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)
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.
Ripley’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. The cost to splash with the stingrays is $29.99, which includes a souvenir T-shirt and a behind-the-scenes tour.
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 your knowledge of nature.
Our personal favorite, the penguins have a little playhouse of their own at the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. You can visit the Penguin Playhouse and come face to beak with the penguins that live there, or you can purchase an original painting made by the penguins and help the conservation efforts of SANCOBB, a leading non-profit dedicated to seabirds.
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.
Where to Stay When You Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
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 vacation, check out our Gatlinburg Cabins page.