5 Unique Experiences That You Need To Try At Ripley’s Aquarium Of The Smokies


One of the country’s best aquariums is Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. It is easy to see why this is the case. When you go for a visit, you will have the chance to see thousands of different aquatic animals, You will be able to interact with some of them as well. There are a number of different unique experiences offered by the Gatlinburg aquariums that let you enjoy the animals up close. We have compiled a list of 5 unique experiences that you need to try out at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

1.Glass Bottom Boat Adventures

The Shark Lagoon can be explored in an entirely new way when you go on a Glass Bottom Boat Adventure. You will be taking a glass-bottom boat and venturing into the middle of the Shark Lagoon while being separated from the lagoon’s 12-foot sharks by only 3 inches of glass. Shark Lagoon houses over 8,500 aquatic animals. You will be able to see them from very close by as they are swimming under you. On your adventure, you will be learning all about the animals that live at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and all that goes into maintaining the facility.

2.The Splash with Stingrays Adventure

If you would like to interact with the animals more, try going on the Splash with Stingrays adventure. You will be transported to Touch-A-Ray Bay on this unique journey, where you can get into the water and splash with the stingrays. The adventure is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. A souvenir t-shirt and behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium are included. Even if splashing with the stingrays doesn’t appeal to you, it is still possible to get close to them and touch them in the tank’s shallow end.

3.Penguin Encounter

One of the aquarium’s most popular experiences is the Penguin Encounter. It allows you to get up close and personal with playful penguins within their outdoor/indoor habitat. An aquarium staff member will teach you all you need to know about the penguins, and you will get to take a souvenir photo with one of the penguins and pet hem. The Penguin Painting Experience can be added where you get to see an African penguin placing its distinctive footprints on a piece of canvas. You get to take the painting home with you.


The Ripley’s Aquarium sleepovers are ideal for both families and groups visiting the Smoky Mountain area. It is available all year long and lets you experience spending the night inside an aquarium. There is the Sleep with the Sharks experience that includes a late-night activity, scavenger hunt, and a dive show. A PJ Party can also be enjoyed with the Penguins which involves spending the night in the Penguin Playhouse, a late-night activity, scavenger hunt, and a dive show.

5.Turtle Time

Is feeding a sea turtle something you have always wanted to do? Well, now you have the chance to do it! Turtle Time allows lets visitors feed a Sea Turtle named Sally and get a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium. Whenever possible, you can feed lettuce to Sally, tour the aquarium’s husbandry department, and get a fascinating behind-the-scenes perspective.

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