By Dan Andrews
Have you ever woken up to sharks swimming above you? Recently, I had the privilege of experiencing that opportunity while staying the night at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg.  My bedroom for the night was a clear glass tunnel that spans 345 feet under 750,000 gallons of water. While it might sound like a once in a lifetime event, it is not. The aquarium offers this opportunity to the public year round.
“Sleeping with the Sharks” is a program developed mainly for young families and groups that wish to experience the aquarium in an amazing way! From activities like the behind the scene tour to the scavenger hunt, participants become immersed with information about the aquarium in a fun and exciting way. However, as exciting as the evening is, the real experience comes when the lights go out!
When the lights dim, the guests can look up at the shark tank and see many different types of fish swimming above them. Since certain fish can sense electrical impulses, at night no cell phone, video cameras, watches, or anything electric is allowed in the glass tunnel to give the fish a break from the electrical impulses.
For parents who are always busy and always on the go, sleeping with the sharks could feel like a magical experience. With no electronics and only the quiet sound of pumps running, it can be very relaxing. Being able to transition from an exciting evening to a relaxing and peaceful night is a priceless feeling.
The price for “Sleeping With The Sharks” ranges from $56.96 to $75.00 depending on if you are going with a group of 12 or as a family on a specifically targeted date. Educational activities, a pizza dinner and a breakfast are also included. For more information visit
If you are a parent looking for a great local overnight trip for your young child, the Ripley’s Aquarium is a must! However, bring your camera! While you cannot use the camera after lights out in the shark tank, you can still use the camera throughout the evening. As the old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, that’s a good thing because this fun family adventure will probably leave your entire family speechless.