Thursday, October 29, 2009

Something Spooky to Share with Friends

Check out this link for a fun e-mail that has a startling ending.
With Halloween right around the corner, this might be something fiendishly fun to e-mail to a friend.
Meanwhile, here at the Tennessee Aquarium lots of staffers are gearing up for tomorrow night's "Aqua-Scarium" Party. There are plenty of new items to make this year's event bigger and more fun than ever before. (Scroll down to previous post for the monstrous details.)
So bring your little ghouls and goblins in costume and celebrate with all of the Aquarium’s creatures tomorrow night from 6:30 to 9:30 pm.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Color Update: Peak Approaching

The weather in Chattanooga is finally beginning to settle into a more typical fall pattern after a very wet period from September into October. While we were thankful for the rain, it's nice to have the blue sky and cool temperatures that everyone enjoys and comes to expect at this time of year. Bands of color have begun to paint the surrounding mountains with shades of gold and orange most dominant right now. There are vibrant reds also appearing right now, although they seem to be less abundant than previous years. We're still a week or so from peak color, so we may still see more bright red. Even valley locations are quite showy right now and promise more color to come in the days ahead. Anytime between now and the second week of November would be an excellent time to view the showy display from aboard the River Gorge Explorer.

Here's a peek at last fall's peak color in the Tennessee River Gorge:

If you are looking for some great fall hikes, here are a couple of ideas within a few minutes of downtown Chattanooga:

Friday, October 23, 2009

One Week To Aqua-Scarium! Lot's of FUN ahead!!!

The Tennessee Aquarium's Aqua-Scarium Halloween Party may be one of the most fun-filled events you'll ever attend. As you can see from a few of last year's pictures, there are some really awesome costumes worn by kids of all ages. Here's an update on what's new for Aqua-Scarium '09:
Dancing ghosts, a spooktacular sound system, new animal encounters and oversized trick-or-critters are among the many new features at this year’s Aqua-Scarium Halloween Party at the Tennessee Aquarium. Little ghouls and goblins are invited to come in costume and celebrate with all of the Aquarium’s creatures from 6:30 to 9:30 pm on Friday, October 30th.

The River Journey Lobby will be transformed into a mad DJ’s rockin’ laboratory thanks to a monstrous music system provided by Sound Force. Kids of all ages will be invited to do the “Monster Mash” as colored dance lights and spider web lighting fill the makeshift dance hall.

Other new lighting effects will lead visitors on their chilling journey into the Cove Forest where a haunted hall of pumpkins awaits them. Special gobo lights will produce a dancing wall of ghosts within the central canyon of the River Journey building. As visitors walk past the Lake Nickajack and Gulf of Mexico exhibits, they will notice new shipwrecks and other underwater props as costumed divers play among the fish.

The fun continues next door in the Ocean Journey building where many of the Aquarium’s loveable mascots will be dressed in Halloween costumes. The festive outfits were designed and produced by Dan Backlund and other faculty members of the Theatre Arts Department at the University of the South.

New lighting and music will also add to the pirate theme within Ocean Journey. For anyone wishing to gaze into the future, Madame Luna will seek fortune-telling inspiration from floating jelly spirits within the Jellies: Living Art gallery.

Visitors will also find new animal encounters in both buildings along with more games and trick-or-treat stations.

Anyone wishing to dive into this evening of fun are encouraged to pre-register online by Tuesday, October 27th at Tickets will be available for purchase at the door the night of the Aqua-Scarium Party on Friday, October 30th.

Tennessee Aquarium Aqua-Scarium Halloween Party
Friday, October 30, 2009 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.For families with young children (Children must be accompanied by an adult)Admission information:
Member: $4 per person, Adult or Child (3-12)Non-Member: $25/Adult; $19/Child (3-12)Non-member price includes Aquarium admission.
Presented by Wendy's and Girls Preparatory School

Thursday, October 22, 2009

VIPs Thrill Guests

Thanks to everyone from Disney On Ice for making a memorable day for Aquarium visitors yesterday. Mickey and Minnie Mouse were big hits with everyone. Finding Nemo coloring pages were available as well as the Finding Nemo at the Aquarium activity sheets. Kids really enjoyed the craft table. Be sure to check out the wonderful show, Disney On Ice presents Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo, at UTC's McKenzie Arena through Sunday.
Then visit the Tennessee Aquarium to meet some of the real animals featured in this classic film.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Meet Nemo at the Tennessee Aquarium Tomorrow

Disney On Ice presents Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo. Meet the Characters at the Tennessee Aquarium Wednesday, October 21 at 11:00 am until Noon.

Come along for an underwater adventure at the Tennessee Aquarium with Disney on Ice. Kids can enjoy an arts and crafts activity, a scavenger hunt to find the real-life animals featured in the movie and a meet and greet with Mickey, Minnie and Nemo. There will also be a chance to win tickets to the show and discount passes for everyone in attendance!
Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras for photos with the characters. (Only one photo per family, please.) This event is free with Aquarium admission and will be located in the River Journey Seahorse Gallery.

Anyone can download this activity sheet to see the real animals featured in Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo at the Tennessee Aquarium. Catch the creatures in action and learn more fun facts about these amazing animals.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

CONGRATULATIONS to George Bartnik, TEEA’s 2009 Distinguished Service Award Recipient!

The 2009 Tennessee Environmental Education Association, (TEEA) Distinguished Service Award was presented to George Bartnik the Tennessee Aquarium’s education programs manager. For decades, and throughout many environmental education venues, Bartnik has creatively taught children and adults about the environment. As a teacher, Bartnik leads by example and encourages everyone to develop a deep appreciation for the natural world through the Aquarium’s environmental education programs. He always combines his knowledge of biology and science with a sense of humor. As a result, Bartnik is able to gently lead students through activities designed to raise their environmental awareness, increase their knowledge and inform their decision-making.

