Tennessee Aquarium - River Journey & Ocean Journey - the two architectural masterpieces sit on the shores of the Tennessee River their glass pyramids atop brick help to define the already picturesque downtown landscape of Chattanooga. In 2013, the aquarium welcomed its 20 millionth visitor. As of 2015, it ranks 4th best aquarium in the States / 8th best in the world by TripAdvisor. Just having visited & having been to many aquariums in the States & worldwide, I recommend it as a rare experience to view many singularly unique animals & aquatic life.
River Journey Building was the world's largest freshwater aquarium. It's exhibits include: Appalachian Cove Forest with River Otter Falls where otters are seen at their antics & play. Delta Country has creatures such as alligators & alligator snapping turtles from the Mississippi River delta. Rivers of the World features aquatic life from the Congo, Fly, Amazon, & other rivers. In this gallery, the electric eel is a favorite of many. The Tennessee River gallery includes the American paddle fish and channel catfish.
My personal favorite was the River Giants gallery with alligator gar, sleek-looking pangasius related to both catfish & sharks, & the very fascinating arapaima -- an amazonian fish that grows to a whopping 15 feet in length. Their silvery anodized heads like alien-ware or a computer chip surface - and red on black scales painted like fire are unpenetrable even by piranha. They draw such awe that locals call them dragon fish. Another unique fact on arapaima is that though a fish they are obligated to breathe air since the amazon waters they live in can contain insufficient amounts of oxygen. But this difference also gives them certain advantages over other species.
Ocean Journey Building though similar to many oceanic aquariums I've previously visited did not disappoint either. They had penguins, a touch tank of small sharks & rays which were far slimier than we had imagined, a butterfly garden, etc...But most impressive was their Boneless Beauties & Jellies: Living Art gallery section. The jellyfish there resembled live heiroglyphs or mysterious characters ever changing against their backgrounds. The moon jelly murals took my memories to a surf session where one brushed against my face...a little heat, but not much sting.
Live broadcasts of their secret reef cam & other cameras are available at previous link.
Tennessee Aquarium runs two offsite facilities. The River Gorge Explorer a 65-foot catamaran tour boat provides tours of the Tennessee River Gorge boarding at Ross's Landing not far off. They run the local IMAX 3D Theater - two among their current films are Humpback Whales & Jerusalem. Other group rates, yearly membership, events, promotions, & multi-package discount info may be obtained via their website.
Tennessee Aquarium - yet another reason to live & love in Greater Chattanooga!