Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies was voted the top aquarium in the country by travelers on TripAdvisor.com. The aquarium is located on the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg.
Visitors to the aquarium will discover a myriad of fun-filled, interactive exhibits including the Tropical RainForest, Ocean Realm, Coral Reef, Shark Lagoon, Discovery Center, Gallery of the Seas, Stingray Bay, Touch a Ray Bay, Penguin Playhouse, Dinosaurs! and Systems Control.
The Aquarium of the Smokies is open 365 days a year to delight visitors from all around the country. The interactive exhibits at the Gatlinburg aquarium contain 1.4 million gallons of water. Water is transported all around the Great Smoky Mountains aquarium through more than 40 miles of pipes.
The Tropical Rain Forest is a primeval, lush environment with a myriad of species. In the Tropical Rain Forest, you'll encounter piranhas, freshwater stingrays, poison dart frogs, four-eyed fish, green iguanas, Arapaima (one of the world's largest fresh water fish), armored catfish and many more.
The most popular (and largest) exhibit at the aquarium is Shark Lagoon. A 340 ft long glidepath transports you along an underwater tunnel surrounded by ominous looking, 12 ft sharks. In addition to sharks, the Shark Lagoon is home to a huge green sea turtle, stingrays, Moray eels and thousands of fish including sawfish, tarpons, snappers, grunts and squirrelfish.
Head over to the Coral Reef exhibit to see a natural kaleidoscope with hundreds of colorful fish. This Indo-Pacific coral reef features clownfish, triggerfish, butterflyfish, tangs, rabbitfish, damselfish, angelfish and more. Plan your visit to stop by for one of the scheduled dive shows!
In the Gallery of the Seas exhibit, you'll discover a myriad of beautiful and sometimes deadly sea creatures. The exhibit features octopuses, lionfish, scorpionfish, cuttlefish, sea nettles (jellyfish) and spider crabs.
Kids young and old will enjoy the interactive Penguin Playhouse exhibit. You'll see blackfooted penguins from above and below the water. Purchase an original penguin painting (created by the aquarium's penguins) and half of the proceeds go to the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds.
Another favorite with the kid's is Touch a Ray Bay, where they can actually reach out and touch rays.
Stop by Systems Control to see how computer controlled systems circulate millions of gallons of water and keep the aquarium's animals alive and thriving.
Several exciting, live shows are scheduled for you visit including Shark Lagoon Dives, Stingray Bay Dives, Coral Reef Dives, Penguin Feedings and Live Mermaid Shows.
Want to add something extra special and memorable to your aquarium visit? Try one of the Special Experiences at the Aquarium of the Smokies: Sleep with Sharks, Penguin Experience, Splash with the Rays, Family Night Out, EcoVenture Camp and Dinosaur Camp.
Visit Aquarium of the Smokies or call 865-430-8808 for operating hours and more information.