By: Hanna Bradford
CHATTANOOGA,Tenn. (AP) – In the heart of Chattanooga is the beloved Tennessee Aquarium, sitting right next to the famous Tennessee River. With its intriguing geometrical build, and inviting experience for all ages, the Tennessee Aquarium has been a well-known and admired attraction in Chattanooga, Tennessee for thirty years now.
According to the Tennessee Encyclopedia, the Tennessee Aquarium replicates “the habitats of over 7,000 fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and insects that rely on the river for survival.”
“The Aquarium has always been a go-to place for my family and me,” says Jessie Schewe, a long-time season pass holder at the Aquarium. “My youngest could spend hours in the Ocean Journey, and we always look forward to bringing home a book or stuffed animal from the gift shop!” The Aquarium is the perfect place for kids to learn and play at the same time, Jessie says.
The Tennessee Aquarium is for all ages, with exciting habitats and informational plaques guiding its visitors through both the River Journey and the Ocean Journey. With the Aquarium being only minutes from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s campus, it makes for the perfect study break and weekend plans for college students.
Ben Walker, a junior at UTC, enjoys spending his weekends with his friends there. “The Aquarium is the perfect spot for college kids. Not only do you get to enjoy the attractions in the Aquarium itself, but it is placed in the liveliness of downtown, keeping my friends and I busy for the majority of the day.”
The Aquarium is placed right in front of Broad Street, which has many restaurants and stores to spend your time in. The Tennessee River is also behind the Aquarium, giving its guests the opportunity to appreciate the river all the critters in the Aquarium belong to. Ben’s says his favorite restaurant to visit after his trip to the Aquarium is Mellow Mushroom.
The Tennessee Aquarium’s mission is to “connect people with nature and empower them to make informed decisions about water and wildlife,” according to the Aquarium’s website. While it is a fun place to hang out and explore, the Aquarium is also dedicated to educating the public on the importance of protecting wildlife. With its exciting atmosphere, the Tennessee Aquarium has worked to give Chattanooga a deeper purpose than before.
“Chattanooga has definitely changed since the Aquarium opened back in 1992,” says Patti Davis, a Chattanooga local. For the last thirty years, Patti has seen how the Aquarium has changed the dynamic of her city. “These days, we see more tourists who will travel just to experience the Aquarium. I think it has been a great contribution to Chattanooga, and I’m sure our economy doesn’t mind it much either.” Patti also enjoys taking her grandchildren to visit when they come to town.
Patti has a point about the economy thriving since the Aquarium came to town. According to AP News, “The aquarium’s success has since spurred the addition of other riverfront attractions, restaurants, hotels and housing developments. A new economic study estimates the aquarium has pumped nearly $4.9 billion into Chattanooga’s economy since 1992.”
With its interesting geometrical figure and multi-faceted purpose, the Tennessee Aquarium is right at home in the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee.