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
47 thoughts on “Ripley’s Aquarium Gatlinburg”
We had an email circulate today stating that Ripley’s businesses would offer teachers free admission on September 18 and 19. Is this true? If so, we suppose that means that only the teacher is admitted free and children would pay-is that correct? Also, what attractions would this include in the Gatlinburg area?
we like the artifacts,musesums, the sea aqarium.
Why don’t the aqarium give disabled veterans a discount?
do teachers get in free????????????????/need to know
Loved the aquarium. It was worth the money to visit. Very interesting and fun to watch everything going on in all the areas. It was a great place to go.
This aquarium is good but honestly the aquarium in Chattanooga is amazing! My husband and I have visited both but the Chattanooga aquarium was far superior to that in Gatlinburg.
We visit aquarium yearly at Myrtle Beach & Gatlinburg. However, EVERY visit has at least 1 woman breastfeeding on bench! They DO have nice restrooms/rooms where these people SHOULD BE! I am a middle age MOTHER and WOULD NEVER have done this in public! Please be respectful…..if you are going to do it……DON’T DO IT IN PUBLIC! The aquariums should have someone posted beside ALL THE BENCHES TO PREVENT THIS from happening.
I guess you never feed your infant in public? Is that not what God intended on them being used for? I would much rather see someone breastfeeding their infant than sticking a bottle in its mouth. I am Glad people feel like they can do what is best for their infant. I am much more disgusted in the lack of clothes some women wear in public or the way parents do not make their children mind in public. I personally am not affected nor do I find it disrespectful to feed a hungry infant when ever it needs to be feed.
I have only been to the Gatlinburg aquarium and it was nice.
What is wrong with Lisa? There is nothing wrong with breastfeeding on a bench. Sheesh. What, are you embarrassed to explain something natural to your kids? Geesh, talk about uptight!
Lisa, I’m assuming you’re too daft to realize exactly how ignorant you sound. Go crawl back into the hole you came from and keep your imbecilic thoughts to yourself. Perhaps if you had been breastfed yourself, you wouldn’t be so obtuse today.
Really Lisa? Ignorant much? What you just described would be ILLEGAL. A woman has the right to feed her child anywhere she has the right to legally be otherwise. At the park, at the zoo, in the grocery store, etc. I’ll bet you saw more skanky cleavage walking from the parking lot than on any woman feeding her child in the God intended manner. If we are going to go down this route than all children should be fed in the restrooms where they ‘belong’. Seeing bottle fed babies makes me gag, but I don’t go around saying they shouldn’t be able to eat in public like the rest of humanity.
Sounds like a beautiful aquarium, I’d be happy to visit somewhere like this and see at least one woman on every bench feeding her child.
I agree with Lisa. Its nasty to do that in public. Had i seen that i would have to her to take that to the bathroom. No one wants to see your boobs hanging out.
I know this is the forum for the aquarium, but this feeding thread irked me. While I am neither high-fiving women breastfeeding in public nor admonishing them for doing it in public (assuming their breasts are not hanging out for all the world to see), I think it is very unfair that some of you are so judgmental of bottle-feeding mothers. I know several women who physically were unable to bottle-feed, so before you “gag”, remember that it might not be her first choice. Also, being bottle-fed doesn’t make you dumb, Amanda. I know a lot of smart bottle-fed people.
Let’s get back to the aquarium now, shall we?
I thought this was about the aquarium. ??? Breast or Bottle? How about a happy healthy baby with a full tummy, who would probably sleep during the rest of the visit instead of cry while Mom tries to find a restroom.
Yes Lisa, it is absolutely disgusting to see a woman feeding her child. That’s why I go sit in the bathroom whenever I see a woman feeding her child in public. It is so disrespectful to put your child NEEDS above other peoples comfort.
I understand Lisa, you are the queen of the world and should be respected. You come before every child ever born. I promise you that your children will never be exposed to such a horrible, nasty thing as a woman feeding her child in the healthiest and safest way possible.
