Saturday, December 16, 2023

Dive into Delight: Our Unforgettable Day at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

Our trip to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg was already packed with excitement, but Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies turned out to be the unexpected star! I confess, I doubted the aquarium's appeal initially – being more of a "zoo" person – but boy, was I in for a delightful surprise.

The Spectacular Start: A Building Beyond Expectations
First things first, the aquarium's building itself is a marvel, even in the daytime. It's not just about the glow; it's a genuinely cool place that sets the stage for an extraordinary experience. It's an amazing place all around, and perfect for getting some pictures outside!

Friendly Faces and Hassle-Free Entry
Picking up our media tickets at the friendly ticket desk was a refreshing start. The warm customer service was a welcome change, setting a positive tone for the entire visit. Make sure to check out the multi attraction discount if you are planning on visiting any of the other great Ripley's attractions in town! (We highly recommend that you do!)

Aquatic Extravaganza: A Surprisingly Extended Stay
Expecting a quick visit, we ended up spending an incredible four and a half hours exploring the spacious, well-lit exhibits. I NEVER intended to spend this much time here, but we made our rounds at a slow pace, letting our boys take the lead. The late January visit offered the rare luxury of almost having the entire place to ourselves! I am sure that this place gets crazy busy during the summer months and beyond, but visiting in the off season was a huge plus!

Jellyfish Joy: A Family Favorite
The jellyfish stole the show, especially for my boys, who were beyond amazed. Imagine their delight, having only known jellyfish from SpongeBob! It was a laughter-filled, mesmerizing experience. I couldn't believe that they stood at the jellyfish exhibit for over fifteen minutes, but I was totally entranced too!

Beyond Expectations: Aquarium Accolades and Diversity
Doubting TripAdvisor's rave reviews, I was proven utterly wrong. With over 10,000 sea creatures and 350+ species, the aquarium lived up to every award and word of praise. This aquarium truly does deserve all of the awards and great reviews that it has received!

Tunnel Thrills: Sharks, Turtles, and Moving Floors
A personal favorite – the tunnel with its glass top and moving floor. Watching sharks and turtles swim overhead was genuinely amazing. You could stroll or step off for a closer look – flexibility at its finest.

Shark Shenanigans and Giant Crab Fun
The giant crabs and a shark with a questionable agenda provided unexpected excitement. Picture a shark following us back and forth – a hilarious, slightly unnerving encounter, but one we will not ever forget!

Penguin Paradise: An Hour of Pure Joy
Who can resist penguins? An hour spent exploring the penguin exhibit was sheer joy. And don't forget to grab some treasures from the gift shop on your way out! The penguins were definitely a highlight of the visit, and the exhibits are so interactive and fun!

I must admit, I underestimated this aquarium. If you haven't been, trust me, you need to go NOW! January's odd weather meant no crowds, making our visit even more special. Make sure to ask for a homeschool discount if you are a homeschooling family. The discounts for homeschoolers are super great at not only this, but other Ripley's attractions as well!

Full transparency – I received complimentary tickets for this attraction in exchange for an honest review. But as always, the opinions expressed here are entirely my own!

1 comment:

  1. My family loves the aquarium. I admit on our first visit, I wasn't really familiar with the aquarium and didn't expect much. My family loved it because of the variety of creatures. We were surprised to see so much variety.


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