Though it is hundreds of miles from the coast, this large aquarium is home to more than 10,000 sea creatures and over 350 different marine species. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies’ large size makes it a main attraction for the area, and it is said that there are more fish in the aquarium than people living in Gatlinburg.
Oceanic habitats on view include coral reefs, open seas, tropical rain forests and lagoons, while specialty animal habitats were created for sharks, rays and penguins. There is also an interactive “touch a ray” bay, a discovery center for children and a systems control tour that provides a behind-the-scenes look at how the aquarium runs Live shows featuring scuba divers and animal feedings take place daily.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is located at 88 River Road in Gatlinburg. It is open year-round, with hours varying seasonally. The aquarium opens at 9 a.m. and generally closes between 8 and 10 p.m., depending on the day and season. Ticket prices are $26.99 for adults and $15.99 for children.