All these babies nagging you with there need for nourishment and immune support… why, it ought to be illegal!
I apologize on behalf of all of the mothers in the world, your royal highness. The universe will soon be balanced again when all children are deprived of antibodies and nourishment.
the lowly, average woman.
OK, first have we not heard the phrase if you have nothing nice to say don’t say it at all. I went on this site to see if I should visit the aquarium with my family not whether breast feeding is OK in public. If you don’t like what people are doing don’t look, walk on by. What is your problem? Who cares what anyone else is doing. Your at an aquarium to look at fish not judge every person you see. I have literally wasted my time on this site looking for real responses to whether I should visit or not.
I have been to this aquarium twice and are returning again in two months! Last year my family and I went to the Chattanooga Aquarium and the year before the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and I will have to say that the Chattanooga Aquarium was the best of all. But if your looking for things to see and do other than visit an aquarium, Gatlinburg is the best choice. Although they have “revamped” downtown Chattanooga, there’s not that much to do, other than the incline railway (which is a nightmare in hot summer months, due to no air-conditioning in the cars, and the long wait time in the cars waiting for the tram to get going and just like the ride, the cost is steep!) or Lookout Mountain and Rock City, which is very nice. You can definitely see that the city has had a hard time, financially. There are a lot of homeless (God-bless their hearts) all around the area and it looks “dirty”. We love Gatlinburg, there’s never nothing to do and the city is beautiful!
On the breast-feeding note, I breastfed all 3 of my children and my opinion on the subject is mothers should not have to sit in a dirty bathroom to feed their babies because of their choice to breastfeed. I always fed my babies in public, but kept myself covered at all times, as I think the majority of breastfeeding mothers do. Everywhere you look there is nudity. On billboards, on magazine covers in the grocery check-out line, walking down public streets, in world-renowned art and anywhere else you look and it is much more offensive than a breastfeeding mother. Stop picking on mothers feeding their children the “natural” way. Come on, your a woman and see breasts every day, was a mother breastfeeding her baby really that traumatic that you felt the need to make such mean and ignorant comments on a public web-site?
Love the Aquarium. We’ve been a few times. My son is in awe. I tried every way possible to breast feed my son. I was born with cleft lip and pallate and probably had some psychological connection to being able to breastfeed my child….never mind the fact it is the BEST choice. I ended up having to pump and use a tube connected to my finger in order to feed him. I was devastated. While it was such an important choice for me to breastfeed, I don’t condemn those who don’t. However, I agree that the woman has every right to breastfeed in public. Would you actually feed your child in a nasty public restroom. I don’t even like my child to have to use a public restroom for the reason it was meant to be use, yuck. I agree with those who said we see much worse everyday, on t.v., billboards, etc. As long as a woman is covered….what is the problem? Wish I could have been one of those ladies breastfeed on the bench.
We have been to the aquarium a couple of times & plan to visit again next week when we come to Gatlinburg. My youngest can’t wait to see the Penguin’s. I have to say that if we do see a mother feeding her child on the bench while we’re there, rather it be breast feeding or bottle feeding, it will bother anyone in my party. Breast feeding is a natural part of life. Hats off to mothers who do breast feed. Not to look down on mothers who do not. Everyone has their own reasons for doing it or not! Will comment again after our visit! Thanks for reading!
We love the Ripley’s Aquarium, visited once before kids and are headed there next week with our 2 kids. Can’t wait to show them all of the exciting things to see there. Just to put in my 2 cents, I breast fed both my kids, though I chose to cover myself with a blanket or cloth. It bothered me to have people stare at me while I was feeding my baby, but it bothered me more to sit on the nasty public toilet and feed them. There aren’t chairs in every bathroom (though I was thankful when there was a chair or sitting area)and your only other option is to squat on the floor or stand up to feed them. Its hard for me to believe that on your visits to this amazing aquarium, the thing that stuck out in your mind the most was a woman sitting on a bench feeding her child, not the educational value of seeing all the exotic fish in their habitats or observing feeding time, watching sharks swim all around you, or enjoying quality time with your family. I think we can all take a lesson from this and be more concerned with what actually matters in life instead of worrying about things you can’t change. Breast or bottle, either way, kids have grown up successful and healthy from both. being a good mom is the best way- and paying more attention to your kids and having a good time is way more valuable than concerning yourself with whose boobs are on display in what context and where. Enjoy the aquarium, folks. Its a ton of fun and definitely worth the time!
