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Top Ten Reasons To Visit Ripley’s Aquarium

Top Ten Reasons To Visit Ripley’s Aquarium

Enjoy An Amazing Family-Friendly Experience at Ripley’s Aquarium Of The Smokies

We have visited Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies more times than I can count. Each experience has been amazing. When massive wildfires surrounded the museum last year, we prayed for the safety of all the life inside as we watched in horror as the fire approached the aquarium. Thankfully, the Aquarium was prepared and no one was lost! Now when we visit we not only feel excited but also so grateful for this opportunity to be allowed into the world of these amazing creatures!

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You can touch a jellyfish!

Touch A Jellyfish

Not only can you touch a jellyfish, but you can learn so much about them while you are at it. Did you know that jellyfish don’t have a brain, lungs, or a circulatory system? The ‘flower’ you see on these jellyfish are their digestive system. Another interesting fact we learned was that the large jellyfish are the younger ones. The smaller ones are the older ones. Who would’ve guessed?

The penguins are adorable!

African Penguins at Ripleys


Did you know there are eighteen species of penguins? The penguins at Ripley’s Aquarium at the Smokies are African Penguins and they are adorable. The Penguin Playhouse offers see-through tunnels you can crawl through to get right up where the penguin action is happening. While we were there visiting this last time, Coco the penguin came out to hang with us and we learned all kinds of fun facts about these guys. Did you know they can stay underwater hunting fish for two and a half minutes at a time?

For an additional charge, you can also paint with the penguins or schedule a Penguin Encounter! These are definitely on my to-do list! Learn more about those adventures here.

Apologia Chemistry

Stingray Bay is breathtaking!

Stingray Bay At Ripleys Aquarium

Stingray Bay is absolutely mesmerizing! Full of Cownose Rays, Spotted Eagle Rays, and Southern Stingrays, it’s hard to walk away. The rays glide through the water playfully often coming right up to you to say hello. Check the schedule when you get there and you may be able to catch divers entering the tank to hand-feed these beauties. Or you can make your way to the shallow end of the tank, Touch A Ray Bay, and reach down to touch them yourself! For around three dollars you can purchase a bite to feed them yourself too! But watch out, there are baby hammerheads swimming around with them! We love this section of the aquarium the best!

For an additional charge, you can Splash With the Stingrays. Learn more about the Stingray experience here.

The piranha looks like they were dipped in gold.

Gold Piranha

I am no fan of piranha. Let me just get that right out there. I have watched River Monsters guys… So, I was really surprised at how lovely the piranha at Ripley’s Aquarium at the Smokies actually were. They looked as though they had been painted with gold glitter which made them a lot less scary and a lot more beautiful! For real! Did you know Piranha are more opportunistic scavengers than mindless assassins and attacks on humans are really quite rare? Well, now you know!

Shark Lagoon is terrifying and amazing all at once.

Sand Tiger Shark at Ripley's Aquarium

Imagine your making your way through this amazing tunnel. The ocean surrounds you. You are busy admiring a giant green sea turtle, schools of brightly colored fish swarm around you! It’s beautiful as the caustics from the water cast themselves around playfully. And then all of the sudden you look up to see a giant sand tiger shark a foot from your smile! It’s something, guys.

The Massive Sawfish

Giant Sawtooth

Whether you are standing above Shark Lagoon or working your way through the tunnel one fish is guaranteed to stop you in your tracks. This giant sawtooth doesn’t move around much but he doesn’t need any fancy moves to draw everyone’s attention. Related to the rays and sharks, this guy can grow up to eighteen feet long and weigh up to seven hundred pounds!

The Lion Fish Tank

Venemous Lionfish at Ripley's Aquarium

While the Lion Fish may have some funny nicknames like the zebrafish, and turkeyfish, there is nothing funny about the venomous spikes they use to protect themselves. Even after the Lionfish has died its venom is still capable of delivering a vicious sting! While a Lionfish sting won’t kill you, most victim’s agree its enough to make you wish you were dead. Ouch!

The Cuttlefish

The Brilliant cuttlefish

Did you know this cute little cephalopod is all heart? Well, hearts actually. This little predator actually has three hearts. They are related to the octopus and squid and are super smart! They have the largest brain to body size of all invertebrates! I wonder what this one is thinking?

The Staff is all in!

Aquarium Staff

The staff at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies are always friendly and overflowing with knowledge. They are engaging and seem genuinely happy to be there. As I said, we frequent this place, and we have never had a bad experience with a single member of the staff! Southern hospitality is at its finest here!

The Candy Wall in the gift shop!

The Candy Wall

T wouldn’t let me do a Top Ten without mentioning the Candy Wall. He loves it and this time he loaded up on gummy bears and the candy Lego’s. Yes, they really stack together just like the real thing! The gift shop has all kinds of beautiful souvenirs! It’s worth a few minutes to check it out!

If you have not had the chance to visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, we highly recommend you make the trip. If you have been before, we encourage you to go again. We learn something new every time we go!


If you homeschool like we do then bring your paperwork to show them at Guest Services and you can get in for just $10! The aquarium also offers homeschool classes! Learn more about the homeschool classes here!

Here is the contact information for Ripley’s Aquarium at the Smokies:

Location: 88 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Phone:  (865) 430-8808


Aquarium of the Smokies – HOME

Ripley's Aquarium of The Smokies Review

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5 thoughts on “Top Ten Reasons To Visit Ripley’s Aquarium

  1. I love this place. It’s one of the most interesting aquatic places you can visit. If you like anything aquatic and fishy then you’ll love this place.

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