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All About Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg

ripleys aquarium
January 18, 2021

Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg is one of the most popular attractions in the area for kids and adults alike! The aquarium has an energetic, bright atmosphere while providing educational opportunities around every corner. If you’re planning a visit, here’s everything you need to know about Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg:

Animals from Around the World

regal blue tang

Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg brings a little bit of the rest of the world to the Smokies! In the tropical rainforest exhibit, you can see species all the way from South America including piranhas, poisonous dart frogs, and a four eyed fish called an anableps. These animals can only survive in the hot, damp conditions of the tropical rainforest, so Ripley’s Aquarium is the only place you’ll be able to see them in the Smoky Mountains! Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg also has a coral reef exhibit where you can find species native to the Indo-Pacific. In this area, you’ll find Clownfish, Regal Blue Tangs, and Butterflyfish. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to see these colorful, exotic fish!

Interactive Activities

The interactive activities at Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg are what really sets this apart from other aquariums. In Touch a Ray Bay, guests of all ages can reach into the shallow lagoon to touch the smooth backs of stingrays as they swim by! Touching the stingrays causes no harm to humans or the stingray, so this is a perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with these animals! Next, you and your friends can ride on a 340-foot moving sidewalk through a tunnel where you’ll be surrounded by some of the ocean’s biggest predators. In this area, you can observe sharks, sea turtles, tarpons, and stingrays from within the completely glass tunnel.

Additional Experiences


Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg also offers additional experiences that you can add onto your general admission ticket. Their most popular add on is the Glass Bottom Boat Adventure. With this experience, you’ll get to see Shark Lagoon from above. Shark Lagoon holds over 8,500 animals including species from the Atlantic and Caribbean reefs. While riding on a glass bottom boat where only 3 inches of glass separate you from massive sharks, you’ll learn about the species in the aquarium and what it takes to maintain their environment. This boat ride is led by an Adventure Crew who can answer any questions you may have. Ripley’s Aquarium also offers a Penguin Encounter experience. With this add-on, you’ll learn more about the penguins from an aquarium staff expert. Then, you’ll have the opportunity to pet one of the penguins and take a souvenir photo! These additional experiences make this aquarium an educational and interactive stop for guests to Gatlinburg.


Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg is dedicated to providing guests with a great experience, but it’s also dedicated to doing its part to conserve natural habitats. Aquarium employees often participate in cleanup efforts including cleaning up litter from scenic highways and doing what they call “river rummages.” This is an important way Ripley’s Aquarium employees give back to the community and raise awareness. Staff members also educate their communities on conservation with campaigns like Party for the Planet and the Year of the Frog, which aim to celebrate Earth’s biodiversity and educate people on how they can make a difference in the environment. Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg is fun and exciting, but what they do behind the scenes is even more important.

Don’t miss out on these other Ripley’s attractions in Gatlinburg!

Planning a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg can really take your Smoky Mountain Vacation to the next level! Book a cabin with us to get free tickets to the aquarium and other Gatlinburg attractions!