The Best family was honored by Ripley's Aquarium for being the 15 Millionth visitor. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- For Craig Best and family it started off as a normal day. But one trip into the Ripley's Aquarium and they found out it wasn't going to be a normal trip to see the animals.
The Best family from Lascassas, Tennessee, were showered with many gifts and a special show by the new Ripley’s Live Mermaids, along with lunch by VIP's all gathered to honor the 15 Millionth visitor to Ripley's. The Best family bought the winning ticket.
"It's very surprising, very unexpected," said Craig Best. "We came down for an end of the summer trip and we were very excited to come to the aquarium today because that's something they wanted to do."
To honor the 15 millionth visitor, Craig and Jennifer Best with children received 3 days/2 nights Gatlinburg Getaway, 15-Year Ultimate Passes for unlimited visits to all 8 Ripley Tennessee Attractions, Splash with the Stingrays, Penguin Encounter and Gift Bag from the Cargo Hold.
“This is a great celebration. We opened our doors in December of 2000 and hit the 15 millionth mark in only 12 years. It is truly a testament to our success and to our popularity. We keep adding new exhibits each year to make our aquarium the most unique in the U.S. In 2010, we added the new $5 million dollar Penguin Playhouse exhibit and this year we added the new Perfect Predator Sharks exhibit and our new Live Mermaids,” said Ryan DeSear, general manager of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
The Ripley’s Live Mermaids perform family-friendly and interactive shows daily. The myths, legends and folklore of mermaids vary throughout the world. Through history, there have been many stories of sea travelers seeing mermaids. Mermaids have been known to save the lives of sailors after shipwrecks and protect all that live in the ocean. The mermaids perform daily at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm.