Traveling with Kids: Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN

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As a mama to a little girl who loves sea creatures, we have visited our fair share of aquariums.  They are always a fun time and we always enjoy watching Lily Bean light up with excitement as she explores tank after tank of fish folk.  As I gathered info and planned for our road trip last month, I got a TON of recommendations to check out Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN. The feedback was so overwhelmingly positive, I decided to add it to our trip itinerary.

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From our first few steps inside this aquarium, something was very obvious: this was a learning environment.  Above and beyond the usual facts and informational displays about ocean life, this place has all sorts of behind-the-scenes exhibits.  For example, you could look down into the huge area that holds the filtration tanks and basically see the process that occurs for all of the water in the building to be cleansed.

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We had a great time exploring!

Lily Bean found these gigantic fish, who seriously appeared to be singing to her.  She responded by singing a couple choruses of Baby by Justin Bieber to them.  :)

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I just loved the jelly fish and the sea horses- they were fascinating to watch.

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We LOVED the children’s interactive area.  From a hands-on horseshoe crab display to aquariums that you could pop your head “inside” of, this portion of the building was so fun for the three of us to check out!

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One of the most impressive areas of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies was the glass tunnel.  A moving sidewalk glides you underneath the wonders of the ocean.  Sharks glare down at you and other fish zip by as you just take it all in.  This was one of my very favorite parts!

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A new addition to the aquarium is the Penguin Playhouse.  Oh!  How CUTE they are!  I’m a sucker for penguins- they just always make me smile.  They seem so carefree and silly.  Penguin Playhouse had an indoor and outdoor area for the penguins to swim and lounge.  We had a great time watching them!

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Wow!

We seemed to visit the aquarium at the perfect time… it was a weekday evening and the crowds were non-existent.  We had plenty of time to explore, discover and enjoy without feeling rushed or crowded.

I have to say, I would recommend Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies to anyone who happens to visit or stop through Gatlinburg, TN.  Any age would be the perfect age to visit.  Tickets start at $4.99 (ages 2-5) to $21.99 (adults) and guess what?  There are coupons for this attraction ALL OVER the place.  Just keep your eyes peeled for coupons in the different travel magazines, brochures, etc.  The aquarium also has a special combo deal with The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, TN which will save you money on admission to both.

Check out the website for Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies here.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN provided us with passes to check out the museum.  All opinions are 100% ours.

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