Discovery Center

Kid’s Paradise

The best way to learn about nature is to experience it first hand. In our Discovery Center you can do just that.

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Horseshoe Crabs
Horseshoe crabs are not true crabs; they are related to spiders and scorpions. They lay their eggs on beaches, have copper-based blue blood that is used by scientists to diagnose diseases, and they are considered living fossils as they have been on Earth for over 200 million years!

You can solve puzzles, test your knowledge against the experts and your friends, and even touch live horseshoe crabs — one of the strangest creatures in our aquarium.

Discovery Center

Filled with fun and interactive displays, the Discovery Center invites you to learn by participation.

Discover the fun!

Fun Educational Programs

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies provides a unique variety of educational programs on the ocean environment and marine life. Educators are available in the building to answer questions at all times.

Special class times and topics for group discussions are posted at the Discovery Center Classrooms every day.

Additional specialized programs are also available for students, teachers, and other social groups. Find out more.

Before the pufferfish inflatesMeet the Puffers

All puffed up!Members of the puffer fish family can change their shape dramatically.

These animals often look like a typical fish, but when they are alarmed they take in water, or air and inflate themselves to avoid being eaten.