While Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies 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 a penguin, 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 Gatlinburg! Here are just some of the unique experiences at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies that let you dive right into fun:

Glass Bottom Boat Adventure

sharks in an aquarium tankIf 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 and dangerous 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 aquatic animals 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 7 and up. Don’t miss this rare opportunity your children will love!

Penguin Encounter

penguins in an aquariumMeet 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!

There’s nothing fishy about it, the Edgewater Hotel is the best place to stay near Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and all of the other fabulous Gatlinburg attractions! Be sure to check out all of the rooms at our hotel in Gatlinburg TN today to plan your vacation!