Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is home to over 10,000 sea creatures, including sharks, penguins, turtles, and a seemingly endless variety of fish. This summer, the aquarium will host some undersea residents that you don’t see every day: mermaids! Everyone’s favorite mythical creatures will be on hand at Ripley’s in June, July, and August to perform for the aquarium’s many guests. To help you make the most of your next vacation, Visit My Smokies has put together a guide to seeing the mermaids at Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg.
Creating the Mermaids at Ripley’s Aquarium
Mermaids are, of course, legendary creatures with the upper body of a woman and the tail of a fish. The concept of a mermaid appears in many cultures around the globe, including Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. When Christopher Columbus explored the Caribbean in 1493, he reported seeing “female forms” that “rose high out of the sea”. The search for mermaids continues to this day, with supposed sightings in Israel in 2009 and Zimbabwe in 2016.
At Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, talented employees bring these mythical creatures to life right before your eyes. Ripley’s recruits women who have raced on swim teams or women who have scuba diving experience for their mermaid shows. Some of the women who work as mermaids at Ripley’s also perform at the aquarium’s dive shows throughout the year.
To transform into a mermaid, the performers at Ripley’s wear realistic fish tails that look like something you would see in a big budget Hollywood movie. These 30-pound latex mermaid tails are difficult to move around in, so all of the women must be very strong swimmers. To see the mermaids at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in action, check out this video from WBIR:
Mermaid Shows and Meet and Greets
During Ripley’s mermaid shows, the performers dive into a 20-foot tank that is filled with fish. Sometimes, the mermaids even swim in tanks that house stingrays and small sharks! In each show, two beautiful mermaids show off some incredible undersea acrobatics as the aquarium’s guests look on. Instead of hiding small canisters of oxygen somewhere in the tank, the performers simply hold their breath until they can come up for air. Young children will truly believe that they are watching real live mermaids!
In addition to the amazing shows, Ripley’s Aquarium also features daily meet and greets with the mermaids. Guests will have the chance to take selfies with the mermaids, ask them questions, and maybe even get a high five. A photo with a mermaid is the perfect souvenir from your visit to the aquarium!
Schedule for the Mermaid Shows at Ripley’s Aquarium
Throughout the month of July, the mermaid shows will be held at noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m., and the meet and greets will be at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. The August schedule for seeing the mermaids at Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg has not been determined yet, but it will be posted on the Live Shows section of the Ripley’s website later in the summer.
Mermaids aren’t the only special attraction at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies this summer. Follow the link to learn about the Splash with the Stingrays Exhibit and Ripley’s Glass Bottom Boat Tours!