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Gatlinburg Aquarium

Aquariums offer guests a magical excursion under the sea where sharks, barracudas, turtles, and an assortment of fish swim and glide. At Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, the whole family has an up-close look at the wonders that await in the water. 

Gatlinburg Aquarium Fish

The unique location offers moving glide paths that track alongside sea turtles and rays. There is also the Glass Bottom Boat Adventure that offers a mere three inches of glass between you and the mysteries of the sea below. Guests can jump on a launch every 20 minutes to gaze at Shark Lagoon where 12-foot sharks swim freely along with other creatures of the deep. 

The location has plenty to view at every turn. Their collection of exotic fish, barracudas, jellyfish, and eels immerses you in their underwater sanctuary. You can get right up to the tanks to see these gorgeous creatures in their favorite environment. 

Gatlinburg Aquarium Fish

Penguin Fun in the Penguin Playhouse

Head over to the Penguin Playhouse to see the adorable feathered residents playing and swimming. These birds love an audience and will show off their waddles and flippers to onlookers. For big fans of these friendly creatures, check out the Penguin Encounter where you can meet them “Face-To-Beak.” Guests can interact with one of the penguins in their habitat while gaining helpful tips and information from a knowledgeable staff member. You even walk out with a souvenir photo with your new feathered pal.  

If that wasn’t enough penguin fun for you, how about taking home a one-of-a-kind art piece of one of the resident penguins? The Penguin Painting Experience offers guests a chance to see one of Ripley’s African Penguin artists doing what they do best, and you can take home a unique souvenir from your experience. 

Gatlinburg Aquarium Penguin
Photo courtesy of Ripley’s Gatlinburg Aquarium

One of the best reasons to add Ripley’s Aquarium to your must-see list is that it is more than a place to view sea animals. Their staff members are animal experts and well-educated in all aspects of the creatures inside the galleries. They will also share their knowledge through hands-on exhibits and experiences such as touch tanks, tours, and more.

And if you can’t make it there in person or you loved it so much you want more, explore the aquarium through their virtual tour online. A live educator guides you through the galleries and offers a chance for you to ask the experts questions along the way. While being there is an unmatched experience, a virtual tour is definitely the next best thing. 

Ripley’s Gatlinburg Aquarium Hours of Operation:

9:00 AM to 10:00 PM
9:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Ripley’s Gatlinburg Aquarium Address:

88 River Rd

Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Phone Number:



After a fun day enjoying your animal friends, head home to your home away from home in Gatlinburg. We’ll help you find the best place to stay in Gatlinburg.