Tuesday, April 26, 2011

(Re) Discover Chattanooga - TN Aquarium

Yesterday was World Penguin Day, so I figured it was appropriate to finally write about my Birthday Trip to the Tennessee Aquarium.

The first thing you need to know about the Aquarium, is its not one aquarium, its two. The first building focuses on freshwater marine life, and is made up of exhibits on each floor & large tanks that are as the full height of the building. As you walk between exhibits, you descend into the 'depths of the tanks' and get to see which fish live near the top, bottom etc. Some of the highlights include river otters, a makeshift swamp, one of the largest catfish you'll ever see, and an impressive sea horse exhibit.

But What About The Penguins?

The Penguins are in the second building. This building is a little smaller, and focuses on salt water marine life. If you're looking for sharks and sting rays, you'll find them here. You start in a butterfly garden, with a TON of butterflies hanging out. They've got an incubator room you can look in, bc lets face it, LOTS of school kids come through, and you have to see all stages of butterfly life.

After the butterflies, you walk into the penguin room. The penguins are behind glass, which is a little disappointing, but when you compare a TN summer to Antarctica, you have to understand why the climate control is necessary. I was also a little disappointed in the exhibit itself. Compared to the River Otter exhibit, its small and barren...but again, probably not unlike an iceberg. What is not disappointing is the penguins themselves. They are So Freaking Cute! Watching them waddle and hop around is hysterical, and watching them swim is pretty cool. They are all banded on their wings, and the color code is posted, so you know you're laughing at "Biscuit." I must confess I have bookmarked the Penguin Webcam on my work computer, and pretty much leave it running all day long. They're that cute. They're nesting right now (they use rocks to build their nests) so its fun to see them fuss over the rocks, and hop around over the nests.

The other cool thing in this building is the jelly fish exhibit. There are so many different colors and sizes, and they're all so graceful. This is a part of the aquarium I could stay for hours.

Membership definitely worth it :)

Tennessee Aquarium
One Broad Street, Chattanooga TN, 37402
phone: 800-262-0695
Ticket Information
Hours of Operation: First admittance to the Aquarium is at 10 a.m. with last admittance at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. The Aquarium closes at 8 p.m. (Plan for at least 2 hours for your visit)

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** Photos pulled from the Tennessee Aquarium Website **

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