Thursday, June 24, 2010

Field Trip Friday: Tennessee Aquarium

It's that time again. Have you been on a field trip this week that you'd like to share?

This week’s Field Trip Friday is actually from an outing that we took as a family on Father’s Day Weekend. Summer has been met with some incredibly hot temperatures and as hard as I tried to convince my husband to spend 3 or 4 hours hiking in the humid outdoors, he just wasn’t going for it. Nope. Instead, he suggested that we trek via van to Chattanooga to visit the Tennessee Aquarium and he couldn’t have made a better suggestion.

The Tennessee Aquarium is voted one of the highest rated aquariums in the United States and we could quickly see why. Spanning two buildings, plus a separate IMAX movie theater, the complex is amazing! We started our visit in the River Journey but if you’ve never been here and get a chance to visit, I’d recommend not following our lead. Of the two buildings, the river was by far the most spectacular. After our self guided tour, we were disappointed in the Ocean Journey and couldn’t believe it was over. So, just my two cents…if this attraction is in your neck of the woods, or you find yourself passing through Chattanooga don’t forget that the River Journey is the best so make sure you save that for last.

We began our tour with a quick look around the Seahorse exhibit. I’ve always found seahorses fascinating so we had to stop and try to take a few pictures but it was a bit difficult to get a good look because it was so crowded in this area.

Next we rode an escalator up and up and up to begin our River Journey experience high in the mountains. After all, that is where the Tennessee River begins and this building is devoted to the grand river from beginning to end in the Mississippi Delta and everything in between.

It does look like you're in the mountains though, doesn't it? For a few minutes we could pretend that we really were hiking in the outdoors...without the heat! Who can beat that?

We saw otters...

...and Trout...

...and touched Sturgeon

We watched the divers feeding the Stingray...

My kids were fascinated...

Did I mention that the tanks are like four stories high? They seem to go on forever!

Exiting the building there was a nice display of art known in the Tennessee River Region and we were excited to recognize these pieces that look like Jerry Brown Pottery.

Next we began our Ocean Journey...
where we saw Macaws...

Touched Stingray...

...and passed through the butterfly exhibit...

On the way to see these cute little gentlemen...the penguins...

We saw a huge jelly fish exhibit...speaking of which, my son got stung by one when we were in Virginia Beach...not fun...

There was a neat art exhibit incorporated into the aquarium...

I just love blown glass...

The Ocean Journey also had huge tanks with tortoises, thousands of species of fish and a few sharks but the tanks certainly weren't as massive as they had been along the River Journey. Even so, this was an incredible place to visit. A bit pricey for a family, but it takes money to operate an aquarium too. We found that purchasing an annual membership was less expensive than it would have been to pay a single time admission since we now pay adult prices for each of our children. Now we can go back as much as we like, plus we get the benefit of a reciprocal admission to other attractions.

We skipped the IMAX movie but found that we still spent about 3 to 3 1/2 hours at the aquarium. I don't think I need to tell you where the bulk of our time was spent.

If you live near Chattanooga or are planning a trip to this amazing city, you may want to take a peak at the special pricing the aquarium is offering for the Homeschool Day this September. In fact, I plan to go back with the kids for the behind the scenes tour at that time.

Thank you for stopping by for this week's edition of Field Trip Friday. If you're just joining us make sure you take a peek at some of the other excursions we've taken.

Have a field trip that you'd like to share? Link up to Field Trip Friday below. It's not mandatory, but I'd be grateful if you'd include a link back here in your original post and feel free to grab your cute button:


  1. I so want to take Selena to the Seattle Aquarium! It looks like everyone really enjoyed this trip!

  2. Wow that looks like SUCH a cool aquarium! I just love aquariums and I've been to some pretty good I thought...until I just saw where you went LOL.

  3. My parents visited Chattanooga, and they told us they really thought we would like to visit there (including the aquarium). It has been on our short list!

  4. We haven't been to the Aquarium in Chattanooga yet. I think if we go we will just skip the Ocean portion.

    When we lived in California we had a membership to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and after that, I'm not sure anything could compare.

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  6. Looks like a great time was had by all. Haven't been here in maybe 10 years, but enjoyed it when we were there.

  7. What a neat aquarium! I love the jelly fish exhibit!

    From your mini-crew.

  8. Looks like a wonderful aquarium! You took some beautiful pictures. I love seahorses too. We stopped at an aquarium in LA and they had sea dragons, which are gorgeous feathery seahorses...I'm hoping to be organized enough to link up this Friday, at last. We'll see...


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