I love the Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I went to the aquarium years ago with my family and it was so much fun. I haven't been since so I'm sure they have added a ton of new things.
The aquarium has over 10, 000 exotic sea creatures and over 350 different species. As you first enter the aquarium you can walk through different sections that house different creatures. They have the beautiful tropical rainforest that even has a little waterfall. Then you can go through the ocean realm and you can even view how the aquarium runs. They let you see the "brains" of the operation and you can see how exactly they are able to keep so many creatures alive and safe.
The coral reef has tons of very colorful fish and you may even see a diver in there. The coolest part of the aquarium is the moving 340 foot guidepath, UNDERWATER! Yes you are surrounded by 1.4 million gallons of water. And what do you see? SHARKS! I will admit that the tunnel is a little scary. Anyone remember the movie Jaws? I just kept envisioning the glass breaking. But this is still the most exciting part and everyone should go through a shark infested water tunnel at some point in their lives I guess.
The discovery center is where you can learn about nature first hand. Kids can try to solve puzzles and even touch some of the creatures. They also have the stingray bay and the touch-a-ray bay. I will admit that I was not brave enough to actually touch one. The "Living Babies in Incubators" exhibit is new so I know little about it. But I think it just shows how each species takes care of their young differently.
The aquarium also has a nice gift shop and a restaurant, "Feeding Frenzy". The food there is pretty good but a little expensive. The adult ticket price is $22.29 and a child ages 6-11 is $12.25. Children 2-5 are $5.56. It was a little cheaper when I went a few years ago.
This is really an amazing place. I loved going with my family and we came to Tennessee just to see this aquarium. They do offer some specials and there is a hotel right next door. They even have discounts to the other Ripley's attractions that are located right on the street. This really makes a terrific family vacation!