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Tennessee Aquarium

Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga

The Tennessee Aquarium in downtown Chattanooga was an extraordinary trip, well worth the admission. They have 2 separate buildings that you start your tour at the top and make your way down. The first of the two would be the freshwater exhibits. At the top of the freshwater exhibits, you are greeted by trout, salmon, and beautiful waterfall features. As you make your way down to the next tier, you hear the throaty calls of baby alligators.

Baby Alligator

In that same room, we even got to “pet” sturgeon as they swam in a touch tank. How cool is that?! They were a bit boney and hard feeling, with just a touch of slick to their skin. Very docile creatures that didn’t mind being handled.
As you made your way through, the next stop was the bayou. In the bayou, they had red ear slider turtles, alligator snapping turtles, and my all time favorite: The American Alligator! The ages ranged from 3-5 years old, so these babies were anywhere from 2.5 to 5 feet in length. Each one had their own special markings and tags, and had no issues with us staring and taking their photos. As we were in the bayou, an aquarium worker brought out a ball python for the children to pet and hold, and gave a wonderful education speech about pythons and all snakes in general.

Making our way towards lower levels, we found more and more freshwater species that were simply fascinating. I think my favorite fish of the group was the albino alligator gar, that measured 15 feet In length. That’s on the small side for these guys, as they can grow upwards of 20 feet! Insane to think that he was dwarfed by several other freshwater species in the tank.

As we went to the top of the Ocean building, we were greeted by screeching lemurs. They sat high in the tree like decorations and called out to each other across the building. They were quick to hide when spotted, but watched you curiously from a distance. On that same level was a large 30×25 touch tank FILLED with rays of all shapes and sizes. Some of them acted like puppies, begging to be pet and loving the attention.