Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Voted Best Aquarium in the Nation

The outside of the Gatlinburg aquarium.
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Our Gatlinburg aquarium has been voted the best aquarium in the nation! Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies was nominated in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice for Best Aquarium in North America. Read on to learn more about recognition and what makes Ripley’s Aquarium special.

Best Aquarium in the Nation

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has won the title for the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice 2019! In 2018, the Gatlinburg aquarium came in second place for best aquarium in North America, and in 2017 it came in the top spot for best U.S. aquarium. This year, Ripley’s has taken the #1 Best U.S. Aquarium title once again. The award is voted on by the public, making it that much more special of a win!

What Makes Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Special

Ripley's Aquarium at nightRipley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is home to more than 10,000 aquatic animals! This aquarium not only allows visitors to see more than 350 species of animals, but it offers the opportunity to interact with them as well. Through a variety of unique experiences, you can get up-close-and-personal with the sea life. This Gatlinburg attraction is a top spot for everyone to visit during vacation, from families with children to couples. Check out some of the best things to do at Ripley’s Aquarium:

Glass Bottom Boat Adventure

One of the most popular things to do at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is the Glass Bottom Boat Adventure. During this unique experience, you’ll venture out into the heart of Shark Lagoon, just 3 inches of glass separating you from the 12-foot sharks that live there! This adventure gives you the opportunity to see the aquatic animals up close as they swim below you.

Visit the Penguin Playhouse

Penguin Playhouse at Ripley's Aquarium in GatlinburgWhen you visit, be sure to spend some time visiting the Penguin Playhouse. In the indoor and outdoor penguin habitat, you’ll get to crawl through tunnels and see the penguins from above and below the water! For a unique experience, try the Penguin Encounter. The encounter gives you the opportunity to pet a penguin and even take a souvenir photo with one!

Touch-A-Ray Bay

When you visit Touch-A-Ray Bay, you can interact one-on-one with a ray! The area has a shallow lagoon where guests can reach out and touch the rays as they glide by. The aquarium keeps educators on hand to assure the safety of both children and rays and answer any questions you have about the rays.

Shark Lagoon

woman with sharks in aquariumShark Lagoon is home to a variety of your favorite sea creatures! From 12-foot sharks to a green sea turtle, you can see it all in Shark Lagoon. You’ll travel on a moving 340-foot long glidepath as you wind your way through an underwater tunnel. The tunnel allows you to come face-to-face with snappers, tarpons, grunts, stingrays, and more.

Discovery Center

The Discovery Center is another part that makes Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies special. It is full of hands-on fun. With the Touch Jellies, exhibit, you’ll be able to interact with Moon Jellies. You can also touch live horseshoe crabs — one of the strangest creatures in our aquarium. The Discovery Center also offers the opportunity to solve puzzles and learn about nature by experiencing it first hand.

Get Your Tickets to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Start planning your trip to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies to experience the best aquarium in the nation for yourself. Get your Gatlinburg aquarium tickets through Visit My Smokies and save $2 on admission!

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