After booking your Smoky Mountain cabin with Cabins for YOU, be sure to plan your visit to one of our Cabins for YOU partners* and TripAdvisor’s #1 aquarium in America—Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies! Located in the heart of downtown, this amazing aquarium has more fish species than there are residents in Gatlinburg!
Even if you’ve been here before, it’s time to plan your visit again because Ripley’s has added new exhibits just this year that will educate and entertain the entire family. Check them out below—along with a few other unique Ripley’s experiences you may not know about.
Pearl Harbor Exhibit
First, brand new to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies this year is the Pearl Harbor exhibit! If you’ve never had the chance to fly to Hawaii and see Pearl Harbor in person, this is a great tribute, and it’s right here in the Smoky Mountains! You can take your pictures with FDR, climb inside a model submarine, look through a telescope, and learn the truth about an event that forever changed America’s history in this fascinating, interactive gallery.
4-Story Play Structure
Along with the new Pearl Harbor exhibit, Ripley’s Aquarium has added a brand-new play structure! Four stories high, this giant indoor playground features climbing, sliding, and bridge-crossing fun. You’ll also find interactive and educational displays, giant sea creature skeletons overhead, and a model of an underwater vehicle that your kids can climb into as they pretend to be marine biologists exploring the deep blue sea!
If you need a break from the sun, a place to let your kids burn energy, or a place to encourage their imaginations, don’t miss the indoor play structure at Ripley’s Aquarium!
4 Things You Never Knew You Could Do at Ripley’s Aquarium
- Paint with Penguins
- Pop the Question
- Sleep with Sharks
- Go to Camp
Maybe you knew about the Penguin Encounter exhibit at Ripley’s—the one where you can pet a live penguin and take a souvenir photo. But did you know the aquarium also offers a Penguin Painting experience? Not only will you get to see these adorable creatures waddle around the room, but they’ll waddle across your 8×10 page, creating a one-of-a-kind art piece that you get to take home!
These colorful footprint portraits made by the penguins themselves can decorate your child’s room and forever remind you of the fond family memories you made in the Smokies. The Penguin Paintings experience costs $75 per person; you can reserve yours today by visiting the aquarium’s website or calling 888-240-1358.
She’s worth a gorgeous ring, right? Well, she’s also worth a memorable way of popping the question—like planning for your big moment to happen while you’re visiting Ripley’s Aquarium! The staff at Ripley’s will actually help take care of the experience for you. After one of their scheduled dive shows, they’ll reveal a proposal sign in the water for everyone to see—how cool is that?
Afterward, you’ll take home the proposal sign, a souvenir picture of your big moment, and a memorable gift from Ripley’s. And just so you know, you can also plan your big day at Ripley’s Aquarium! That’s right—they offer complete banquet and catering services for weddings and will help plan every stage from the rehearsal dinner to the reception. For more information on menus, pricing, and reservations, or to set up your Ripley’s proposal, call 888-240-1358.
Have you ever wondered if sharks sleep? At Ripley’s Aquarium, you can find out first-hand by spending the night below their tank! This unique Ripley’s experience is offered to small groups and families all throughout the year (upon availability). The minimum number for the group rate is 12 children, and family programs require at least 10 total participants in order to be held.
What else will you do besides sleep inside the aquarium for this shark-tastic adventure? Play games, watch a dive show, eat pizza, play a scavenger hunt, watch a creature feature, and receive a certificate for your participation at the end!
Along with their Sleep with the Sharks program, Ripely’s offers a PJ Party with the Penguins experience! For more information about either program, please visit the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies website and fill out an information request card.
Tell your kids the good news—they don’t have to swat flies and sweat in the blazing sun to experience summer camp! Ripley’s Aquarium actually offers 3 different camp experiences for kids—the Jr. Aquarist Camp, Kids Night Out, and SSI: Shark Scene Investigator.
If your kids are interested in marine science and conservation, the Jr. Aquarist Camp is definitely the right choice for them. For parents looking for a romantic night out in the Smokies, the Kids Night Out is the right choice for you! And for kids who have a natural love for mysteries, let them become a detective for the day with SSI: Shark Scene Investigator. Check out the Ripley’s website for more information about dates, age restrictions, and costs for each camp, and start planning your family’s summer getaway to the Smokies in 2017!
*Cabins for YOU partners offer special discounts to our guests. Ask our reservation specialists for more information!