head up for photos with the penguins.
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Tip: Go early to park close.

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Christopher Shea
Waynesboro, VA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Wonderful"
May 2019
I took my mother and my two nephews here they had a blast got to pet jellyfish. They were so excited. The only thing that was not good was the food in there to much and not very good
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TripAdvisor Reviews
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77krisc
"One of the better aquariums we have visited"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed June 17, 2019 NEW
First off let me say that the price is a little steep. Bundle with another attraction to save if you are going to do other Ripleys stuff while in the area. Couple $2 off coupons floating around as well. Now on to the review. We loved this place. My kids had a blast. We thought it was laid out well, had tons of room for viewing, wasnt too crowded. Overall a great experience. We have been to Atlanta and Baltimore aquariums and would rate this up there with them if not higher than Atlanta. The shark tank was awesome. Do yourself a favor and just go, especially if you have younger kids...
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AshleyL2321
"Ok for young kids"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed June 17, 2019 NEW
We’ve been to many aquariums through the eastern part of the USA and while the aquarium was okay I have to say that it doesn’t deserve the rating USA Today gave it as number one in the country. It’s definitely suited more towards the younger kids than teenagers. I found it over priced and not really worth it. Enjoyed the Georgia aquarium in Atlanta 100 times more.
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MISSSMOKY12
"Graduation get away "
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed June 17, 2019 NEW
We visited the aquarium in the smokeys we had a awesome time the place was beautiful we spent the entire day walking around checking everything out...I would live to go back and take my grandbaby she would love checking all the amazing fish out..
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Gatlinburg1000
"Great photo opportunity"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed June 17, 2019 NEW
Some interesting species not normally seen in aquariums. Great for kids. A little over priced but then what isn't in Gatlinburg.
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Lee D
Alabaster, Alabama
"Excellent but overpriced experience."
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed June 17, 2019 NEW
The aquarium is very nicely laid out so that visitors have a regular path to folllow . The exhibits are excellent. The main problem was that the place was so crowded. We would stand in line waiting to get to the next exhibit and the line would not move because someone ahead of us was trying to take the perfect picture. Many times we had to just skip around a group and go on to the next exhibit. In spite of that it was overall an enjoyable experience, but not worth the rather exhorbitant entry fee.
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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.