Location: Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Years Active: 2000 – Active
Set against the backdrop of the picturesque Great Smoky Mountains, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has been a mesmerizing underwater destination since its inauguration on December 10, 2000. This extraordinary attraction, located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, offers an immersive exploration of marine life, attracting curious visitors from across the region and beyond.
At its heart lies a 340-foot-long acrylic tunnel, winding through a massive 750,000-gallon tank inhabited by a diverse array of vibrant fish, graceful rays, and awe-inspiring sharks. Additionally, visitors can enjoy the Penguin Playhouse, Coral Reef, and Touch-A-Ray Bay, along with engaging seasonal festivals like “Shark Week” and “Penguin Awareness Day.”
In recent years, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has witnessed a surge in popularity, welcoming over 1.5 million visitors annually. This remarkable increase in attendance underscores its enduring appeal. Responding to the growing demand and with a commitment to enhancing the visitor experience, the aquarium has unveiled ambitious expansion plans, promising new exhibits and interactive displays. These developments ensure that this underwater marvel remains a captivating and inspiring destination for generations to come.
Is Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies worth it?
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is considered a worthwhile attraction for visitors of all ages. Situated in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, it offers an immersive and educational experience showcasing a diverse range of marine life. The aquarium features numerous interactive exhibits, including a 340-foot-long underwater tunnel, where visitors can observe sharks, stingrays, and other marine species up close. The facility’s commitment to conservation and its engaging displays make it a valuable and enjoyable destination, providing insight into the fascinating world of aquatic creatures. Additionally, the aquarium often receives positive reviews for its well-maintained exhibits and knowledgeable staff, making it a recommended stop for those interested in marine life and family-friendly entertainment.
What are the fun facts about Ripley’s aquarium of the Smokies?
- Underwater Treadmill: Ripley’s Aquarium boasts an impressive moving sidewalk, known as an underwater treadmill, inside the Shark Lagoon exhibit. This allows visitors to glide through a glass tunnel surrounded by mesmerizing marine life, including sharks and colorful fish.
- Gatlinburg’s Oldest Attraction: Established in 2000, the aquarium is one of Gatlinburg’s oldest and most popular tourist attractions. It has consistently earned recognition for its innovation and commitment to environmental conservation.
- Diverse Marine Life: The aquarium is home to over 10,000 sea creatures representing more than 350 species. From playful penguins to majestic sea turtles, it offers a comprehensive showcase of marine biodiversity.