Friday, February 27, 2009

Jellies: Living Art Coming to Chattanooga!

With the help of a great group of students from Battle Academy and Calvin Donaldson Environmental Academy, (and one giant jellyfish) the Hunter Museum of American Art and Tennessee Aquarium announced a new exhibition coming to the Chattanooga Riverfront. Jellies: Living Art will showcase jellyfish alongside works of art that were inspired by nature. This joint exhibition opens May 15th at both the Aquarium and the Hunter. Visitors will be fascinated by these unusual creatures from the deep and amazed by the creative talents of the featured artists.

Check out this link for more details about this exciting new exhibition:

Go behind the scenes to learn more about the special tanks required for Jellies: Living Art on the Aquarium's YouTube page:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Under the Sea 3D is "FIN-Tastic!"

Under the Sea 3D had fans with fins, snorkels and masks turning out for the premiere. Check out this group of young divers from Choo-Choo Diving and Aquatic Center's "Scuba Ranger" program. They had a big time seeing sea lions, great white sharks and minke whales on the giant six-story IMAX screen.
Pictured above are: Scuba Ranger Preston, Scuba Ranger Instructor Aimee Harden, Scuba Ranger Tyler, Scuba Ranger Instructor Cheri Elliott, Scuba Ranger Blake, Steve and Mary Ann Newman, owners of Choo Choo Diving & Aquatic Center.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Exciting new 3D film opens Friday at IMAX

A Leafy Sea Dragon gets a spotlight from the sun above the waters of South Australia during the filming of the IMAX® 3D film Under the Sea 3D. © 2008 Jeff Wildermuth used with permission by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

"Full of wonder!" might be the best way to describe the new film, "Under the Sea 3D" which premiers at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater this Friday. We are very lucky to have many of the animal stars or closely related species next door at the Aquarium. For example, you can get up close to live weedy and leafy seadragons at the Aquarium, then see them on the giant screen at IMAX in their native waters. You may see one or both of our green sea turtles munching veggies in the Gulf of Mexico exhibit or in the Secret Reef at the Aquarium. While viewing "Under the Sea 3D", you'll witness a green sea turtle munching on a huge jellyfish.

You'll see cool behaviors such as the lightning-fast fishing attempts of stonefish and cuttlefish. Playful sea lions frolic in front of the IMAX 3D camera and clouds of colorful reef fish seem to swirl all around you during the film. You'll also enjoy "in your face" scenes of great white sharks and sea snakes.

Get ready to dive in and explore the remote and exotic underwater reefs of "Under the Sea 3D."

Monday, February 9, 2009

When you care enough to send the very "beast."

A chambered nautilus would have a long list if he were to say, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." After all, a nautilus has up to 90 tentacles so that's a lot of ways and a whole lotta love. Or imagine a gentoo penguin with 70 to 80 feathers per each square inch of her body playing, "He loves me, he loves me not" during the molting season. How about a giant squid spreading his yards and yards of tentacles apart and saying, "I love you this much!"

If you feel an animal attraction for someone, why not send them an e-greeting from the Tennessee Aquarium this year. Simply pick the critter that suits the suitor, add your own greeting and within a few clicks your special someone gets a V-Card and a few smiles.
Here's the link:

E-Cards from the Tennessee Aquarium for Valentine's Day...."When you care enough to send the very "beast."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

You don't say?

This picture of "Bug", one of the Tennessee Aquarium's gentoo penguins, always makes me smile. It's easy to add a thought bubble above Bug's head that would make this even more comical. So for today's post, let's add the following thought bubble: "You don't say?"

For some reason, there has been a recent rash of people asking about the little boy who kidnapped or stole one of our penguins. "You don't say? I can't wait to tell my neighbor."

This may be one of the most interesting urban legends of our time. The tale is not true of course, whether it's one of our penguins or some other zoo or aquarium's bird. Yet there is an ebb and flow to this rumor that washes across the country through e-mails and blogs in waves. So, in honor of this most recent wave, let's revisit the Tennessee Aquarium blog archives from 2007:

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Nipping A Napping Story In The Bud
It's funny how some stories can keep resurfacing and being told again and again until they become the famous....."Urban Legend." So let's nip one in the bud before someone starts talking about a bird napping. For years there has been a story circulating literally all over the world about a child visiting a zoo and stuffing a live penguin in a back-pack and carrying it home. Several of these false alarms popped up from the United Kingdom to the United States in 2005. One place to read these urban legends is at this fact or fiction website: This website even cites the 2002 children's book, Tina and the Penguin, by Heather Dyer that may have re-ignited these false stories. So it's not surprising that yet another penguin-napping story has popped up in the news lately. This time KUTV in Salt Lake City went myth busting when it was reported that a young boy guessed it...stolen a penguin from the San Diego Zoo and it was later placed on exhibit at the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. KUTV's Jeff Jaeger reports one major problem with the story though, the San Diego Zoo didn't have penguins in the first place. One surprise though...the Hogle Zoo reported people calling and visiting wanting to see the stolen penguin. For the full story check out this link: The only time you'll see a penguin-napping at the Tennessee Aquarium is after a gentoo or macaroni has a belly full of fish. Or at night on our webcam. That's when they catch their Zzzzzzzzz's!

I know this won't put this story to bed for some. So let's add a few more myth-busting facts:
  1. The Aquarium's penguins don't keep a key under the doormat. In fact, only a very small group of employees have access to their home.
  2. Penguins look cuddly, but they can be rather feisty. If you're ever at the Tennessee Aquarium when it's time for our birds to be examined, you'll see that it's challenging for trained keepers to catch a bird. They'll dive into the water, waddle quickly off or simply peck and flap like crazy.
  3. Penguins have powerful flippers. Our keepers know how to safely subdue a bird when it's necessary to handle them. But even they respect the strong slap that can be delivered by a flipper.
  4. A penguin would continue to flap, squawk and wiggle around if it was in a backpack. And that would draw everyone's attention.

Add it all up and there's no way this story could be true.

UNLESS....this small boy slipped away from his parents like 007, had "Mission Impossible" locksmithing skills combined with the animal savvy of "Wild Kingdom's" Jim Fowler, and had a soundproof backpack created specifically for the caper by NASA.

"You don't say?"

Monday, February 2, 2009

You Otter Come Back Real Soon.

Our thanks today to Kristy from Athens, Tennessee for sending in these fun shots from her recent trip to the Tennessee Aquarium. It looks like our alligator friend had a little smile on her face for Kristy and her family. Perhaps she was pleased that Kristy had chosen to make a birthday visit to Chattanooga.

Here's what she had to say about her visit:
"My family and I visited the tennessee aquarium for my 21st birthday. This was our first time being there and we absolutely loved it! It was so much fun to see all the different kinds of fish, the penguins, the big alligator and the otters! My favorite of all was getting to touch the baby stingrays. We will definitely be coming back to visit again soon!"

Thanks again for sharing your story and the nice images. You otter come back real soon. In fact, "Under the Sea 3D" opens at IMAX on Friday, February 13th. This underwater adventure takes you to exotic locations like the Great Barrier Reef to see some of the most colorful and interesting animals in the world. And you can see many of the featured "stars" of the film right here at the Tennessee Aquarium. For example, you can check out a leafy sea dragon in 3D on the six-story IMAX screen. Then try your hand at photographing the leafy sea dragons in the Seahorse Gallery inside River Journey.