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Ripley's Aquarium picture in Gatlinburg
Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

Key Info

Details

  • Zoos and Aquariums Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.5
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    3.0
  • Facilities
    3.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

One of the most popular attractions for children, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies offers unique opportunities to get up close and personal with a wide variety of marine life. You can pet a penguin, splash around with a stingray in Touch a Ray Bay or take a behind-the-scenes tour. A people mover takes you through an underwater tunnel, where you can watch green sea turtles, big snappers, tarpons and sharks through the floor-to-ceiling glass wall.

According to recent visitors, the tunnel, the sharks and the resident mermaid were a hit with kids. But more than one reviewer noted that the aquarium is somewhat dated and that the large crowds make it difficult to enjoy, especially with young children. Still, many families who visit often said this is an experience that they enjoy year after year.

The aquarium is located at traffic light No. 5 on River Road; a city parking garage is located directly behind the attraction. Parking costs $6. To avoid the fee, consider taking the trolley instead. If you purchase tickets at the aquarium, you'll pay $29.99 for adult admission and $15.99 for kids tickets. Discounts are available if you purchase tickets online in advance. Note: If you want to see any of the other Ripley-related attractions, such as the Odditorium, you'll have to purchase separate tickets; combo packages are also available. Hours vary seasonally, but generally, the aquarium is open from 9 a.m. to 9 to 11 p.m. For more information, head to the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies website.

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