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5 Fun Things to Do at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies exterior at night
February 2, 2024

Are you looking for fun things to do in the Smokies? One of the most beloved attractions in Gatlinburg is Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies! This must-see attraction has all sorts of cool things to see and do, providing hours of educational fun for guests of all ages. Keep reading to learn more about five of the exciting activities you’ll enjoy at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies:

1. Glide Through Shark Lagoon

Take a dive under the sea without getting wet! The underwater tunnel in Shark Lagoon at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies lets you come face to face with marine life from the Atlantic and Caribbean reefs, including sharks, stingrays, sawfish, sea turtles, eels, and other magnificent sea creatures. The 340-foot moving glidepath takes you on a journey along the ocean floor so you can see these creatures from all angles, including swimming alongside you, resting on the sandy floor, and crossing overhead.

2. Set Sail on the Glass Bottom Boat Adventure

sand shark and fish swimming at Ripley's Aquarium

One of the most unique experiences at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is the Glass Bottom Boat Adventure! Climb aboard this boat and sail across Shark Lagoon, where you can see the 12-foot sharks and other sea creatures swimming below you. All that separates you from them is three inches of glass beneath your feet! Your voyage is led by the Adventure Crew, who will provide information about the animals at the aquarium and what it takes to maintain the state-of-the-art facilities.

3. Interact with Sea Creatures

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies offers plenty of opportunities for you to interact with some of your favorite sea creatures! In the shallow lagoon of Touch A Ray Bay, you can reach out and touch rays as they glide through the water. The aquarium’s newest interactive exhibit is Touch Jellies, where you can interact with moon jellies and touch their soft, translucent bells. If you want to interact with the aquarium’s most adorable creatures, book a Penguin Encounter so you can pet and take a picture with a playful penguin!

4. Visit Penguin Playhouse

penguin swimming in enclosure

A highlight of any trip to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a visit to one of the world’s best penguin exhibits, Penguin Playhouse! This exhibit includes both an indoor and outdoor habitat where the penguins swim, splash, eat, and play. Crawl through the tunnels and look through the pop-ups to get nose-to-beak with these amazing creatures! Take photos and learn more about these fascinating flightless birds as you watch them glide through the water and hang out on their private beach.

5. Watch a Live Show

You won’t want to miss the educational and entertaining live shows at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies! Learn more about the playful penguins and the challenges they face in today’s environment from the keepers as they feed them. Watch as a trained diver interacts with and feeds colorful fish at the Coral Reef Dive feeding show. Find out more about sharks and stingrays as a diver feeds rays by hand at the Ray Bay Dive show. You may even get the chance to see a live mermaid swimming through one of the aquarium’s exhibits!

More Ripley’s Attractions in Gatlinburg

These are just a few of the many fun things to see and do at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. For more excitement during your vacation, make sure you check out the other awesome Ripley’s attractions in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge! Whether you’re interested in learning odd facts, testing your navigation skills, or challenging your family to some friendly competition, there’s plenty of fun to be had at these unique and exciting attractions!

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