I wrote this post when we got back from Gatlinburg and forgot to post it! Hope you enjoy it even though it’s late!!
When you’re on vacation, it’s almost guaranteed that a few of those days are going to be raining. Fortunately, we got our rainy days out of the way early and had some great inside plans. We headed to the Pancake Pantry for breakfast, starting off the day with some delicious pancakes and crepes. I’d suggest getting there early – there is free parking on the street before nine, and the place wasn’t crowded at all.
After that, we headed to the real attraction for the day – Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. We were fortunate enough to get free tickets to the aquarium, but we would have gone no matter what – Little Miss loves visiting an aquarium! Although the aquarium has a relatively small footprint, they make great use of the space that they have. Additionally, they have great programs almost every thirty minutes that provide additional information and entertainment.
I recommend getting to the aquarium early. We got there about the time it opened, and got to see several exhibits before the crowds really got there. The tunnel that meanders through shark lagoon is definitely the highlight of the aquarium. There is a moving sidewalk so that you can just stand and observe as you slowly wind through the lagoon. You can also step off of the sidewalk if you want to walk through the lagoon more quickly or want to stay in a certain area longer.
Little Miss loved watching the Penguin Feeding at the Playhouse. She watched the feeding from the observation tube with several other children, which gave her a great view. From there, we headed over to watch the Stingrays get fed, which was fun to watch and very informative. It wasn’t a crowded show, and the girl gave us a lot of information about the various animals we were observing. Afterwards, we went upstairs where there was a touch pool and you could touch the stingrays.
There were a couple of special exhibits at the aquarium. The slime exhibit was informative and so much fun! I learned a lot, and there were a lot of activities that sparked Little Miss’ interest in the fun facts too. She even got to touch a jellyfish! Who knew that slime was such an important tool for so many animals?
After the aquarium, we took Little Miss to the Mirror Maze. The mirror maze was short, but lots of fun for Little Miss. She had a great time figuring out how to get around, and then got too confident towards the end and ran right into a mirror! Thankfully she had her hands out in front of her, so it was funny and no one got hurt. While there isn’t much to it, it’s a fun add-on to the aquarium that small children will enjoy.