Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
Explore the Amazing Aquatic World Up-Close! Marvel at 12-foot sharks, giant sea turtle, thousands of exotic sea creatures & playful penguins swimming.
My husband and I took our 3 small sons (6,5,3) recently and overall we all really enjoyed it. There are a lot of interesting creatures to view but it wasn't as large as I expected from viewing the online site. Also there is a play gym that is fairly central on each level so if you have small children especially be prepared to spend most of your time at those and there is not a lot of seating near them to rest and keep watch while they play. I did like that the play area gyms only have one entrance and one exit. I wish there was one central location for the play area toward the end of the aquarium. Also don't waste your money on the glass bottom boat experience we looked at it but didn't feel it was a good value for the small area it was in. My only other negative comment would be in regards to the photographer , it was truly a terrible picture of our family and she could have offered to retake it. We would have bought it if the pic had been better. They had good prices at their snack stand especially for a place like this. I also did not enjoy the fact that you had to exit through the gift shop so parents be prepared to buy something. Don't dismay if you don't want to spend a lot there is a discounted area. The best part was the Penguin Play House, my kids loved getting to crawl out to the penguins. It was very cool. Also the Shark area is the most impressive in my opinion, very cool. Overall we had a fantastic time and definitely will be back. I recommend purchasing the Ultimate Fun Pass it is the best value you can do all the attractions as many times as you want for an entire year. Definitely worth it.
We absolutely love the Aquarium! Our only disappointment this time was that the penguins were sleeping. We didn't realize they had a bedtime with all the lights off. I wish there was a way to easily access the kid place structure from the end of the tour because I didn't like them to interrupt the tour of all the sea creatures with recess time and would rather save it for the end. My girls loved loved loved learning all about the animals and looking at each exhibit. :) The tunnel is the all time favorite. They also loved the jellyfish (and getting to touch them!!) and watching the diver feed the fish.
It was a fun adventure and great experience. Just a fair warning, it is quite expensive. ( so save so.e money if you plan on going) my 1 1/2 year old loved it too. She loved walking under the shark tank , and touching the jelly fish. The only complaint is that the adults kept getting in the way of the little ones being able to see and interact with the animals / fish. ( and not one staff member asked the to allow the little ones in)
Definitely out of all the aquariums I've been to this is my favorite. Adult tickets are about thirty five dollars a piece but they do offer a military discount. I got here and bought tickets and we spent hours here there is so much to do especially for kids. They even have glass bottom boat rides over the shark lagoon, a small playground area in the center for kids, an area to pet stingrays, jellyfish and feed the stingrays. They have an escalator type walkway built in once you go underneath the aquarium and into a tunnel where you can see the aquarium on all sides and above you. I go here usually every year and they are always adding to it. They have a penguin exhibit as well as a large gift shop with lots of souvenirs and they have two seperate areas where photos are taken that you can purchase after you tour the aquarium. We always have a lot of fun here and I highly recommend it.
This is Justin's wife speaking: I absolutely love aquariums, and I love this one!! The only aquarium I would rank as better is the Georgia aquarium simply because it's bigger. This one is great with many different fish and great opportunities to learn about the animals. They have great things to do for kids (or big kids like myself) such as petting horseshoe crabs, stingrays, and even moon jellies (which I have never seen before and was ecstatic about). You can also feed stingrays, interact with penguins, and there is a small play area for kids. Overall a great attraction!