Our list of top Gatlinburg attractions.
Looking at a map, it seems Gatlinburg popped up in the middle of a number of large attractions. And although that’s not true at all, it’s kind of funny when you look at the town from above and see that it’s surrounded by things like Ober Gatlinburg and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Top 10 attractions in Gatlinburg. We’ll start out on the slopes at Ober and work our way through town. If you can think of something that we’ve missed, drop us a line in the comment box and we’ll take it into consideration. It’s an evolving list so no worries, we’d love to hear what you the readers think. Let’s get on with the list.
Our Top 10 Gatlinburg Attractions:
- Ober Gatlinburg – Outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this wintertime attraction has been bringing in tourists to Gatlinburg for as long as most can remember. The year was 1962 actually. Guests can pick from 9 different ski and snowboarding trails during peak season. Ober’s snow-making machines keep the resort open longer each year, no matter how much real snow accumulates.
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies – A Smoky Mountain hot spot, Ripley’s Aquarium features 10,000 sea creatures and was once voted the No. 1 aquarium in the United States by Tripadvisor. Enjoy ocean life as you would were you really diving in the ocean. Get up close to a real coral reef and see some of its unique inhabitants.
- Gatlinburg Space Needle – A part of the Gatlinburg sky line since 1970, the Space Needle has been the site of numerous New Years Eve fireworks celebrations. At one time it was the second tallest tower in the state of Tennessee, now it’s the 5th. Come by and ride to the top like so many others have over the years.
- Gatlinburg Sky Lift – Travel from downtown all the way up the mountain to Ober Gatlinburg by way of Gatlinburg’s Sky Lift. This ride is like no other in the Smokies. Glide over wooded peaks, pass over Smoky Mountain cabins and chalets, and enjoy the majestic beauty of the area.
- Guinness World Records Museum – See some of the world’s most long-standing and impressive feats at the Guinness World Records Museum in Gatlinburg. From life-size statues of the most tattooed person in the world to the tallest, the sites, sounds, and interactive displays at the Guinness World Records Museum will amaze and excite the senses.
- Arrowmont – Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is a center for arts education. Arrowmont offers weekend, one- and two-week workshops for the beginner to advanced artist, taught by national and international practicing studio artists and university faculty.
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not – If you’re into the weird and the unusual, then Ripley’s Believe It or Not is just for you. Shrunken heads, wax figures, larger-than-life items all make this museum of oddities.
- Mysterious Mansion – Many people have come through this downtown Gatlinburg attraction and have left scared out of their wits. This house of horrors set the standard for haunted houses in the area and continues to this day.
- Ripley’s Mirror Maze – Don’t run into yourself too many times in Ripley’s Mirror Maze. This house of reflective walls and never-ending hallways is downtown favorite.
- Nantahala Outdoor Center – Plans call for hiking or exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Stop by the Nantahala Outdoor Center for some outdoorsy advise, or just pick up a new pair of hiking boots.
Get Gatlinburg aquarium coupons and read reviews and tips for Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee…voted the best aquarium in the United States!
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN has been voted the #1 aquarium in the entire United States by Trip Advisor! If you’re looking for the perfect thing to do with your family, friends, church group, business retreat, etc then look no further than this amazing Gatlinburg aquarium that literally takes you into the action. The Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg features an estimated 10,000 sea creatures with 350 different species ranging from tiny sea horses to enormous sharks! There’s definitely something for everyone as you make your way through the aquarium and realize why it is voted the best aquarium in the nation.
There are many attractions in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has been rated the best over all of them! You can easily spend a couple of hours in the aquarium, so they even have a restaurant inside in case you get an appetite looking at all the fish. If your children are begging to take a fish home, don’t worry they also have a gift shop where you can buy some stuffed versions on the sharks and other animals that you saw throughout the Gatlinburg aquarium. Seriously…they’ve thought of just about everything!
Here are some of the things that you’ll experience at the Gatlinburg Aquarium.
- Species from the Tropical Rainforest: Discover four-eyed Fish, Oscars, Poison Dart Frogs, Piranhas, and more!
- Ocean Realm: See fish of all sizes, color and shape in this area.
- Systems Control: If you or anyone in your group is into levers, knobs, switches, lights, computers, etc then this is the place for you! Here you will see the inner-workings of how the millions of gallons of aquarium water stays fresh, temperature-regulated, etc and how all of the animals are monitored throughout the entire aquarium.
- Coral Reef: The most colorful fish in the aquarium…and the world for that matter! Be sure to visit during the feeding times to see a great show.
- Shark Lagoon: I think the name says it all! This may be the very thing you came to see! While you may stand motionless in awe, you’ll actually be moving along a gliding path through a glass tunnel…right underneath all of the action! You’ll see snappers, tarpon, a giant sea turtle, stingrays, and so much more…and sharks!
- Discovery Center: This is THE place for the kids…or even the young at heart! The Discovery Center is the hands-on area of the aquarium where you get to touch, grab, twist, all sorts of things…you can even touch live horseshoe crabs! There are also special programs offered for teachers and social groups making this a perfect destination for a school field trip.
- Gallery of the Seas: See some beautiful as well as scary looking creatures in this part of the aquarium! You’ll see an octopus, sea horses, jellyfish, corals, and so much more!
- Stingray Bay: All sorts of species of stingrays glide through this part of the aquarium specifically devoted to them. Be sure to catch the dive show and see the stingrays eat right from the hands of the divers!
- Touch a Ray Bay: Just as the name implies, you can actually touch a stingray here!
- Babies in Incubators: Discover the miracle of life and the various stages of incubation for numerous types of creatures.
Tips for visiting the Gatlinburg Aquarium
- Gatlinburg Aquarium Coupons – The Gatlinburg Aquarium is much like Dollywood and Dixie Stampede in that they do not offer coupons in coupon books and such around town. Most deals that you find are often linked to timeshare promotions. They do, however, offer discounts for the following: AAA Discount, AARP Discount, Group Discount, Local Resident Discount, Military Discount, Senior Citizen Discount, and Student Discount.
- Photography Tips – One of the biggest “mistakes” that people make is to use their flash when taking pictures through the aquarium glass. What this typically does is cause a bright reflection on the glass and all you will see is a big, bright flash in the picture….and no fish! Try taking images without the flash. If you have the option on your camera, bump up the ISO to around 400. If that doesn’t work, go ahead and turn on the flash (if it’s allowed) and put the camera lens up against the glass. This usually produces the clearest images.
- Go Early – The best time to go is in the morning since the aquarium gets busier as the day passes. Also, try to avoid Saturdays if at all possible.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg TN
88 River Rd
Gatlinburg, TN 37738