8 Tips and Tricks for Visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg
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Do you want to visit the best aquarium in the country? Of course you do! When you come to Gatlinburg, a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a must. We want to make sure you have a great time exploring the aquarium, so we’ve put together some top tips to help you out! Here are some tips and tricks for visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies:

1. Plan to spend at least a few hours at the aquarium.

shark in ripley's aquariumWhen you visit the Gatlinburg aquarium, you’re going to want to give yourself enough time to enjoy everything that the attraction has to offer. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is home to more than 10,000 sea creatures. We recommend spending at least a few hours at the aquarium. Take time not just to look at the animals, but to learn about them and interact with them too! You’ll definitely get your money’s worth if you spend a whole morning or afternoon in the aquarium.

2. Visit during the off season for fewer crowds.

Being the best aquarium in the country, Ripley’s Aquarium sees a lot of visitors throughout the year. It gets especially busy during the summer and fall when the Smoky Mountain area hits its busy seasons. If you want to avoid some of the crowds, try planning a visit to the aquarium during the off season. Gatlinburg is a popular destination all year long, but it tends to be less busy in the months of January, February, and March.

3. Try one of the unique experiences.

Penguin Playhouse at Ripley's Aquarium in GatlinburgPart of what makes the Gatlinburg aquarium so great is that you can see the aquatic animals AND interact with them! There are a number of unique experiences that put guests up-close-and-personal with the animals. You can waddle with penguins, swim with stingrays, and even have a sleepover with the sharks! One of the most popular unique experiences is the Glass Bottom Boat Adventure, which takes visitors out into the heart of Shark Lagoon in a glass bottom boat. Just 3 inches of glass are separating you from the 12 foot sharks and other animals that call the lagoon home! Other unique experiences include feeding a sea turtle, touching a jellyfish, and getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium.

4. Consider an annual pass if you plan to visit more than once.

Chances are once you visit the aquarium, you’re going to want to keep coming back again and again. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies offers a great deal for guests who plan on visiting more than once. Their annual pass is less than the price of two tickets to the aquarium, and allows you to visit the aquarium as many times as you want in a 12-month period! Benefits of the annual pass also include 15% off merchandise and food at all Ripley’s attractions in Tennessee, $3 off all Ripley’s attractions in Tennessee and Myrtle Beach, $5 off a one-day admission ticket to Dollywood, and so much more. You can also choose to get Ripley’s Annual Ultimate Fun Pass, which includes unlimited admission to all Ripley’s attractions in Tennessee for 12 months, and plenty of other great benefits too!

5. See one of the live shows.

diver in coral reefFor some more exciting entertainment, see one of the live shows when you visit the aquarium! The aquarium puts on a number of dive shows and other fun shows for guests to enjoy. Watch divers interact with sharks and other exotic sea creatures in the Shark Lagoon Dive, or discover the world of coral reefs in the Coral Reef Dive. You can also watch penguins get fed, learn about marine science, learn fun penguin facts while observing them in their natural habitat, and watch divers hand-feed stingrays.

6. Save money with combo passes.

If you want to visit more than one Ripley’s attraction in Gatlinburg, you can save money by purchasing a combo pass! Ripley’s offers combo passes that can help you save up to $72 per adult. The combo passes vary from an aquarium ticket plus a ticket to 2 other attractions, all the way up to an aquarium ticket plus a ticket to 7 other attractions!

7. Stop by the gift shop before you leave.

stuffed animal sea turtleYou’re going to want a souvenir to remind you of what a great time you had at the aquarium, and the gift shop is the perfect place to go. Before leaving, take some time to browse the Cargo Hold Gift Shop. It has a unique collection of gifts from around the world.

8. Get your Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies tickets through Visit My Smokies!

Our last tip for visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is to purchase your tickets through us at Visit My Smokies. When you get your tickets through us, you’ll save money on admission and receive free changes and cancellations up to a certain date.

Buy your Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies tickets today and get ready for an exciting trip to Gatlinburg!


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