Voted Best U.S. Aquarium by USA Today in 2017, there is no denying that Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a must see on your next visit to Gatlinburg! Dive in as we take you on a tour and highlight some of our favorite features that this incredible attraction has to offer!

Tropical Rainforest

Of the 350 different species that call the Aquarium home, some of the most colorful and most dangerous can be found in the Tropical Rainforest. Here you’ll find dozens of infamous Red Bellied Piranhas, the oddly adorable Mudskipper, colorful Poison Dart Frogs, and so much more!

Ocean Realm

The Ocean Realm houses oceanic favorites like slithering Moray Eels, beautiful Moon Jellyfish, and a giant tank of schooling fish! The Moon Jellies are so eye catching and graceful we could have watched them dance for hours!

Coral Reef

The Coral Reef features colorful and exoctic species from the Indo-Pacific. Here you’ll find the famous Regal Blue Tang, Butterfly Fish, and more! This exhibit even has a tank full of Seahorses where you can learn about the interesting role males play in carrying their young.

Shark Lagoon

Next up on our tour is a fan favorite! Here you can travel on a 340 foot converyorbelt  through an underwater tunnel. This unreal experience allows you to come face-to-face with giant sharks, a huge Green Sea Turtle, and more species of fish than you can count!

Stingray Bay

Without fear of predators and divers, the Stingrays at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies put on a spectacular show! Whereas Stingrays in the wild stay buried beneath the sand for survival, these Stingrays will eat out of divers hands and even let guests pet them at the Touch a Ray Bay.

Penguin Playhouse

Home to the World’s Best Penguin Exhibit, here you’ll be able to experience a one-of-a-kind encounter with these extremely curious Arctic birds. The Penguin Playhouse is vastly interactive as it’s made up of tunnels that allow you to crawl through as you witness the Penguins from all angles!  


New to 2018, this exhibit offers an interactive history and geography lesson of sorts. Here you’ll get the opportunity to learn about famous shipwrecks dating back as far as 1300 BC all the way up to 1975. The attention to detail in this brand new exhibit is exceptional! Not only can you learn all about these shipwrecks, but each section also features fish native to the area where the shipwrecks were discovered.  

Gallery of the Seas

Think of this exhibit like nature’s own art gallery. Here you’ll find truly bizarre and beautiful species that almost resemble works of art. In the Gallery of the Seas exhibit you can find spectacles like the Japanese Spider Crab, Lionfish, and more!

Discovery Center

This hands-on learning experience is perfect for all ages! Here you can safely touch Jellyfish and horseshoe crabs! You can also tune in throughout the day to check out a variety of Marine Science Classes. The Discovery Center also houses an incredible 3-story Treehouse and Play Center.

Live Show Schedule

Be sure to grab a Live Show Schedule upon your arrival; that way you don’t miss out on specialty dives, Penguin feedings, and educational experiences!

We hope you enjoyed this brief tour of the BEST Aquarium in the United States!  Make your next Smoky Mountain vacation even more spectacular with a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies!