Summer is upon us so more than likely the kids are home so you are probably planning a summer road trip. You want a destination that will offer something for the entire family, not just the kids such as Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Visiting an aquarium is great for children and adults because it offers activities for all. One usually cannot assume that taking an elementary-age child on an all-day water-skiing excursion is a good idea since they usually get tired quickly. Also some amusement parks for children do not offer anything for adults. There might be some exceptions, but for the most part these attractions will not work all day for both. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a great place to visit that will satisfy young and old and for some reason I’m always amazed by the site of the Spider Crab.
This “Aquaruim in the Mountains” offers animals of all types to see and provides fascinating experiences such as being able to pet a sting ray and hold a horse-shoe crab. The displays are gorgeous and well-kept and if bringing children you can be sure they will be amused by such things as the not to be missed Sting Ray Bay which is a lengthy walk- thru tunnel in which unique looking fish swim above your head, including large sharks which is unusual to see (be sure to look for the plaque attached to the tunnel showing the consequences of shark attacks). As an adult, this is something that definitely amazed me being able to see the fish, sharks, stingrays and even seeing sawfish also.
Just for the children there is a huge discovery center which features a colorful glass fish tank in which the kiddies can poke their heads inside; there are also interactive displays to learn about animals. You will be mesmerized when viewing the under-water tunnel called Shark Lagoon which makes you feel like you are scuba diving in the ocean yourself. This is a breathtaking environment in which you come nearly head-on with delightful green sea turtles, sawfish, tarpons and sharks! The aquarium also provides shows all day long where you can watch divers interact with various animals of the sea, watch penguins get fed and more.
One of my favorite animals that I’m always amazed by is the penguins because there’s just something about them and they seem really cool. During our time there we were treated to see a couple of penguins walking through the Aquarium with a couple of the employees like they were kids, which we definitely got a kick out of. They also have their own area in the Aquarium along with a nursery where they’re born also. At the end of the tour you can purchase your pictures you’ve taken throughout the tour and when you enter the gift shop you’ll find shirts that have been stepped on by actual penguins.
It’s always fun when you can combine your vacation with a little bit of learning like with Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Be sure to visit their official website where you can purchase tickets also. It is a great way to spend the day as it is clean and organized with a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Below are a couple of videos I shot while inside of the aquarium, but words, pictures or videos can’t tell ho this is such a great attractions for anyone.
Inside the Shark Tunnel