Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013: Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

While I was doing the research for this trip, one recommendation that kept coming up was for Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies.

Now, since we live in the Chicago suburbs, we're very familiar with the Shedd Aquarium, which is huge. I normally wouldn't have thought to visit an aquarium in Tennessee, especially a smaller one. I would have thought it would be a waste of our time. I was entirely wrong.

This aquarium has an entirely different feel than the Shedd, and it is clearly designed for little kids. The tanks are laid out so that even the tiniest kids can get up close and personal with the sea creatures.

Henry was trying to high five the giant spider crabs. 

Many of the tanks are designed so the kids can get right next to the glass. Some even let the kids go under or inside the tanks.

Henry loved watching the fish swim around him. I was impressed with the design of these exhibits.

Henry was trying really hard to catch the fish. 

Probably the most fantastic part of this aquarium is the shark tank. There are lots of different kinds of fish and sea creatures inside, including sharks, and you can ride this moving sidewalk through the tank, with sharks swimming around you on three sides.

It doesn't get much cooler than this!

At one point, Henry was a little unnerved about the fish swimming over his head.

There was a horseshoe crab tank where the boys got to touch and even hold these creatures.

I purposely posed Henry and Nick in front of the flesh-eating fish tank. The boys didn't seem nervous at all.

I believe we were watching for a sea turtle in this picture. Henry likes turtles a lot.

Now, Nick's favorite animal is the penguin. He sleeps every night with a stuffed penguin named Penguidy. Can you believe his joy when we found out he would get to climb through a tunnel. . .

. . . and pop up right inside the penguin exhibit? The penguins seemed super-friendly, too.

Nick was in penguin heaven.

The penguins came right up to the glass and seemed to be checking us out.

I'd highly recommend this aquarium, especially if you have kids.

It was an experience, and Nick has still been asking me about some of the creatures we saw.

No comments:

Post a Comment