Besides his contributions at the Tennessee Aquarium, Bartnik has served TEEA in many leadership capacities over the years, including those of President, Treasurer and Newsletter Editor. “TEEA is indeed fortunate to have benefitted from George Bartnik’s dedication,” said Karen Hargrove, TEEA past president. “We are proud to publicly honor him for his distinguished service as an environmental educator.”

The Tennessee Environmental Education Association (TEEA) is a non-profit organization that, for over 30 years, works to increase public awareness of the environment and to prepare both current and future citizens to make knowledgeable decisions regarding environmental issues.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gloomy Weather Can Provide Great Views

October is normally one of Chattanooga's driest months. Not this year. The seemingly perpetual rains have made us appreciate the glimpses of blue sky we have been getting lately. Usually, the blue above us appears endless this time of year. But gloomy weather can often provide great opportunities for viewing wildlife. And that's certainly been the case aboard the River Gorge Explorer this week. Thanks to Captain Thomas Offutt who sent these pictures of deer and turkey near the edge of the Tennessee River on Monday's cruise. Captain Offutt had this to say about the recent sightings, "The weather was overcast and rainy and we still had a great day spotting wildlife. Also saw an immature eagle but the pics are not that good. Saw ANOTHER Bald Eagle on sunday but the photos are just average."
Scroll down to read about this past weekend's Hawk Watch cruise.

Hopefully the best is still ahead. Fall colors are beginning to show along the mountain tops near Chattanooga. Dogwoods and a few maples are quite showy right now, but the bright colors are rather sparse currently. Autumn chill will be felt as things dry out over the weekend perhaps offering an opportunity to view wildlife and blue sky at the same time within the Tennessee River Gorge.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thrills, Gills and Chills On The Road

Some cool critters ventured out of the Aquarium today to visit everyone at Birmingham's ABC 33/40 today. Animal Encounter Specialist Laura Lomenick introduced anchors Tracy Haynes and Linda Mays to a few of the critters you can meet at the Tennessee Aquarium. Take a look:

We want to thank everyone at ABC 33/40 for their hospitality!

Come visit Chatta-BOO-ga for some memorable fun in October.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Great Hawk Watch Cruise

Thanks to David Rose who sent this osprey image to share with everyone. Look closely and you'll see that his raptor was successful catching a rather large fish. It's a great image to go along with the reports from the River Gorge Explorer crew. A special Hawk Watch cruise took place on Saturday and evidently several birds made great appearances.

Here is one report from Aquarium naturalist John Dever: "Saturday's raptor cruise went very well highlighted by comfortable conditions and the appearance of two immature bald eagles,one chased by a cooper's hawk, several kingfishers, one osprey, several wild turkeys, crows, jays and two sandpipers. The onboared computer has a great new raptor slideshow that we made good use of with Aquarium bird expert Kevin Calhoon telling passengers about the specifics of each species. To top it all off , two mature bald eagles appeared on our return past Brown's Ferry."

October can be a great time to check out these awesome birds of prey and spectacular fall color. Here's a view of last year's scenery taken by Jerry Waddell of Video Ideas in Chattanooga:

Book your seats for fall color cruises aboard the River Gorge Explorer here:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tennessee Aquarium Honored with IMLS National Medal

A group of first grade students from the Chattanooga School for Arts and Sciences were among the school groups visiting the Tennessee Aquarium today. It was very fun to watch these youngsters inside the Ocean Journey building having the time of their lives. Lively discussions and laughter could be heard among them as they were touching stingrays, exploring the Butterfly Garden, watching penguins and asking our divers questions. They're studying a unit on oceans right now and this timely visit made the classroom lessons something they could literally put their hands on. This one visit to the Aquarium will likely be an experience many of them will remember for a lifetime.

Partly as a result of its tremendous educational impact, The Tennessee Aquarium has been named a recipient of the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries. The annual award, made by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) since 1994, recognizes institutions for outstanding social, educational, environmental, or economic contributions to their communities.

“Every day, the Tennessee Aquarium makes a real difference in their community,” said IMLS Director Anne-Imelda M. Radice. “Their exemplary programs respond to community challenges, positively impact people’s lives, and serve as model for the nation’s museums and libraries. I applaud their outstanding efforts and encourage others to follow their example.”

Most of us remember what the downtown Chattanooga area was like prior to the Aquarium. And it's nothing short of remarkable what has happened in the Scenic City since then. So while we are celebrating this top honor, we'd like to recognize everyone who played a role in the Aquarium's achievements.

"The Tennessee Aquarium is deeply honored to receive the National Medal and is proud of its long history of service to Chattanooga and the surrounding region," said Charlie Arant, the Aquarium’s president and CEO. "The Tennessee Aquarium has been leading the way in education, conservation, economic development and tourism since 1992. This award is a tribute to our staff, trustees, volunteers and community supporters who work tirelessly to help us connect people with nature in a meaningful way."

Only three other aquariums have been honored with the National Medal in the past. They are:
John G. Shedd Aquarium – Chicago, IL, Year: 2006
The New England Aquarium – Boston, MA, Year: 2001
National Aquarium in Baltimore – Baltimore, MD, Year: 1997

Other cities are also celebrating amazing success stories. In addition to the Tennessee Aquarium, other recipients of the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service are the:
· Braille Institute of America Library, Los Angeles, CA
· Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, PA
· Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, Cincinnati, OH
· Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL
· Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN
· Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
· Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa, FL
· Pritzker Military Library, Chicago, IL
· Stark County District Library, Canton, OH

Thanks everyone for supporting the Tennessee Aquarium!