Friday, November 27, 2009

Great holiday gift idea. Quite a bargain for your family.

There's a lot of magic at the Tennessee Aquarium. You see it on the faces of visitors every day. After simply watching the way a jellyfish pulses gracefully or observing penguins waddle across a rocky shoreline to grab a fish causes the eyes to widen. Suddenly, sharks aren't the only ones displaying big, toothy smiles.

Aquarium members get to enjoy these moments time and time again. Take the Anderson Family for example. That's Luke Anderson above enjoying an Ocean Journey outing. His family has received a Tennessee Aquarium gift membership for several years. Luke's mom Vicki explains: “My son loves going to places where there’s something to learn about. From the geometric designs on the turtle shells to the behavior of the otters, there’s always something new and fun to learn about at the Aquarium.”

Vicki cannot say enough about what the gift of a family membership, given by her own mom, means to her family. She describes their membership as “A thoughtful gift, a great deal and a memory-maker that lasts a long time.”

Mother as well as grandmother Mary Brown also takes pride in giving this unique gift each year. She explains, “You can’t go wrong. It’s a win-win.” She encourages everyone to consider an Aquarium membership as a gift for the upcoming holiday season, or any time of the year for that matter. “When you give a membership as a gift, not only are you giving a fun and unique gift, but you are also supporting the Aquarium’s many conservation efforts, like the reintroduction of lake sturgeon in the Tennessee River,” Mary said. “As someone who is giving a membership, you help the Aquarium with its mission of conservation while giving someone close to you a unique experience that lasts all year.”

You can purchase a gift membership by logging on to or by calling the Membership office at 423-267-FISH (3474), Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Purchase a family gift membership now through December 20th and receive four IMAX tickets.

Purchase a individual plus gift membership now through December 20th and receive two IMAX tickets.

Sign someone up today… they’ll be glad you did!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Preparing an Aquarium Feast - Happy Thanksgiving!

This scrumptious platter of seafood might not be what your guests would like to see served tomorrow, but it's an enjoyable feast for the animals at the Tennessee Aquarium. While you might have been making out a grocery list including a big turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries and pumpkin pie our chefs have a somewhat different list.

The Tennessee Aquarium's animals consume nearly 45,000 pounds of restaurant quality seafood each year. But our chefs don't just stop in the seafood isle. They have to cruise the produce section and spend some time in what might be termed, "the specialty food" isle.

Want to amaze your friends and family at the Thanksgiving table this year? Toss out a few of these tasty trivia facts while you're scooping out a second helping of green bean casserole.

Each year, the Tennessee Aquarium's:
Birds eat 832,000 meal worms
Turtles and fish eat 5,616 heads of romaine lettuce
Frogs, salamanders & newts eat 40,000 crickets
Macaws eat 681 pounds of grapes
Butterflies eat 1,056 oranges
Penguins eat 10,800 pounds of capelin

Aquarist Jake Steventon, (see above) hand feeds a beluga sturgeon. Just like the hard work that goes into your Thanksgiving feast, long hours are spent by the Aquarium's husbandry staff and volunteers preparing and delivering well-balanced diets to every animal in each exhibit. Except at the Aquarium the feast happens every day!

Cuttlefish have one of the more unusual feeding behaviors seen at the Aquarium. Catch a glimpse in this video.

Bring your family to enjoy a "Tropical Holiday Adventure" this weekend! Put on your chef's hat. Maybe you can serve up some shrimp to a stingray or shark.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bart Simpson Orchid?

DOH! It looks like Bart Simpson has found a way to sneak into the Tennessee Aquarium and make a special Tropical Holiday Adventure appearance. This particular orchid appears to feature the famous cartoon trouble-maker. Our horticulture staff has placed several magnifying glasses around inside the Tropical Cove for visitors to inspect some of the smaller blooms. Many appear to have tiny faces, although this is the only plant with a celebrity bloom.

This weekend is an excellent time to enjoy the Tennessee Aquarium and Chattanooga Riverfront with family and friends. The Aquarium's Tropical Holiday Adventure offers plenty of relaxing and fun options:

And get set for the Grand Illumination on the River, Friday, November 27th from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. This free event features a Holiday Market, Lighted Boat Parade, Singing Santa and a fireworks finale.

More details available here:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Youcan Save This Weekend

Everyone at the Tennessee Aquarium is getting ready for the kickoff weekend of our "Tropical Holiday Adventure" which runs November 20th through January 3rd. Every day we have special programs to help you relax and enjoy a break during a season that can be a bit hectic.

