Believe it or not, the Ripley’s name has been synonymous with weird, wild fun for more than one hundred years. Nowhere can you find more of these whacky, unbelievable experiences than in the Smoky Mountains. The region is home to an astounding seven attractions that boast the iconic Ripley’s moniker. Struggling to prioritize between these options? Keep reading to determine which attractions are most worth your while.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
There truly is something for everyone at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, where you can get up close and personal with penguins over a hot breakfast or a cold drink. Pancakes and Penguins gives you the chance to rub elbows with a penguin while scarfing down eggs and sausages, while Pints and Penguins is a 21+ sleepover that includes a behind the scenes tour of the zoo. Glass bottom boat rides, a touch a ray bay, and shark lagoon are just some of the many experiences that fish fans can find at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Featuring over 12,500 square feet of absurdities — including over a dozen themed galleries spread across three floors — the beloved Ripley’s Believe It or Not attraction has a lot to offer. Depending on the extent to which you linger at each exhibit, it just may take you all day to see everything on display.
If you’re short on time, be sure to check out the aptly named Odditorium. It’s home to a crazy collection of artifacts that are best left unspoiled — you’ll have to visit in person to see for yourself.
Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf
Grab a putter and a ball and hit the links at Ripley’s Davy Crockett mini-golf. Multiple courses are available, so you and your loved ones could enjoy hours of fun out of this Smoky Mountains-themed experience.
Animated barnyard characters and other interactive elements make these courses stand out from the typical assortment of mini-golf cliches. Practice makes perfect, as you’ll soon discover once you go for a hole-in-one. This could net you free games, so don’t take this opportunity for granted.
Ripley’s Haunted Adventure
Open 365 days a year, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure is not only a blast in October but during every season. This spooky adventure is especially fun with a group of friends or family willing to play along with the actors. Anyone over the age of six years old is eligible to be scared silly, so this is an essential inclusion on a Smoky Mountains itinerary for families with school-aged children. Better yet: with several different kid-friendly Ripley’s options available, it should be easy to drop the youngsters off and experience the haunted adventure on your own terms.
Ripley’s Moving Theater Gatlinburg
You’ve heard of 3D — and probably 4D — but have you ever experienced the fifth dimension? You will quickly discover it at Ripley’s Moving Theater Gatlinburg. Featuring state-of-the-art surround sound and digital effects, the Moving Theater will give you the ride of your life. Keep in mind, however, that (as with the Haunted Adventure) there are some limitations. For example, expectant mothers or visitors with certain health conditions should sit this one out. Thankfully, everyone else is fair game.
Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze
Watch where you’re going or you might run into someone you know…literally! This mirror maze certainly earns the name Marvelous, as it features infinite reflections and a mind-bending layout that will have you questioning your directions at every turn. Thankfully, if you or someone in your party struggles, trained mirror maze technicians come by every half hour to lead lost travelers back to the beginning.
Ripley’s Super Fun Zone
With a name like Super Fun Zone, you know this attraction is worth checking out. got to be good. This retro-themed favorite lives up to the hype by packing miniature golf, two laser tag arenas, and a shooting gallery into one fun-filled building. Pick up a souvenir from the retro retail store so you can have a reminder of all the super fun you had.
If this roundup of Ripley’s attractions has yet to make a believer out of you, just wait: one visit to a Ripley’s location and you’ll realize why this name is so beloved among vacationing families. Fun for the entire family awaits, so don’t hesitate to add multiple Ripley’s excursions to your Gatlinburg itinerary.