Today my family and I went to Chattanooga, Tennessee (about a 3 hour drive from our home) to visit the Tennessee Aquarium (the biggest freshwater aquarium in the country!).
If you have never been there and you ever get the chance, please take advantage of it! There are two parts of the aquarium: (Ocean Journey and River Journey). The first one is made up of 3 parts/exhibits. The first exhibit is a sensory one where you can actually touch some stingrays! They also have a pair of beautiful macaws (see our Instagram page for more pictures) and a butterfly garden where you can go in and see the butterflies up close – they might even land on you! After you are through with that exhibit, you will then see Penguins’ Rock and the Secret Reef (sand tiger sharks and sandbar sharks as well as thousands of colorful reef fish and two large Green Sea Turtles). The Boneless Beauties come next. This includes the Giant Pacific Octopus, cuttlefish, and the electrifying jellyfish! Lastly, the Undersea Cavern ends your tour through the Ocean Journey. 10-foot sharks and brightly-colored coral line the halls!
River Journey is the second part of the Tennessee Aquarium.The second part of the Aquarium is full of life! We ended up seeing river otters, huge rays being fed by divers, tons of other river giants (and they are not exaggerating when they say giants!), turtles, frogs, crocodiles, and more assortments of fish. The whole aquarium took us about 3 hours to successfully make our way through, and we have a 4 month old so we were stopping to change him and feed him often. We also took a break in between both parts of the aquarium to eat some snacks ourselves. You are allowed to bring your own food and drinks, and that is something I really like because buying food on top of spending the day at an attraction such as a huge aquarium can get pretty pricey and it all adds up quickly. We did, however, treat ourselves to some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream afterward since it was so hot! I didn’t even know they had a ‘place’ – I have only ever seen the ice cream in the grocery store!
Something else I want to point out about the Tennessee Aquarium is that they are wheelchair/stroller friendly and they make sure to have an elevator on every floor as well as the well-known blue button that opens doors for us when our hands are full (with a wheelchair or stroller). They are also nursing-friendly, as they have a nursing room for nursing mothers so we do not have to feel out of place nor do we have to stand in a bathroom stall (yuck!) to feed our babies. I really appreciate when a place has a nursing area, because most do not.
Overall, we had a great day at the Tennessee Aquarium and on top of seeing some really great animals and fish, we learned about why it is so important to protect our freshwater species and take care of our environment. I saw a really important fact that stuck with me. It was displayed in one of the tanks – we will destroy the Earth with the items we refuse to destroy (such as old cell phones and license plates that end up in our waters and harm our animals) so we really need to remember that recycling is important rather than throwing our trash somewhere where an animal can be harmed from it. Be careful with your fishing lures and what you put on them as well!
Click here to find the Tennessee Aquarium (Chattanooga) on Facebook.
Click here to find them on Twitter.
Click here for ticket and show information.
The southeastern United States is one of the most ecologically diverse places on Earth. The Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, TNACI, works to preserve, protect and sustain the region’s natural treasures and to bring people of all ages closer to nature.