We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.


Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
Ranked #2 of 91 things to do in Gatlinburg
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN, is literally teeming with life - over 10,000 exotic sea creatures in 350 individual species. There are more fish in this aquarium than there are people living in the entire town of Gatlinburg!
Useful Information: Stairs / elevator, Stroller parking, Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Lockers / storage, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase
Reviewed March 2, 2011

Ive been to this Aquarium at least 2 other times, but when I found out about the new Penguin Playhouse I was SO EXCITED!!!!! I am a Penguin FANATIC!!! Lol

As the rest of the Aquarium was about the same as I remember--- Pretty nice, LOTS of kids, and VERY pricey, but always a good time...
the Penguin Playhouse was AWESOME!!!!! It's indoor AND outdoor with interactive tunnels you can pop up right in their habitat!!!!
There's also a see-through area of the floor and you can watch them swimming in from outside! TOO CUTE!!!

I don't think I would return, EVEN for the penguins... Because its pretty much a "Once you've seen it once, that's all you need" type place... and BESIDES the new Penguins, I'd have to even say the one in Chattanooga is better.

But I did enjoy watching the penguins.
Frank was my favorite :)

Date of experience: February 2011
4  Thank Mindy615
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (13,184)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages
All reviews
"shark tank"
in 647 reviews
"penguin exhibit"
in 542 reviews
"sea life"
in 389 reviews
"horseshoe crabs"
in 372 reviews
"moving walkway"
in 315 reviews
"the pearl"
in 291 reviews
"underwater tunnel"
in 249 reviews
"glass bottom boat"
in 190 reviews
"conveyor belt"
in 151 reviews
"all ages"
in 700 reviews
"rainy day"
in 332 reviews
"great for kids"
in 165 reviews
"gift shop"
in 383 reviews
"whole family"
in 302 reviews
"little pricey"
in 263 reviews
"worth the money"
in 275 reviews
"great place to visit"
in 173 reviews

12,771 - 12,775 of 13,185 reviews

Reviewed March 2, 2011

My wife and I brought our 2 children (ages 5 and 13), to this aquarium. There are numerous types of fish, reptiles and penguins throughout the aquarium. The highlights of the trip are being able to interact with the sting rays and to see the penguin playhouse. The biggest part is the tunnel that literally puts you inside the aquarium, with sharks, and other fish swimming all around you. You are moved through on a slow moving walkway and it takes your breathe away. Absolute must see if you are in the smoky mountains.

Date of experience: February 2011
Thank sullivan76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2011

Older kids will love the sharks, and younger kids will love it all. Like everything else, it is overpriced,... for an aquarium, and for the attractions,... but it is entertaining, and comparable, and one of the much better attractions there. They have a parking garage, and easier to get to than many places because of that. So it is also a good place to leave the car for other things. You can easily spend half a day, or a whole, right there. I see aquariums everywhere, and this on is very good. Not as good as the one in Atalanta, and higher priced, but much more worth the money than other places, and more of an enriching experience than a wax museum,... ya know!? New Orleans, Baltimore, Atlanta, Monte Ray,... all better and bigger,... so I cannot give 5 stars.

Date of experience: February 2011
1  Thank Jsmith1968
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2011

My husband and I have been here twice before, and were weary of going again but we were happy we did because of the penguin playground. We watched Peter the penguin help build him and his penguin wifes nest for nearly an hour. He searched for small rocks and took them all the way up to the nest over and over until there were no more small rocks to gather. It was very interesting and fun to watch! He also got into a little bit of a scuffle with another larger penguin. Penguin fights are very bizarre lol. We always enjoy the underwater tunnel..but where have the turtles gone? Was disappointed in that. Its always clean and well maintained here. If you want to avoid crowds go after 5pm!

Thank MannaLynn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
Reviewed February 17, 2011

This is a great aquarium for its size and location. Its a little expensive but in a tourist town, its to be expected. Went with my GF and had a great time. We also rented a locker which was $1 for 2 hours (nice not to have to lug your jackets/stuff around.) There are lots of species of underwater life, with animals from all major bodies of water. The big tank with underwater tunnel is great. The penguins are also very fun to watch but can get crowded at times. We went pretty early and had not trouble with crowds. It took us about 2 hrs to do the whole thing, but felt very satisfied when finished. You should put this on your list of attraction if you are planning on visiting Gatlinburg.

Date of experience: February 2011
2  Thank Eakap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies also viewed

Gatlinburg, Sevier County

Been to Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing