The results are in and Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies won the nationwide vote in the USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice Awards to earn the title of the number one aquarium in the country.
The aquariums were nominated by a panel of experts to represent the best of the best for the quality of their exhibits and the customer experience. The experts selected an initial group of 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were selected by popular vote.
The top 10 aquariums in the 2017 USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice Awards:
1. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies - Gatlinburg, Tennessee
2. Georgia Aquarium - Atlanta, Georgia
3. Dallas World Aquarium - Dallas, Texas
4. Audubon Aquarium for the Americas - New Orleans, Louisiana
5. Tennessee Aquarium - Chattanooga, Tennessee
6. Newport Aquarium - Newport, Kentucky
7. Texas State Aquarium - Corpus Christi, Texas
8. Adventures Aquarium - Camden, New Jersey
9. Monterey Bay Aquarium - Monterey, California
10. Aquarium of the Pacific - Long Beach, California
Even after the hit of last November's wildfires, the tourists still showed their support for the aquarium.
“We are so blessed and honored to receive this award since the results are based upon the voting from our guests who visit us each year. It is so overwhelming that we were voted the number one aquarium in the nation,” said Ryan DeSear, general manager of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies was also voted by USA Today as one of the best places to see penguins, and it was also named in the top five of aquariums in the U.S. and world by TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice in 2014 and 2015.