“Ho, Ho, H20” daily schedule - Nov. 20, 2009 - Jan. 3, 2010(The Aquarium is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.)
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. – Animal Encounters every hour in both Aquarium buildings. Locations and animals vary throughout the day.
10:15 a.m. – Help keepers surface feed stingrays & bamboo sharks – Ocean Journey – Tropical Cove, Shark Island, Level 4
10:30 a.m. – Delight in the first flight of butterflies when they are released into a lush tropical garden – Ocean Journey – Butterfly Garden, Level 4
11 a.m. – Talk to tropical “Santa” divers as they take you on a shark-filled journey through spectacular coral formations – Ocean Journey -- Secret Reef, Level 2
11:15a.m. - You otter chill out with the river otters during “enrichment” time. See what happens when treats, ice and toys mix with two playful otters – River Journey – Cove Forest, Level 4
11:30 a.m. - Talk to tropical “Santa” divers as they take you on a shark-filled journey through spectacular coral formations – Ocean Journey -- Secret Reef, Level 2
1 p.m. -- Get a gander at one of the real “Parrot Heads,” the highly social hyacinth macaw, during this program that explores the bold behaviors and adaptations of the largest member of the parrot family – Ocean Journey – Tropical Cove, Level 4
2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. -- Talk to tropical “Santa” divers as they take you on a shark-filled journey through spectacular coral formations – Ocean Journey -- Secret Reef, Level 2
3:30 p.m. -- Join the seahorses for their version of “Slurpin’ a Cheeseburger in Paradise” and discover what these steeds of the deep really eat – River Journey, Level A
4 p.m. – Surround yourself with butterflies and meet their perfect complement, crested wood partridges living under the trees - Ocean Journey – Butterfly Garden, Level 4

Recently the newest star of our animal encounter program, the green aracari, made his public debut. This tiny member of the toucan family has a big personality and was a big hit with the first group of visitors who met him. Take a look:

Because you read this blog, youcan save on a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium this weekend. Twocan visit for the price of one.

Just follow this link to a special coupon:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just for fun.

Once in awhile something unexpected shows up in the mail that makes you smile. These two pictures were dropped off Sunday at guest services by some visitors. Apparently Alexis and Ashley had a lot of fun in the Ocean Journey building. I think they did a great job drawing the Tropical Cove area, including the Butterfly Garden. I'll have to walk over this afternoon to see if I can spot the stingray they decided to name "Goober."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gearing up for a Tropical Holiday Adventure

Thanks to Chattanooga photographer David Humber for this gorgeous image of "Amy," one of the Aquarium's hyacinth macaws. These birds really stand out from the lush green setting of the Tropical Cove and their playfulness attracts a ton of attention. Many visitors will also spend some extra time enjoying the beautiful blooms of the orchids inside the Ocean Journey building. Right now the Aquarium horticulture staff is on a mission to add to this colorful display by selecting more orchid species to showcase in the Tropical Cove. The new plants will bloom at various times throughout the year, some species several times each year, ensuring guests have more vivid hues to gaze upon. So get ready to relax and enjoy "Santa" divers, special animal encounters, a daily lineup of keeper talks and special programs during the Aquarium's Tropical Holiday Adventure November 20th through January 3rd. The new orchids will help add some color to this fun-filled event. Here's a sneak peak:

According to horticulturist Charlene Nash, these plants are not as difficult to care for as most people think. So if you'd like to liven up your home with a brightly colored orchid, or give an orchid as a gift, here's a great event for you.

Tropical Holiday Adventure Orchid Preview
Thursday, Nov. 19, 5:30-7:30 pm.
Fees: $5/Member; $15/Non-Member

This special evening includes admission to Ocean Journey with an opportunity to view our new display of exotic and rare orchids in the beautiful Tropical Cove as you enjoy complimentary light appetizers and a cash bar. Aquarium horticulturist Charlene Nash will be available to provide insight about these colorful new blooms and you will have an opportunity to purchase one for your own home or as a unique holiday gift before they are made available to the general public on November 20. Proceeds will benefit the horticulture department at the Tennessee Aquarium. Click Events at to register. No refunds will be available.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Flash Food Warning Issued for Downtown Chattanooga

Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) and Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) watch in amazement while it rains hamburgers in Sony Pictures Animation's CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS.
Photo By: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

This is going to be great. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is coming to the giant screen at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater beginning this Friday, November 6th.

Sony Pictures Animation’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs began life in 1978 as a children’s book written by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett, which now has over a million copies in print. With its charming, visually inventive style, absurdist sense of humor, and fantastic premise – a town where food falls from the sky! – it seemed a foregone conclusion that the book would be adapted into an animated movie. But no one was quite able to do it until writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller came along and found inspiration from a seemingly obvious source – the book itself.

“We thought, wow, that would be a great action movie,” says Lord. “All of the events in the film would be very, very silly, but the characters would take them all very, very seriously.” And you’d take it seriously, too, if a giant spaghetti tornado threatened your town, as it does to Swallow Falls. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs represents the ultimate in food fun and mayhem.

Another crowd favorite will be making a return to the IMAX 3D Theater for the holidays. Polar Express 3D pulls into downtown Chattanooga on November 20th and will run through January 7th. Many people have made seeing this film a family tradition. It is certainly a wonderful experience on the six-story IMAX screen.