3 Reasons Why You’ll Love the Gatlinburg Aquarium

It is no surprise that Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies was voted “Best Aquarium in North America” in 2019. This attraction houses a variety of experiences that allow you to get up close and personal with all kinds of marine life. It is great for all ages and a must see for your next vacation. Here are 3 reasons why you will love the Gatlinburg aquarium:

1. Up Close Interactions With Animals

Seeing fish swim in a huge tank can be mesmerizing. It is even cooler when the animals come out from behind the glass. At the Gatlinburg aquarium, this happens in both a safe and fun way! At Touch-a-Ray-Bay, feel the smooth skin of a ray as they seamlessly glide through the water! Other attractions include the Glass Bottom Boat in Shark Lagoon. As you go out onto the water, all you have to do is look down and you’ll see more than 8,500 aquatic animals. The crown jewel of the Gatlinburg aquarium is definitely the Penguin Playhouse as this attraction is also rated one of the best destinations to see penguins. Watch these funny creatures waddle around! They even create works of art with their feet. Before you leave, don’t forget to get a souvenir photo with a live penguin. Who says the kids get to have all the fun? Bring the whole family in, and get a great Christmas card photo!

2. After Hours Events

fish swimming in waterAlong with their daytime activities, the Gatlinburg aquarium also hosts after hours events where guests get to stay overnight in the aquarium. It is a great experience as the educators teach you about the animals. You can also see the fish in the tanks as they engage in their night time routines. As for accommodations, you won’t have to sleep in the fish tanks. You will still get to have some great roommates as you snooze in either the Shark Lagoon or Penguin Playhouse. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about food as the aquarium provides snacks in the evening and a continental breakfast in the morning! If you don’t want the fun to be over, the Sleep With the Sharks and the PJ Party With the Penguins events even cover the cost of admission to the aquarium for the following morning!

3. Gift Shop

If you want a “jaw-some” souvenir to remember your special time in Gatlinburg, stop by Ripley’s Cargo Hold, the gift shop at the Gatlinburg aquarium. You can get classic items such as a mug or a t-shirt. You can also get smaller, more cuddly versions of the big animals you saw that day! If you’re looking for something a little more unique, check out some of the work from local artisans. You can also purchase penguin art. Hang it up in your house! When guests ask about it, you’ll have an interesting story to tell!

The Gatlinburg aquarium is just one of the fun attractions in Gatlinburg. There is a lot more to do, see, and eat. Check out this list of Smoky Mountain area attractions for more things to do on your vacation. We hope that you have a “fin-tastic” trip!