The Appalachian Rivers Aquarium: Is It Fun For Kids?

When is the last time your kids had a hands-on experience with turtles, salamanders or crayfish? They can have these experiences and more at the Appalachian Rivers Aquarium in Bryson City. Located on the Tuckasegee River, the aquarium is part of the Fly Fishing Museum of the South. You can visit the aquarium and the museum free of charge, although donations are appreciated.

Appalachian Rivers Aquarium

What makes the Appalachian Rivers Aquarium unique

The Appalachian Rivers Aquarium is unique in that they primarily have indigenous and protected local species. The aquarium provides your children with a memorable and fun learning experience as they explore the aquatic wildlife in their own environment.

The Aquarium’s impressive Cascading Mountain Stream consists of three large pools and a waterfall with nearly 2,000 gallons of flowing cold water for the region’s gamefish and non-game fish. Undersea viewing gives your kids a unique perspective on native trout.

Why it’s a fun thing to do for kids

Two hands-on touch-tanks are stocked with crayfish, frogs and salamanders for your children to study. Watch their curiosity and wonder soar as they examine the hellbenders, an ancient and protected species of salamander. Hellbenders are large salamanders and the aquarium has them on display in the largest tank in the Southeast. If you’re looking for more fun things to do with kids, check out this list of outdoor day trips in western NC.

To plan your Aquarium adventure log on to


Feature photo credit: Bryson City NC – Swain County Chamber of Commerce / TDA