A few years ago, I went to the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  As a matter of fact, I have been a couple of times and I think it's incredible.  So, I decided to create a list of aquariums (including the brand new St. Louis Aquarium) that are within pretty decent driving distance from Owensboro.  Now, you may not be able to make a one-day trip out of these destinations, but they're definitely worth hitting the road to see.

RIPLEY'S AQUARIUM OF THE SMOKIES

Obviously, I'm recommending Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies.  Situated right in the heart of Gatlinburg, Ripley's features and highlights penguins, stingrays, sharks and a Glass Bottom Boat Adventure!

NEWPORT AQUARIUM

The Newport Aquarium, just outside Cincinnati, has sharks, a Giant Pacific Octopus, and special exhibits featuring seahorses and gators!

TENNESSEE AQUARIUM 

In addition to just about every aquatic animal you can think of, Tennessee Aquarium is also home to otters!   They also have a fun Christmas-themed series called Holidays Under the Peaks, which features a SCUBA-diving Santa named SCUBA Claus!

SHEDD AQUARIUM

One of my favorite parts of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium also is home to a Giant Pacific Octopus, but they also have Belugas, which may be the most adorable whale ever!  Plus, Shedd allows visitors to be a Trainer for a Day and get up close and hands on as a marine mammal trainer.

GEORGIA AQUARIUM

The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta invites visitors to "experience the world beneath the waves" and is home to tens of thousands of animals. Those animals include Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins, Begulas, Whale Sharks, California Sea Lions and more.

ST. LOUIS AQUARIUM

While it's not quite ready for visitors yet, the St. Louis Aquarium will be open next month. But here's a sneak preview inside.  It looks awesome!

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