We decided to make a much needed last minute getaway this weekend to the mountains of Tennessee. It is only a few hours drive for us so it is perfect for a weekend trip. On a whim we decided to take the boys to the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies located in Gatlinburg, TN. We have been there a few times before, but when Graham was much younger. Much to our surprise they now have Penguins!
I have to say that this new addition is wonderful! Not only do they have 24 African Penguins (the warm weather kind), but the habit is really interactive. They feed the penguins two times each day, so make sure you are there for either the 10:30 or 2:30 feeding. Not only do you see the workers interact with the penguins, but you also get a very informative session. We all learned a lot. For instance, did you know that you could distinguish a warm weather penguin by the pinkish markings near their eyes?
Graham and Davis really loved the tunnel that is built under the habitat. You can crawl through and watch them swimming above you. Once you are in the middle of the tunnel, stand up to see a penguin face to face! I got a great shot of Stevie. All of the penguins are marked with armbands that distinguish their gender and give their names (Blue for boys and Red for girls). The names are important for keeping track of feedings.
Other cool features include the glass on the floor so that you can watch the penguins swim through the underground tunnel to the port hole shaped windows on the other side. You can literally see every aspect of the penguin up close and personal.
Admission to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN is currently $22.99 for adults, $5.99 for children ages 2-5 and $11.99 for children ages 6-11. Children under age 2 are free. If you happen to be in the area this is definitely a must see! Of course, you will also be able to see all of the other wonderful exhibits and sea life available.
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