Visit Ripley's Aquarium of The Smokies with Us! 📍🦈
Updated: Aug 18
Have you ever been to Gatlinburg, TN?!
If not it's definitely a must visit with some of the best attractions. From where we live it's about 7.5 hours & our weekend in Downtown Gatlinburg with the boys was an absolute blast! Something I definitely won't forget & memories that will last a lifetime. I mentioned in my Instagram Post how I hadn't been back in about 15 years and I'm not kidding the nostalgia was real. Different being the adult this time and I'm so proud of the boys for toughing it out. We spent majority of the time walking around & with 2 small kids you all know how that could be 🤪 The first full day we had we spent exploring Ripley's Aquarium of The Smokies which is by far the best Aquarium I've been to. #Partner Everything from parking, picking up our tickets, entering the establishment & walking through was a breeze .
Before we dive into everything I wanted to point out that all around downtown there were signs that told you how many Aquarium Garage Spaces were available. I actually LOVED this because it was so convenient but what was even better was their parking was only $8.00 ! They had signs that made it very easy to find the elevator that took you directly down to the backside of the Aquarium & all the way to the Entrance. (There is also a Trolley that runs through downtown & will pick you up if you don't end up parking at the garage)
The parking deck has an amazing view of Downtown Gatlinburg!
In the video below you will see how easy it is to grab your parking ticket & enter the garage.
Upon entering the Aquarium we were greeted with the friendliest staff making sure we were good to go and wishing us a great time! After the boys had a mini freak out about the HUGE play area we made our way through the Tropical Rainforest then into the Coral Reef . With Photo Stations throughout the Aquarium you are able to get photos done as a family at the Beginning & after Shark Lagoon to commemorate your time visiting! Honestly reminded me of my childhood and to this day I still have those type of photos my family took growing up during our travels. There was so much to look at but everyone was moving fairly quickly throughout so we were able to see everything! [social distancing of course & they had sanitizer stations all throughout as well .
Play Area For Kids⬇
This was honestly the boys favorite part of our visit to Ripley's Aquarium of The Smokies. When you enter Shark Lagoon its a big open space with an overview of the main tank. They offer different attraction add-ons inside Ripley's such as The Glass Bottom Boat Pirate Adventure which is so neat! The bottom of the boat is you guessed it, Glass which gives you an awesome view of the tank below with many different species swimming around.
*other add-ons like the Penguin Playhouse ,Sleeping With The Sharks etc
As we entered the Shark Tunnel you could either walk through or ride the floor elevator which is what we did. It was nice to be able to enjoy the ride all while seeing different types of Fish ,Corals & of course the Sharks! They had plaques with information on each species in the tank which made it such a great learning experience for the boys too. They had a ton of questions & thanks those I was able to answer most of them. lol
After we were done checking out the Shark Tunnel we stopped by the Concessions area to grab some fuel before heading to see the Penguins. They have a nice seating area with a view of the Tank that you are able to sit and enjoy your refreshments before continuing your exploring through the Aquarium. The boys were so excited for all of the interactive stations they had throughout the Aquarium especially the one where they could Create their own Jelly Fish! Jude knew how to work the station before I could even read the Directions on how to use it. lol I've added a little video of THE cutest Jelly in the whole Aquarium.
So Many Spots The Kids Could Crawl Into & Get up close with the Sea Creatures⬇🐠🐙
As soon as we were done exploring we exited through the gift shop and one thing I always do is make sure to find a Pressed Penny Machine. It's something I have done since I was a kid and being able to collect them to pass along to the boys one day from all of mine/our adventures is something so special to me! I'm sure most of you know what these are but if not the machine presses a penny with the design you choose and the boys absolutely loved getting to turn the crank. We went back to our Hotel to get about 30 minutes of rest mostly because we had been going all day but still had Ripley's Believe It or Not to visit! Saving that for a whole other Blog Post but I hope you enjoyed a little look into our Aquarium adventure. :)
Thanks for following along!