The Tennessee Aquarium is a public aquarium located in Chattanooga, the fourth-largest state in Tennessee, United States. It was first opened in 1992 on the banks of the Tennessee River and in 2005, a major expansion project was done. The Aquarium is home to over 1200 animals and 800 different species. It is easily considered one of the country’s top public aquariums with over 2 million people having visited it over the years.
The facility is divided into two structures, the River Journey building, and the Ocean Journey expansion. The two have different exhibits and any visitors will benefit from touring both facilities to see all the variety available.
Major exhibits in the River Journey include:
The Appalachian Cove Forest – This features the River Otter Falls also displaying Free-flying North-American song birds, native fish species such as daces, darters, hog suckers. Redhorse, trout and an artificial waterfall.themed fountains at Coolidge Park. Have a picnic while at it and later, take a ride in the hand-carved antique carousel. Take a ride on the River Gorge explorer which takes you from the downtown pier to the Tennessee River Gorge.
Delta Country – Features the Alligator Bayou with American alligators and alligator snapping turtles.
Rivers of the Worlds – This exhibit most interesting character is the electric eel which ‘communicates’ electrically with the audience through Twitter.
The Tennessee River gallery – It’s centrepiece is the Nickajack Lake tank which features species from the Tennessee River itself such as the channel catfish and American paddlefish
River Giants – This contains huge freshwater fish from all over the world such as the giant pangasius, Redtail catfish, arapaima and giant freshwater stingray.
This is the bigger facility of the two, measuring in at 60000 square feet and with a height equivalent to a ten-story building. It follows the River journey into the Gulf of Mexico. This facility is home to a beautiful butterfly garden, small sharks and rays and hyacinth macaws.
Major exhibits in this journey include:
The Secret Reef – This is the largest tank in this facility and depicts the environment of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. It can be viewed from three levels including and under walk-through feature and the Undersea Cavern. Species housed here include the Sand Tier Sharks, bonnet head sharks and green sea turtles.
The Boneless Beauties and Jellies. This hosts exactly what its name implies, but what’s interesting is that it includes living art: rotating exhibits of art glass alongside jellyfish.
Penguins Rock – This display both onshore and swimming penguins such as the Gentoo penguins and macaroni penguins.
Apart from the exhibits, you will find that the aquarium hosts several other fun activities. An IMAX 3D theatre is located within the complex and a 65-foot catamaran tour boat.