Home to more than 12,000 animals representing almost 800 species, the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a non-profit public aquarium. Because of its location on the banks of the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga, the aquarium offers a unique ‘river journey,’ which follows the life cycle of a single raindrop flowing from a mountaintop stream, to a creek, to a lazy river, and finally joining the ocean. Along the river journey exhibits offer a closer look at the habitats found along the route, beginning with an ‘Appalachian Cove Forest’ and finishing with ‘Seahorses: Beyond Imagination.’
There’s also an ‘ocean journey’ for guests to participate in. You can even pet several different stingray species! ‘Stingray Bay,’ where more than 100 feet of shoreline is filled with lush flowers and greenery, birdsong, and waterfalls, is the aquarium’s largest touch station. There’s also a butterfly garden with exotic flowers and hundreds of free-flying butterflies. The aquarium is home to otters, penguins, colorful frogs, turtles, and fish galore — including sharks.
The Tennessee Aquarium, consistently rated one of the nation’s top aquariums, has two buildings to explore: River Journey, with local and global freshwater habitats; and Ocean Journey, with exhibits featuring critters from the Gulf of Mexico to the South Pole. Admission includes both buildings, with in-and-out privileges. The average visit length is 2.5 hours.