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 Reserve Direct'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
Explore the Amazing Aquatic World Up-Close!
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!

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 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)


NEW SHIPWRECKS EXHIBIT!
Since humans took to the sea to explore the planet, there have been shipwrecks. 71% of the Earth is covered by water. Scattered miles across and below the surface, secrets of our civilization wait silently to be discovered. See, experience, and explore many shipwrecks throughout history and the world.
  • Wreck Reenactments!

  • Unearth Buried Treasures!

  • Discover shipwrecks from early B.C. to the Forgotten Shipwrecks and what caused the shipwrecks!

  • Take a photo with a famous replica from Chuuk Lagoon!

  • Stand by Abraham Lincoln or Pose as The Lincolns!

  • Learn about Black Beard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge, the Edmund Fitzgerald, CSS Alabama, the Hunley and many more!


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


Reserve Gatlinburg Customer Reviews

477 Reviews
Anna B.
Richmond, VA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Fish fun!"
March, 2019 NEW
The Ripley’s aquarium was such a fun location to visit. My boyfriend and I took our first vacation together and we agreed that this place was a highlight. Our favorite portion was the penguin playhouse. You can spend a whole day here! The U-pick 2 combo is especially worth the money if you are going to be in Gatlinburg for a couple of days.
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Tip: The glass bottom boat ride requires ticket purchase ahead of time, it is not included in the U-pick 2.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Patricia Daniels
Surveyor, WV
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Awesome place"
March, 2019 NEW
Love love love this place
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Tip: Buy online it's cheeper

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Brittany Moyers
Fayetteville, TN
3 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Perfect Rainy Day Stop"
March, 2019 NEW
This was my seconf visit to the aquarium, the last being over a decade ago. I was worried that it wouldn't be as wonderful as I remembered; boy, was I happy to be wrong! The aquarium was so crowded that the parking garage was full, and it was STILL a magical experience. The layout is great, there's a fun play-place to run off excess energy, the animals are well-cared for, and there are lots of interactive elements. You can pet horseshoe crabs, jellyfish, and rays, and the penguins have neat pop-up tunnels for kids to get face-to-face. Worth every penny.
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Tip: Gets really crowded on the weekends. If you can, check with google for less crowded times when going.

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Rokela Ivory
Nashville, TN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Awesome"
March, 2019 NEW
The BEST place we EVER visited!!! It was fun for me and my 4 year old. We didn’t want to leave. Thanks to reserve direct we didn’t have to wait in line. I can’t wait to go back!!!!
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Caleb Patterson
Resaca, GA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Ripleys aquarium"
February, 2019
Great service and saved my family money
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Danielle Barton
Gloverville, SC
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"We loved it!"
January, 2019
My son is almost two and he absolutely loved it, we loved having several pictures taken throughout because it's hard to get pictures taken of the family together! Food prices are a little high $$$ but everything else was pretty affordable! We got an awesome ticket deal using reservegatlinburg which saved some money too! They have great picture packages that you can buy which were really affordable too! 10/10 recommend! The gift shop at the end is awesome too!
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Tip: During January business is slow so we had plenty of time to look at each exhibit.

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Timothy Perkins
Johnson City , TN
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"A very great time"
January, 2019
Very friendly staff and very helpful as well beautiful to see Love it and it great as a couple or family or friends to go and see together there is so much to see and things you may never seen
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Tip: It a great place to go to

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Teresa Tidmore
Northport , AL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Wonderful"
January, 2019
We always try to visit aquariums when we travel. It’s one that I am looking forward to taking my grandchildren to.
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TripAdvisor Reviews
TripAdvisor user image
Jeffery M
Dayton, Texas
"Best Aquarium"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 18, 2019 NEW
This Aquarium has is all. The sharks, sting rays. All of it. affordable and being so remote away from the ocean had a very nice saltwater collection
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509janiceb
Vicksburg, Mississippi
"Anniversary "
TripAdvisor user rating 2 out of 5
Reviewed March 18, 2019 NEW
Over priced and the Veterans discount is a joke! We won't waste our money again. We suggest the free outdoors of the Great Smokies park instead!
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pawstopray
Virginia Beach, Virginia
"Wasn't expecting all that in the mountains!"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed March 18, 2019 NEW
I went with family to the aquarium, and was very surprised with the overall fun decor and the number of animals! Some of the fish areas seemed really packed, but maybe they were getting ready for transport to share with other aquariums. The walk around views and habitat structure were really cool and afforded great photo opsl. Finally convinced my 42 year old cousin to pet the jellyfish lol. The penquins...OMcuteness! (and a helpful person answering lots of questions) There was a heavy sealife odor throughout but there are a LOT of animals in a relatively small location. The admission price is hefty but understandably the cost of providing for and maintaining all those critters is hefty as well, and this location probably doesn't have the foot traffic that large aquarium locations have. I'm a huge gift shop person when it comes to $ for the animals and I purchased a shark bed for my cat (he loved it!), This was a pleasant surprise! The admission & gift shop are pricey yes but the $ goes to the animals so go for it!
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Joanne T
"Especially good for a rainy day!"
TripAdvisor user rating 4 out of 5
Reviewed March 18, 2019 NEW
We have visited this aquarium several times (usually on a rainy day) and really enjoy it. We really like reading about the different animals. Lots of screaming kids running wild but that's to be expected. The major downside would be the ticket prices. Very pricey. Try to find an admission coupon and eat before you go so you aren't tempted by their expensive food prices.
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ALoring
PA
"Hands on active fun !"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 18, 2019 NEW
I have been to a LOT of aquariums. Nothing compares. Hands on exhibits almost every section. Areas for kids to play, crawl, take funny pictures. Huge play area. So much it was hard to finish it all. Touch jellyfish. Touch horseshoe crabs. Touch sting rays. All included. Great stuff. Reasonable priced snack shop and no one complained when we carried our snacks with us. (Hungry tired kids trying to see it all!) Great day ! Money well spent !
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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.