|If you are looking for relaxing fun in Chattanooga
there is one special place that offers the best of both
worlds. It is exciting and fun but it also offers a
perfect way to spend a relaxing day.
Aquarium opened May 1,
1992 as the world's largest freshwater aquarium but that was
just the beginning. In May 2005, the city of Chattanooga
unveiled its completed $120 million dollar Waterfront Project.
Since then it has just
continued to be an imspiration to other Chattanooga attractions.
|Chattanooga's skyline from the
river showing the Aquarium buildings
You begin your River Journey on the fourth
floor with the Seahorse Exhibit. If you always thought seahorses
were all alike think again. Just watching the playful otters
splash their way in a forest cove is guaranteed to lower you
blood pressure and make you smile.
|Otters frolic at Chattanooga
Aquarium Credit Martin Walls
Enter the steamy backwaters of the
Mississippi Delta and observe the interaction of alligators,
turtles, wading birds and other wildlife that make up the
complex web of life in the steamy swamplands.
|Fish swimming in the aquarium
look like you could almost reach out and touch them
Credit Martin Walls
Glimpse the variety of life that inhabits
the rivers of the world. You can actually touch a prehistoric
sturgeon or watch giant catfish skim along a river bottom. When
you are saturated in freshwater wonders, move on, as do the
rivers of the world, to the Ocean Journey.
Ocean Journey is Chattanooga Aquarium's
second phase. The aquarium is housed in two stunning buildings
whose peaked glass spires add a distinctive touch to
|One of the colorful flying
jewels in the Aquarium's Butterfly Garden Credit
It's hard to choose which you will like
better. The original aquarium is larger but the Ocean Journey
is so packed with color
and adventure. From the tiny flying jewels in the butterfly
garden that actually alight on your body to the huge sharks that
you can actually touch, this is an adventure into another
dimension. View the immense beauty of a coral reef teeming with
thousands of colorful fish, barracuda and shark to tiny minnows
as only a diver could. Marvel at the Boneless Beauties Gallery
where exotic sea life ranging from tiny luminous jellyfish to
huge Pacific Octopus await you.
An IMAX theater is also part of the
Chattanooga Aquarium's newest attraction is
a perfect treatment for
those visitors who have had a hyper day. You have rushed around
visiting lots of attractions. You are wound up tighter than an
over coiled spring. Didn't you come on vacation to relax? Then
you board the Chattanooga Aquarium's River Gorge Explorer.
|An egret struts along the bank
of the Tennessee River
You take a seat and stare out at the blue
sky overhead, the water gently rocks you until the boat takes
off. You no longer have to worry about traffic and getting
anywhere on schedule. Then you are skimming along. You begin to
The boat is a three million dollar creation
that can seat 70 passengers inside the main deck and had an
upper observation deck if you want to be outside under the sky.
It was designed in New Zeeland. The 65′ aluminum catamaran high
speed tour boat was constructed by All American Marine in
Washington state and took a full year to build. It was brought
around Pacific through the Panama Canal then to Fort Lauderdale
and into the Gulf of Mexico, into Mobile Bay up the Tombigbee,
into the Tennessee River and
to its berth in Chattanooga. It is a one of a kind boat.
|Talk about a mansion on a hill!
The naturalist, Betsy, explains that you
will cruise at top speeds until you reach the Tennessee River
Gorge and will cover about 500,000,000 years over the next two
hours. The boat is the fastest tour boat on the river but will
slow and stop for interesting sights along the way. It can turn
almost in its own length. The bank is covered with interesting
cliffs and greenery The boat slows to watch a wading bird near
the shore. You spot a osprey flying overhead. Now this is what a
vacation should be like.
There are coyotes, deer, chipmunks, and
countless other species of wildlife along the banks. You are in
the in an area of
one of the highest biodiversity in the county. There is a 550
feet difference in elevation as you travel east to west. You are
looking out on the Cumberland Plateau. Off the bow, you can see
famed Lookout Mountain.
This is some of the prettiest real estate
you will find. Naturally there are some gorgeous homes perched
on the cliffs high above the river. One white mansion is
By the time the boat returns to its dock,
you know this is why you choose Chattanooga for your vacation
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