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Ripley's Aquarium

Top 5 Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains For Animal Lovers

If you love animals, you’ll be in heaven when you spend your vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains! In addition to all of the exciting wildlife viewing opportunities in the national park, there are several fun places you can visit to see a variety of fascinating creatures! Here are the top 5 things to do in the Smoky Mountains for animal lovers:

1. Visit the Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo

Rainforest Adventures ZooThe Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo in Sevierville is home to some of the most unique animals in the world, so be sure to put this destination on your sightseeing list! The zoo has been themed by one of the nation’s finest zoological contractors and features over 600 live animals, including birds, reptiles, amphibians and more! Don’t forget to stop by Amazon Traders, the zoo’s amazing gift shop where you can find a plush animal to take home!

2. Pet the Animals at the Smoky Mountain Deer Farm

Another one of the top things to do in the Smoky Mountains for animal lovers is Sevierville’s Smoky Mountain Deer Farm, where you can pet some of nature’s most graceful creatures! You also have the opportunity to walk among the deer and feed them straight from your hand! As if that isn’t enough, you can get an up close view of Rocky Mountain elk, hug a baby goat, rub a camel, pet a zebra, and scratch a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig!

3. Experience the Ober Gatlinburg Wildlife Encounter

Ober Gatlinburg Animal lovers won’t want to miss the Ober Gatlinburg Wildlife Encounter, a privately funded, municipally sponsored zoo with a variety of incredible wildlife! One of the highlights is an adorable black bear family, which features Minnie and BJ as well as their adult kids Holly and Chief! The zoo also has a fantastic underwater viewing area where you can watch otters at play, as well as a Nocturnal House with raccoons, skunks, flying squirrels, turtles, and snakes!

4. Explore Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

When it comes to the things to do in the Smoky Mountains for animal lovers, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies should definitely be on your list! This state-of-the-art facility in Gatlinburg features more than 10,000 exotic sea creatures among 10 themed galleries! This is your chance to come face to face with sharks in the Shark Lagoon tunnel, feel the smooth skin of a ray in the Touch a Ray Bay and get nose-to-beak with penguins in the Penguin Playhouse!

5. Hike at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

National Park Sign Of course, when it comes to wildlife viewing in the Smokies, no trip to the area is complete without a hike through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! The most famous resident in the park is the black bear, and it is estimated that there are approximately 1,500 of them that call the park home! Some of the other commonly seen animals include white-tailed deer, groundhogs, chipmunks, squirrels and over 200 species of birds!

Check out all of our cabins in the Smokies today to stay close to these fun things to do in the Smoky Mountains for animal lovers! We look forward to seeing you soon!