While we were in the Great Smoky Mountains a few weeks ago (see my photos from Parrot Mountain), we visited Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. I was surprised to learn that it is owned by the same company that does the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not books, comics, and TV show.
Mr. Handsome and I have somehow become aquarium and zoo people. I didn’t grow up spending time at either, but since we have been married, we have visited quite a few (Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Chattanooga’s Tennessee Aquarium, St. Louis Zoo, New Orleans Audubon Zoo, and Memphis Zoo). We also went to the Knoxville Zoo on our way home from the Smokies. We both agree that going to a zoo or aquarium isn’t the absolute most exciting thing that anyone could ever do with their time, but we love how relaxing and therapeutic it is to walk through the exhibits and watch the animals. You can allow yourself to lose track of time for a few hours.
The aquarium has a huge shark tank, where you can see the sharks from above water and then walk through a glass tunnel and watch them swim above you.
The creature in Shark Lagoon that fascinated us the most is not actually a shark, although it looks like one. It’s a sawfish, and while it can cause harm to prey with its “saw,” it is not aggressive towards humans (unlike actual sharks). It also has what looks like a human face on its underside.
The penguin exhibit was my favorite, and it was hilarious to put Little Buddy up to the glass and watch a swimming penguin try to grab his swinging pacifier.
The stingrays were also pretty neat and reminded us of our honeymoon on Grand Cayman, when we swam with wild stingrays at Stingray City. Mr. Handsome enjoyed seeing the jellyfish, but he now unfortunately wants one as a pet.