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10,209 votes

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

Parkway US Hwy 441, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738 USA

Closed Now
Opens Mon 8a
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
  • Wheelchair
  • Public
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Our Take

Ripley’s is very open for exploration. The benefit of this is that it's stroller-friendly and that there's less physical separation between you and the displays. If you wanted, you could easily jump into the water in a few places (but maybe don't actually do that.) Features like the moving sidewalk through the shark tunnel help create a sense of wonder. That’s why people visit, after all: To see exotic and interesting fish you otherwise couldn’t.

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“Over 10,000 exotic sea creatures”

Ripley’s® Aquarium of the Smokies is literally teeming with life – our 10,000 exotic sea creatures comprise more than 350 individual species. There are more fish in this aquarium than there are people living in the entire town of Gatlinburg. Although Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is hundreds of miles from the ocean, the scenic beauty and the abundance of water all around make the town of Gatlinburg a “natural” location for a world-class aquarium, America’s most fun aquarium.

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Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 6 Helpful
August 06, 2014

This is a great aquarium with great exhibits , and the best shark display I have ever seen,but you may want to go later in the evening or during the non tourist season to be able to take your time to take pictures and not feel rushed. If you go during the tourist season, be prepared to have to fight your way in to get a spot to see anything and spend time lifting your hand above tourist's heads to be able to take pics. Also because there were some many people, and you have to move out of the way so much, you really can't get time to read any of the info about the marine life posted.I won't make the mistake of ever going during tourist season again because it kind of took the enjoyment out of the experience.

6 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 35 Reviews
  • 7 Helpful
April 02, 2017
Rated 5.0

I was so worried. In a town of Ripley's everything this would be second rate. NO WAY! This was fantastic! So worth the stop. It took us 2-3 hours but we could have spent a couple more hours if we wanted to or got the penguin experience! The shark tunnel is awesome!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 10 Reviews
  • 16 Helpful
June 19, 2016
Rated 5.0

In such a touristy town, the aquarium exceeded my expectations! The glass tunnel in "shark lagoon" was incredible. Loved touching jellyfish and rays. Went later in the day during extended summer hours on a weekday and we basically had the place to ourselves!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Cullen Brown

  • Expert
  • 67 Reviews
  • 97 Helpful
September 08, 2014
Rated 5.0

I've visited this aquarium a number of times and am always impressed by the size, diverse specimens, and the general layout. If you have young kids with inquisitive minds, they will find much to enjoy here.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Justin Hall

  • 30 Reviews
  • 17 Helpful
April 07, 2014

This place is a blast! All the information and animals of a real zoo, with that zany Ripley's edge to the layout. They do a great job keeping those fishy smells at bay, too.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
January 28, 2017
Rated 5.0

I can't say I even knew this place existed until I was driving past it, but honestly this was well worth the stop. This was one of the most well constructed aquariums I've seen with many beautiful exhibits. It was an incredible, unexpected surprise and I'll definitely be back!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
April 06, 2016
Rated 4.0

Great exhibits and lots of ocean species to see... And even touch a few like sting rays and jelly fish. Not a super big aquarium. But my son loved it. It took about 2 1/2 hours to tour south a kid. Also had a nice Pearl Harbor exhibit when we visited. A tad bout oin thweprucey side in my opinion, however. $25 adults, $13 kids.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Curt Rice

  • 49 Reviews
  • 36 Helpful
September 02, 2014
Rated 4.0

This was the first aquarium I ever went to as a kid and it was pretty badass. We were in Gatlinburg for the winter and being inside the aquarium feels like a completely different experience than the smoky mountains.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Lesli Peterson

  • Blogger
  • 1,139 Reviews
  • 43 Helpful
January 19, 2023
Rated 5.0

Ripley’s has a strong foothold in Gatlinburg, and this extends to their impressive aquarium located right in town.

Never one to be outdone, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies features over 10,000 animals in a mountainous, riverfront setting in the Smoky Mountains.

At Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, you’ll see 12-foot sharks, a giant sea turtle, penguins, and stingrays. They also offer a lot of upgraded options as well: take a glass-bottom boat ride over the shark tank, feed a sea turtle, paint with a penguin, or spend the night sleeping with the fishes (in a good way!). It's really great.

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
October 27, 2022

We visited Ripleys Aquarium in October. Fun stop with lots of kids activities. Plenty to see for the adults as well. Kind of pricey but very educational exhibits. There is a glass bottom boat that costs extra, we did not do this as the boat travels right over the large exhibit that also has a plexiglass tunnel that you can walk through or just stand on the movable walkway and it takes you right through the exhibit. There is a penguin parade where the penguins come out at scheduled times and waddle around by the children’s play area. It was a fun way to spend an hour or two.

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Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

Parkway US Hwy 441
Gatlinburg, Tennessee
37738 USA
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Closed Now
  • Mon - Thu: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
  • Sun, Fri, Sat: 8:00 am - 10:00 pm

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Has a Family vibe.

  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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