Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
An aquarium in Gatlinburg,
officially the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, is the newest
attraction to open in the Great Smoky Mountain community. The
Gatlinburg aquarium was built not to showcase the fresh water
fish of the Smokies, but rather to showcase salt-water fish
and sea life from every ocean. To do this Ripley's created 1.3
million gallons of artificial sea water which fills
correspondingly large aquariums full of thousands of some of
the most exotic fish and sea life on the planet.
Sea Life In The Smokies!
The Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies features marine
specimens such as the giant Pacific octopus which grows to
have eight-foot tentacles. It also has sharks of several
varieties plus living coral and tropical fish. And leave it to
Ripley's to bring a Japanese spider crab as an attraction to
Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. This crab species is the
largest crustacean in the world growing to a near ten foot
Added to the above Smoky Mountain newcomers, there are other
attractions at the Gatlinburg aquarium where literally
thousands of undersea creatures from around the world are
displayed. Among them are sting ray, hammerhead sharks,
moray eels, lion fish, sea dragons, poisonous frogs, and
Amazonian piranha and other Rain Forest fish. There are
Pacific reef fishes, groupers, horse shoe crab, green
turtles, jellyfish and others.
Luxury Log Home Resort in the Smoky Mountains
Gatlinburg's Under-The-Sea Look.
Aside from the fish themselves, most exciting part of
the Smokies aquarium is a clear acrylic tunnel equipped
with a moving sidewalk through which fascinated Smokies
visitors glide. This attraction gives an under the sea
look at the fish and aquatic life. This fabulous tank is
home to several types of shark including the bonnethead,
the sandtiger and nurse sharks. It is thrilling to see
these otherwise dangerous sea creatures swimming with
agility and grace. Often the exotic undersea life forms
are only inches away!
Aquarium in Gatlinburg Is Very Popular.
As an attraction, the prestigious 45 million dollar,
115,000 square foot aquarium is expected to entertain
1.5 million Smoky Mountain visitors annually. In
addition to the new attraction, the city of Gatlinburg
spent $19 million to improve the infrastructure of the
city including two multi-level parking garages to help
accommodate the estimated million and a half annual
visitors going to the aquarium. A new visitors center
was created to help Smokies visitors and a pedestrian
bridge was built across the Little Pigeon River to
accommodate foot traffic.
Clearly Gatlinburg city fathers expect the Ripley's
Aquarium of the Smokies to be a boon for the local
economy and the city's visibility as a tourist
destination. Ten to fourteen thousand visitors are
likely to attend the attraction daily. The new visitors
to the Smoky Mountain area are expected to bring as
much as $76,000,000 to local business such as hotels,
gift shops and restaurants as well as bring $20,000,000
annually to Ripley's. Believe it or not!