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Ripley's Gatlinburg Aquarium

5 Animals You Will Love at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg

Who knew you could take a trip under the ocean in the mountains? At Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, you can experience the beauty and excitement of the deep blue sea right in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. Here are 5 amazing underwater creatures you can find at the Gatlinburg aquarium:

(See Related: Best Places to See Bears and Other Smoky Mountain Wildlife)

1. Sharks

Imagine yourself surrounded by sharks. Sharks above you, sharks beside you, sharks everywhere! But there’s no need to fear; at Ripley’s Aquarium you can be safely surrounded by sharks on the 340-foot-long glidepath in the underwater tunnel. There’s no better way to get a closeup look at the most feared predator in the ocean. Along with the sharks, you can see sawfish, squirrelfish, stingrays, and more.

2. Stingrays

stingray swimming at the Gatlinburg aquariumRipley’s Aquarium also provides visitors an opportunity to get close to stingrays. There is a small lagoon that guests can reach into and pet the rays as they swim by! And if you want to get even closer, you can take a little swim with the stingrays too. Your Splash with Stingrays experience includes a souvenir T-shirt and a behind-the-scenes tour. This experience is available Memorial Day through Labor Day.

3. Horseshoe Crabs

There’s no better way to learn about nature than experiencing it with your own two hands! At the Discovery Center in Ripley’s Aquarium, visitors can touch horseshoe crabs, one of the most memorable species in the whole aquarium. You’ll also have the chance to solve puzzles and compete with experts and friends on knowledge of nature.

4. Penguins

Penguins at aquariumOur personal favorite, the penguins have a little playhouse of their own at the Ripley’s Aquarium. You can visit the Penguin Playhouse and get to interact with them in their indoor/outdoor habitat, and you can even purchase an original painting made by the penguins and help the conservation efforts of SANCCOB, a leading non-profit dedicated seabirds.

5. Fish

What would an aquarium be without fish? At Ripley’s Aquarium, there are thousands of different types of fish! In the Tropical Rainforest section alone, there are about 2,000 species of fish. From the puffer fish to piranhas, there is a fish for everyone to enjoy at the Gatlinburg aquarium.

More About the Gatlinburg Aquarium

Not only can you see all of these amazing animals at the Gatlinburg aquarium, but you can enjoy other unique experiences while you’re there! Try the Glass Bottom Boat Adventure, where you’ll venture into the heart of Shark Lagoon, just 3 inches of glass separating you from 12-foot sharks and other animals that call the lagoon home. You’ll love being able to get a close look at the animals as they swim right below you. Ripley’s Aquarium also has an awesome gift shop for you to pick up the perfect souvenir after you’re finished exploring!

Amazing Views offers a great selection of cabins right around the corner from Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg! With a convenient location, breathtaking mountain views, and superior customer service, we have everything you need for a spectacular vacation. To start planning your visit to the Gatlinburg aquarium, check out our Gatlinburg Cabins page.