On our recent trip up to the Smoky Mountains, and specifically, the Pigeon-Forge/Gatlinburg area, we were treated to a visit to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
Now, it is important to keep in mind that I live in Chattanooga, home of the Tennessee Aquarium, which is one of the best in the nation. So I guess you could say I’m a bit of an aquarium snob. It takes a lot to impress me.
But my friends, not only was I impressed, but I was also totally blown away. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is highly entertaining, absolutely breath-taking, and well worth the trip to get to see it. And I plan to show you lots of it right now! Check it out!
What a beautiful waterfall, and a fun “tank” for those fish! Love the creative approach to showcasing an aquatic environment.
This is stingray bay, which is beautiful in its own right. But it is also interactive! You can touch the rays, which is really fun!
The underwater tunnel is perhaps the crown jewel of this aquarium. It has a slow-moving runway you can stand on, or you walk through it on your own. It is a nice long “ride” and it is REALLY cool how close you are to the sharks!
And then we have the penguin exhibit. You get to crawl through a transparent tunnel to see the birds from all different angles (swimming next to you, on the rocks above you, or in certain spots, right beside you!). This was one of the most delightful parts of the aquarium for us, and it was a major kid magnet! The penguins were very curious about all those miniature humans that were crawling through those tunnels. It was pretty much as cute as one would imagine kids + penguins hanging out would be!
Also, you can buy penguin-made art! At this point in the visit, I pretty much exploded with glee. Cutest. Idea. Ever!!!