Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg

One of the great things about Gatlinburg is the plethora of activities for kids ~ and adults who like to pretend they’re kids (I'm not naming Candidly Caroline, ha hem.)

My favorite was the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. It was quite sizeable, and I managed to keep myself more than entertained, and, in fact, dawdling and gawking, for the entire tour.

The coolest attraction was a 300-foot long corridor "under the sea." The corridor had a pathway-sized conveyor belt that moved people slowly along and underneath the simulated ocean. All around sharks and fish are swimming up to your face and up above your head, so close you feel immersed. There is even a plaque near large scratch marks marking the spot where, the night before the Aquarium’s grand opening, a shark attacked the acrylic tank! No one was harmed, it assured us.

The aquarium itself is quite high tech, and their lighting system follows the natural pattern of sunlight and moonlight, allowing visitors and the aquatic wildlife to experience actual times of day.

One of the neatest programs this aquarium offers utilizes this corridor, and they call it “Sleeping with the Sharks.” At nighttime, people can rent out the aquarium for parties, and they can park their sleeping bags within this corridor so - literally - they are sleeping with the sharks! I didn’t get to do that, but wouldn’t that be so cool? Having sharks swimming over your head with the aquarium illuminated only by moonlight? I think that would be great!


justcarl said...

Sorry you didn't get to sleep with the fishes, but like our Mom used to tell us - 'Save something for the next time!'.

Then you can fantasize about getting knocked off by the Mafia. Ahem. :)

El Jefe Maximo said...

I love big Aquariums...but I have not seen this one. You took some really cool pics on your trip. When I go on trips, I'm always so busy trying to stay out of the way of cameras wielded by family members that I forget to take any myself.

Candidly Caroline said...

It's the journalistic instinct.
I'll be writing several stories from this trip, I'm sure, with, of course, pictures!