How Much Does It Cost To Visit The Ripley’s Aquarium In Gatlinburg?




silhouette of woman standing near aquarium


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Have you ever wondered how much it would cost to visit the Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg? Well, you’re in luck! In this article, we’ll dive into the details of the admission prices and explore the different ticket options available. Whether you’re planning a trip with your friends or taking your family for a fun day out, we’ll give you all the information you need to make the most of your visit.

Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg

Admission prices to the Ripley’s Aquarium can vary depending on the time of year and the type of ticket you choose. The general admission ticket for adults is priced at $32.99, while children aged 6 to 11 can enter for $18.99. If you’re bringing along a toddler aged 2 to 5, their ticket would cost $9.99. It’s worth noting that children under 2 years old get free admission, which is a bonus for families with little ones! However, these prices are for the regular daytime admission. If you want a unique experience, you can also opt for the special events and programs offered at the aquarium, such as the Sleep with the Sharks program or the Penguin Encounter, which have separate pricing. Curious to know more about these options? Keep reading, and we’ll fill you in!

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Ticket Prices To Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg

General Admission

When planning a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg, one of the first things you’ll want to know is how much it will cost. The general admission ticket prices vary depending on age. For adults (ages 12 and up), the cost is $29.99. Children (ages 6 to 11) can get in for $14.99, while children 5 and under can enter free of charge.

Children’s Admission

If you’re bringing children along, it’s important to note that there are age restrictions for the different exhibits and experiences. Some exhibits, such as the Shark Lagoon and the Penguin Encounter, have a minimum age requirement of 6 years old. Make sure to check the age restrictions beforehand to ensure your children can fully enjoy their visit.

Discounts and Special Offers

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies also offers various discounts and special offers throughout the year. For example, they have special rates for seniors, military personnel, and AAA members. Keep an eye on their website or social media pages for any current promotions or deals that may be available during your visit.

Additional Experiences

Behind the Scenes Tour

If you’re interested in getting a closer look at what happens behind the scenes at the aquarium, you can opt for the Behind the Scenes Tour. This guided tour allows you to explore areas not typically accessible to regular visitors and learn more about the day-to-day operations of the aquarium. The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and costs $19.99 per person.

Sleepovers and Camps

For a truly unique experience, Ripley’s Aquarium offers sleepovers and camps. Sleepovers are available for groups of 30 or more, and include after-hours access to the exhibits, guided tours, games, and even a movie screening. Camps, on the other hand, are day-long programs that provide hands-on learning opportunities for children. They can participate in activities such as dissecting a squid or exploring touch tanks. Prices for sleepovers and camps vary, so it’s best to contact the aquarium directly for more information.

VIP Experiences

If you want to take your visit to the next level, consider splurging on a VIP Experience. This includes a private tour with a knowledgeable guide, expedited entry into the aquarium, and the opportunity to interact with some of the animals. Pricing for the VIP Experiences can vary depending on the specific package you choose, so be sure to inquire about the options available.

Food and Drink

On-Site Dining Options

After exploring all the exhibits, you’re bound to work up an appetite. Luckily, Ripley’s Aquarium has several on-site dining options to choose from. From casual cafes to full-service restaurants, there’s something for everyone’s taste. Enjoy a quick bite at the Feeding Frenzy Food Court or indulge in a delicious meal at the River Road Tavern. Prices for food and drink vary depending on the specific eatery you choose.

Picnic Areas

If you prefer to bring your own food, there are picnic areas available outside the aquarium where you can enjoy a meal amidst the beautiful surroundings of Gatlinburg. Pack a picnic and take a break from the excitement of the exhibits while enjoying the fresh air and scenic views. Just remember to clean up after yourself and dispose of any trash properly.

Interactive Exhibits and Shows

Touch Tanks

One of the highlights of Ripley’s Aquarium is the opportunity to touch various sea creatures at the touch tanks. From rays to horseshoe crabs, you can get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures. The touch tanks offer a unique hands-on experience that both children and adults will enjoy. Make sure to follow the guidelines provided by the aquarium staff to ensure the safety and well-being of the animals.

Shark Lagoon

Dive into the world of sharks at the Shark Lagoon exhibit. This exhibit features a walkthrough tunnel where you can observe these majestic creatures swimming above and around you. It’s a thrilling experience that allows you to see sharks up-close and learn more about their behavior and habitat. Remember to respect the aquarium’s rules and guidelines to ensure the safety of both visitors and animals.

Penguin Encounter

For penguin enthusiasts, the Penguin Encounter is a must-see. This exhibit allows you to get a firsthand look at these adorable creatures as they swim, waddle, and interact with each other. You can even watch the penguins being fed and learn more about their unique characteristics and conservation efforts. Don’t forget to snap a few pictures of these charming birds!

Mermaid Shows

If you’re looking for a bit of magic and fantasy during your visit, be sure to catch one of the Mermaid Shows. Watch as the graceful mermaids dive and perform underwater acrobatics in a specially designed tank. The shows are entertaining for all ages and add an extra touch of wonder to your Ripley’s Aquarium experience. Check the showtimes beforehand to plan your visit accordingly.

