Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Disclosure: I was given free tickets to the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies to facilitate this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own!
For spring break my family and I took a trip to the beautiful Smokey Mountains in Tennessee! One of our main reasons for going is that my daughter (that cutie pictured above) really wanted to visit the TripAdvisor #1 ranked aquarium, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies! So on a beautiful Friday morning we hopped on a trolley and headed there!
First of all, the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is just beautiful! It is set up with great decor, friendly staff, and of course, lots of sea life! It was VERY busy when we visited, but there was so much to do and see, that there was room for everyone! I wanted to share some of our families favorite parts of the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies!
Here are some of my families favorite exhibits at the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies:
Shark Lagoon was my personal favorite exhibit! You are surrounded by water (without actually being in water of course) and you move on a 340-foot long glidepath! So you don’t even have to walk, and trust me, when you have been walking around Downtown Gatlinburg all day, it’s a nice break to be able just to enjoy the sea life! The Sharks were HUGE! Bigger than the other aquariums I’ve been to. And as you can tell from the photos above, they are right above your head and all around you! No matter where you were you had a great view!
My husbands favorite part of our trip to the aquarium was getting to hang out with the Horseshoe Crabs! You could pet them and pick them up! I’ll be honest, I was terrified to pick one up, but when else was I going to have the chance again right? My daughter loved petting them, and it was a really fun experience for all of us!
My daughters favorite part by far was the Penguin Playhouse! They had clear, underwater tunnels that you could crawl through and really get up close and personal with all the penguins. We also got to see a new baby penguin, which was one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen! Something really fun and different was that each penguin had a tag attached to them with their names on it! I’ve never seen that before! My daughter loved saying hello to the penguins, and being able to call them by name! Another great thing about the Penguin Playhouse is you can purchase your own Penguin Painting! which we did! All the painting were made by penguins right there at the aquarium! Ours was made by Jimmy! Not only do you get a special memento to remember your tip by, but 50% of every painting sold goes to The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds! Very cool right!?
There is so much to see and do at the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and I highly recommend you plan a visit the next time you are in Gatlinburg!