If here boobs were hanging out, ok, yes that would not be appropriate, however, most women will cover up and feed their child. What is it to you. I hate seeing girls backsides hanging out of their shorts or the boobs hanging out of their shirts. There are plenty of nursing cover ups and just the old fashioned blanket that you can use to feed your child and most of the time people use these. Bathrooms can be germy and nasty no matter now ‘nice’ they look. I’d rather feed my child when and where was most convenient even on a public bench, before going in a bathroom and fighting the crowds or waiting in line to do so. If ya don’t like it, don’t look. Seriously. We are going to go to the aquarium next month and I doubt I’ll be looking at the mommas feeding the babies. I’m paying to look at the fish and sharks.
I have never been to the Aquarium, but am planning on taking my 3 grandkids 2 – 4 yrs old and 1 – 2 yrs old. I am wondering if this is something they will enjoy and how much is there to do there? Is it something that would fill a whole day? The website looks like it will be alot of fun. I am praying they will enjoy it!
I’m heading to Gatlinburg in 3 days and was so excited to read the comments until I started reading them! Lisa, whoever you are. Next time you get hungry, make sure you sit on the toilet and eat. Actually, you should every time you get hungry. Hope you aren’t worried about germs b/c bathrooms are the cleanest place to be… You are an idiot!! I think you have some insecurities you need to work on. To those who actually posted about your visit, thank you. You weren’t a waste of my time!
It has been many years since I visted the aquarium. We are planning a visit soon is their guides or tours or a wonder at your own pace??
Planing on visiting tomorrow or the next day and I am a breast feeding mother and in honor of you Lisa I am going to let my so screams his lungs out cause he is hungry. NOT !!!!! I am a paramedic and I will never feed my son in the restroom from a bottle or a breast grow up and for your info in the state of Tennessee it is legal to breast feed your child up to one year old in public and if i feel like whipping my boob out to take care of my child i will! Would you take your food to the bathroom to eat i think not. It is women like you who make it this world think they have the right to look down their noses at others i hope no one judges you as you judge others and we sure as heck don’t need people like you in Tennessee pack your stuff and stay away for all of us Tennesseans care!!!!!!!
I have been to the aquarium several times and enjoyed it each time. I’m bringing three of my grandchildren down tomorrow and can’t wait to see their reaction to all the beautiful fish. I can’t think of a better place than at the Gatlinburg’s aquarium for my grandchildren to have their first experience of seeing all that the aquarium has to offer. So excited!!!!
I came on here to read about the Aquarium. I am glad some of you posted about it. It was helpful to know about Chattanooga’s Aquarium. Thank you for the posters. However, I think the words ‘breast’ and ‘boob’ certainly out number ‘fish’ posts. I think Lisa got the point. Can we give the bashing a rest and get back to fish? I mean really, does it make any of this opinionated stuff any less annoying than the breastfeeding comment itself? Geez, I am trying to plan a trip and all I can think of is boobs with fins! Grrrr…everyone needs to get over it. There are bigger ‘fish’ to fry on better websites than an Aquarium blog spot. Pardon the pun. Anyone take a look at the economy, the wars, or child abuse websites? Can we get back to this being an aquarium site? Someone please post something related to the aquarium next and stop this insanity!
Wanted to see if my kids would like to go to this “AQUARIUM” Guess I’m on the wrong site,All of you enjoy!!!!
I am glad to get back to the Aquarium reviews too. I am visiting Gatlinburg this summer with my kids and another family. I am trying to plan some events rather than wake up each day looking for something to do. I think we will try the aquarium.