Educational Programs

School Field Trips

Ripley’s Aquarium offers educational programs for school field trips. These programs are designed to complement the school curriculum and provide students with a hands-on learning experience. Students can participate in guided tours, interactive presentations, and even touch and interact with some of the animals. The educational programs can be tailored to different grade levels and topics, so they are suitable for students of all ages.

Homeschool Programs

For homeschooling families, Ripley’s Aquarium offers specialized programs tailored to their needs. These programs provide an opportunity for homeschooling students to engage in interactive learning, explore the aquarium exhibits, and participate in educational workshops. The programs cover various topics such as marine biology, conservation, and animal behavior, and are led by knowledgeable educators.

Teacher Resources

Ripley’s Aquarium also provides resources for teachers to enhance their students’ learning experience before and after their visit. Teachers can access educational materials, lesson plans, and activity sheets on the aquarium’s website. These resources can be used to supplement classroom learning and help students get the most out of their visit to the aquarium.


Wheelchair Accessibility

Ripley’s Aquarium is committed to ensuring that all visitors have equal access to their exhibits and experiences. The aquarium is wheelchair accessible, with ramps and elevators available for easy navigation. Wheelchairs are also available for rent at the information desk, free of charge. If you have any specific accessibility needs or require assistance during your visit, feel free to reach out to the aquarium staff for assistance.

Assistive Listening Devices

For visitors who are hard of hearing, Ripley’s Aquarium provides assistive listening devices. These devices amplify the sound of presentations and shows, making it easier to hear and understand the information being shared. Simply ask the staff at the information desk for an assistive listening device, and they will be happy to provide one for you.

Service Animals

Service animals are welcome at Ripley’s Aquarium. If you have a service animal, make sure to have them properly harnessed or leashed during your visit. It’s also important to note that some exhibits may have specific restrictions for service animals, so it’s a good idea to check with the aquarium staff beforehand to ensure a smooth visit.

Parking and Transportation

On-Site Parking

Ripley’s Aquarium provides convenient on-site parking for visitors. The parking lot is spacious and offers easy access to the aquarium entrance. However, during peak tourist seasons, the parking lot can fill up quickly, so it’s advisable to arrive early to secure a spot. Parking rates may vary depending on the duration of your visit, so make sure to check the posted rates upon arrival.

Public Transportation

If you prefer to use public transportation, Gatlinburg offers several options to reach Ripley’s Aquarium. The Gatlinburg Trolley system provides transportation throughout the city, including a stop near the aquarium. The trolley is a convenient and affordable way to travel around Gatlinburg, and the stop is just a short walk away from the aquarium.

Shuttle Services

Some hotels and resorts in Gatlinburg offer shuttle services to Ripley’s Aquarium for their guests. If you’re staying at one of these accommodations, it’s worth inquiring about shuttle availability and schedules. This can save you the hassle of finding parking and allow you to conveniently reach the aquarium.

Gift Shop


No visit to Ripley’s Aquarium is complete without a stop at the gift shop. The gift shop offers a wide range of souvenirs, including t-shirts, magnets, plush toys, and more. Take home a memento of your visit and relive the memorable experience for years to come. The prices of souvenirs vary depending on the item and its size or complexity.

Aquarium Memorabilia

If you’re a true aquarium enthusiast, you may be interested in collecting Ripley’s Aquarium memorabilia. The gift shop offers a selection of unique items that showcase the beauty and wonder of marine life. From artwork and sculptures to collectible figurines, there’s something to suit every taste and preference.

Online Shopping

If you’re unable to visit the gift shop in person or want to browse their offerings from the comfort of your own home, Ripley’s Aquarium also offers online shopping. Simply visit their website and explore the wide range of products available. Online shopping allows you to conveniently purchase your desired souvenirs and have them delivered right to your doorstep.

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Tips for Visiting

Best Time to Visit

To make the most of your visit to Ripley’s Aquarium, it’s advisable to plan your trip during non-peak hours and seasons. Weekdays and early mornings are generally less crowded, allowing you to explore the exhibits at a more relaxed pace. Avoiding holidays and school breaks can also help minimize crowds and ensure a better overall experience.

Suggested Itinerary

To ensure you don’t miss any of the highlights, it’s a good idea to plan your visit in advance. Start with the scheduled shows, such as the Mermaid Shows, and plan your day around those times. Make sure to allocate enough time for each exhibit and interactive experience to fully enjoy and appreciate all that Ripley’s Aquarium has to offer.

What to Bring

When visiting Ripley’s Aquarium, there are a few essential items to bring along. Comfortable shoes are a must, as you’ll be doing a fair amount of walking. A camera or smartphone to capture the memorable moments is also highly recommended. Lastly, don’t forget your curiosity and sense of wonder, as that’s what will truly make your visit to the aquarium unforgettable.


A visit to Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg is an experience that combines education, entertainment, and awe-inspiring encounters with marine life. While ticket prices vary depending on age, there are additional experiences, such as Behind the Scenes Tours, sleepovers, and VIP Experiences, that offer a unique and unforgettable visit. With a variety of interactive exhibits, educational programs, and shows, Ripley’s Aquarium provides a fun and enriching environment for visitors of all ages. So, plan your visit, pack your curiosity, and get ready to dive into the wonders of the aquatic world at Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg.

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