While Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg is already a fascinating place to visit, you can add even more to your adventure with one of the unique experiences! Whether you want to get up close to the penguins, spend some quality time with a turtle, or float just inches above live sharks, you can do it all at this world-class attraction in the Smoky Mountains! Plus, these unique experiences at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies will allow you to dive right into the wonder of an underwater world! For more family fun in Gatlinburg, request our free Vacation Guide, and start planning an unforgettable vacation!

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Top 3 Reasons You Should Visit Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg 

1. The Kids Will Love It

There is no better activity for kids than a visit to Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg! Children of all ages won’t be left out of the enjoyment of the various activities here. Kids love to do things that won’t leave them bored, and Ripley’s Aquarium has something extraordinary at every turn.  

2. Fascinating Marine Exhibits

Along with many marine species, the aquarium is filled with exhibits that will fascinate kids of all ages and parents. You’ll learn about an array of sea creatures and enjoy demonstrations that combine loads of fun with education and imagination! 

Must-see exhibits at the Gatlinburg aquarium:  

  • Stingray Bay  
  • Penguin Playhouse 
  • Coral Reef 
  • Gallery of the Seas 
  • Discovery Center  

3. Unique Interactive Experiences 

Penguin Encounter 

Meet the adorable penguins at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies with the Penguin Encounter! This is an exciting opportunity to get “face to beak” with one of the playful penguins from the aquarium’s state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor habitat! During the program, you will learn all about the penguins from the aquarium’s professional staff, pet a penguin, and receive a souvenir photo with the penguin! Just imagine the bragging rights you will have among your friends and family back home!

Penguin Painting 

If you prefer to see one of the aquarium’s African Penguin artists in action, don’t miss the Penguin Painting experience! You will get up close to one of the penguins as it creates its signature footprints on canvas. The best part is you get to take the 8×10 penguin painting with you to display in your home! There are also canvas size upgrades available for an additional charge based on availability, so be sure to check with the staff when you arrive!

Glass Bottom Boat 

If you always wanted to get up close to a shark but watched Jaws enough times to know it’s not the best idea, hop aboard the Glass Bottom Boat Adventure at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies! This safe and fun boat ride cruises into the heart of the Shark Lagoon, where you will be surrounded by the colorful marine life that inhabits the Atlantic and Caribbean reefs. Look directly down at your feet while just 3 inches of glass separates you from the 12-foot sharks that live in the lagoon! Altogether, the Shark Lagoon is home to more than 8,500 exotic sea creatures representing more than 75 different species. 

Turtle Time with Sally the Sea Turtle 

Another unique experience at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is Turtle Time with Sally the Sea Turtle! This 45-minute program includes a 10-minute classroom session, a tour of the husbandry department, and a behind-the-scenes look at one of the training sessions for Sally the Sea Turtle! If you are lucky enough, you may even have the chance to feed Sally lettuce! While there is no age limit for this program, it is geared for kids ages seven and up. Don’t miss this rare opportunity your children will love! 

Stay Steps from Ripley’s Gatlinburg Aquarium at Edgewater Hotel 

SuiteEdgewater Hotel is the best place to stay near Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and all of the other fabulous Gatlinburg attractions! Not only are we located right next to the aquarium, but we also have the best selection of accommodations in Downtown Gatlinburg, and we even offer amenities like an indoor-outdoor pool, fitness center, complimentary breakfast, and free parking!  

If you are ready to visit an aquarium in Gatlinburg, that’s been voted one of the best in the country, check our availability, and book your stay today. We can’t wait to hear about your indoor ocean adventure!