I must say this about the breast feeding thing. I would not feed my child in the bathroom….just like I would not eat there. Breast feeding is natural; however, discretion is important. Most women, cover themselves and check from time to time to ensure monitoring of the baby while feeding. We get worked up over the most ridiculous things.
The lady that started this mess was probably with her husband and he got an eyeful….
It’s okay for him to look honey….just so long as he goes home with you….So calm down, breath slow and be secure in knowing that he is yours and her breast were just a little flavor to keep his juices flowing….LOL
Was looking for reviews/savings for the aquarium when I stumbled on to this thread. I agree that the focus should get back the aquarium, but I just had to say this: I did not breastfeed my children so I am not an advocate either way. That being said, I would never EAT in a public restroom, therefore, I would certainly never FEED MY CHILD in a public restroom. Sometimes I am so shocked by the level of ignorance in this world.
I really can not believe my child was called stupid bc I used a bottle. I understand what the first woman was trying to say. My daughter is very smart and would ask a thousand questions about what that woman was doing why,how and so on. I would feel like that’s not what I was there for. Everyone knows their childs eating schedule why not work that out before u walk in. By the way gag on my bottle bc my child could only take a bottle that was rude and wrong. I hope your next child doesn’t want to be breast fees and u eat your words
Can I breastfeed the fish? My kids are weaned, but I’m just itching to haul my boobs out in public since everyone knows that’s what nursing is about. Hope the penguins are hungry. . .
I know, I know, everyone is tired of the breastfeeding debate. But there was one little thing not mentioned…..I gave my baby a bottle, but it was breast milk inside. I’m a shift worker, so pumping was what I did so that her dad and childcare provider could feed her when I was gone. Just wanted to point that out since some mentioned they “hated” seeing babies with bottles. 🙂
ROTFLOL! Love it. We’ve been to Ripley’s aquarium a few years ago (didn’t see any boobs, btw!) and my son LOVED it. I think we’re going to check out Chattanooga next but if you’re in Gatlinburg and you want to awe your kids, check out the aquarium there!
Went with the scouts to sleep under the sharks. Overall it seemed like most of the kids had a great time. I was very surprises that after paying a good hunk of money we could only walk through the aquarium for an hour. Not enough time to enjoy the experience. It was shocking how rude and obnoxious the staff was towards some of the kids who were interested in checking things out. If you cant handle young children for a sleepover than dont have them. Will definetly never return to this one. Very dissapointing to see people run a bisiness like that. The Chatanooga aquarium is definetly the place to go. Never good when you leave a place with a sour taste left in your mouth because of poor customer service.
As a breastfeeding mother and a medical laboratory technician,, I have to say breastfeeding a infant in a public or nonpublic restroom is very unsanitary. Lisa, how would you like to eat your lunch or supper while someone next to you is having a bowel movement. I bet you wouldn’t. Why would mother worth a gain of salt feed an infant with hardly no immune system in a place where he or she could get salmonella, hepatitis, yersinia, shigella, c. Diff, and e. Coli to name few. Any of these bacteria can be found on toilet seats, door handles, sinks, and in the air every time someone flushes a toilet. As for me, if I was a baby, I would hope I had the mother who was smart enough to sit on a bench to feed me.
I absolutely Love the aquarium. Going soon to make my 3rd trip.
Sorry BUT breast pumps are made to extract breast milk. This can then be put into a bottle. This is for the times when it is not “an appropriate” place to drag your engored breast out in public. Some women do this with the utmost taste. BUT I have seen women who just want to be seen. Example: Family get together at a Red Lobster. 20 of us. Table across from ours….lady exposes her breast for at least 5 minutes before she started nursing. Come on give me a break. SHE wanted everyone to see.
wow…i came here to get reviews on the aquarium, and i don’t like i know any more than i did before! it’s about the aquarium, not breastfeeding, or anything circled around breastfeeding! thanks to the people who actually wrote review without mentioning the breastfeeding poster!
Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
Anyways, just wanted to say superb blog!
are Veterans included in the aquarium?
Yes they are Sonia.