Richard Lunsford   

            The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga is a large, very popular public exhibition facility chronicling the course of the Tennessee River from its origins in the Cove Forests of the Great Smokey Mountains of Eastern Tennessee down through the mountains, middle reaches, swamps and lakes to its final passage into the Gulf of Mexico. The Tennessee Aquarium also displays exhibits of the ‘Rivers of the World,’ beautifully crafted naturalistic enclosures with a variety of foreign wildlife. It sports one of the best public collections of both North American and foreign turtles in the U.S.A. & is a popular tour site for turtle enthusiasts.


            Chattanooga is a medium-sized city with a number of attractions, including Ruby Falls and Rock City. It’s in the Eastern Time Zone (part of Tennessee is on Eastern time, part on Central time).


            The Tennessee Aquarium is open 7 days/week. It takes about 3 – 4 hours to work your way through it the first time, if you’re taking photo.s. The permanent exhibit trek starts on top of the building in the Cove Forest and winds its way down to the ground floor where you pass the gift shop before exiting. The Tennessee Aquarium also features temporary exhibits on display for months on end; past exhibits have included a jellyfish exhibit, Striking Beauties (venomous species of many kinds, from the giant Peruvian centipede to the black mamba) and at this writing Sea Horses (including both weedy & leafy sea dragons!). The two temporary exhibits I’ve seen so far were very enjoyable & you should find out what’s offered when you plan to go.


Let’s take a look at the permanent exhibits. Not all these tanks are in the exact order you’ll encounter them. Exhibits may change over time so there’s no guarantee you’ll see a given animal when you go. I apologize for any photo.s placed in the wrong section; I’ve taken photo.s on several trips here. By the way, here’s a photography tip; flash glare tends to be awful on those large cylindrical acrylic tanks. Try to shoot not just at a horizontal angle, but also downward or strongly upwards (shooting upward you can easily get an awful flash reflection in the pic).


I.)                 Entrance – You enter into a large open area. As you head for the main exhibits, note the huge carapace on the wall. That’s the world’s largest turtle, Stupendemys geographicus, that inhabited South American rivers 10 million years ago. This auditorium includes murals (including one of a trio of map turtles, at least one yellow blotched, that’d make great shirts) & inspirational sayings (a Kenyan Proverb is quoted, “Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children.” Odds are, you’ll start out my taking an escalator down to view one of the elaborate temporary exhibits (Sea Horses at this time), or at least to hit the bath rooms.



II.)               Temporary Exhibits – These tend to run for months, even over a year, & are a very real value-added part of your trip. At the time of this writing, the current exhibit is ‘Seahorses; Beyond Imagination’ (an impressive series of artificial reef tanks with fauna from specific regions of the world,) but in the past Striking Beauties (venomous creatures) and a jelly fish exhibit. I’ll not dwell on them since they’re temporary, but whatever they’ve got going at the time, you’ll like it. After you leave the temporary exhibit, you’ll take an escalator to the Cove Forest exhibit at the top of the building. Over the escalator are video monitors showing running water, and making running water sounds. Unless you already hit the bathroom, you’ll have to pee by the time you get up this.


III.)            Cove Forest – Posted literature claims cove forests are shrouded in mist, showered by almost constant rain and are small, secluded rain forests. Welcome to the mountainous origin of the Tennessee River. The facility roof has been modeled to resemble a rich mountain cove forest with a water fall and stream. An overhead framework covers all this. The area is periodically misted so it may be ‘foggy’ around the otter pool when you pass through. You enter on a walk between massive rock walls with vegetation & synthetic trees. This leads to the large otter pool, to the right of which is the water fall & brook trout pool. To your left are stairs taking you up to a raised area with a log-like terrarium & a view of the forest exhibit. Their posted information indicates cove forest is misty & receives almost constant rainfall.

a.       Snake Tank – a forest terrarium featuring a timber rattle snake as well as Northern copperheads and black rat snakes. Pleasingly set into the stone wall & designed with a temperate forest motif.


b.      Log Tank – terraria enclosed in a large synthetic ‘dead’ log holding an Eastern milk snake and a corn snake. The log has a somewhat smooth, muddy look (which brings fiberglass to mind, but I’m unsure what it’s made of).


c.       Tree Tank – a terrarium built into a synthetic tree holding a Northern pine snake.


d.      Mountain Stream & Waterfall – includes a large pool for the pair of river otters (which swim out intermittently), a view of a water fall and a Brook Trout pool (rainbow, brown & brook trout are listed). The clean, somewhat turbulent water of this rocky mountain stream/otter pool is just plain beautiful. Some of the trout have elongated faces resembling salmon. Tucked somewhat out of the way left of the otter pool is the land enclosure for them, lit by red light.


e.       As you leave, you pass a tank with a variety of richly colored & beautiful shiners & chubs of varied species. You walk past a tank that lets you see into the otter pool from underwater. There’s another tank (not pictured in the gallery) with other small fish, including chubs, and the Northern Spring Salamander.


IV.)            Mountain Stream – This long tank duplicates the cold clear high-oxygen running water of a flowing mountain stream and is densely packed with trout swimming against the current (& not only trout; the Northern Hog Sucker, White sucker, river chub, central stoneroller & others are listed).


V.)              Mountain Sink – This tank simulates the deep mountain sink (or plunge pool) regions where water has eroded away softer rock to create deep places (such as falling water would do at the base of a water fall or rapids). There are several trout here. It’s a very deep albeit not as ‘big around’ tank with a  rocky posterior wall. The first tank you’ll notice you could drown in…


VI.)            Discovery Hall – This is a varied collection of interesting U.S. tanks. Turtle Forum members will want to see the yellow-blotched map turtles. There’s a brackish water tank with a sub-adult diamondback terrapin as you exit, but it’s often hidden or otherwise not in good view.


a.       About 4 thickly planted tanks with small fish (sunfish, etc…). These gorgeous planted tanks are breathtaking & may inspire you to consider a planted tank of your own.

b.      A swamp tank with a pair of baby alligators. It has large driftwood sticking out of partially duckweed-covered ‘black water’ with a mulch bottom. They also have some water hyacinth.

c.       A large cylindrical tank with at least 2 yellow-blotched map turtles, sun fish and a small gar (they at least used to have a redfin pickerel). This tank has a central ‘dead wood’ tree/log the turtles move up & down & rest on near the surface, surrounded by large grass-like plants (?Jungle Valisneria?) which have a lot of green hair algae on their leaves. The map turtles have a lot of algae on their shells.

d.      Tree frog tank – with green, gray and barking treefrogs as well as red-spotted newts. The newts are in the black water & you’ll miss them if you don’t look. The bottom of the tank contains a few inches of water, again with some sort of mulch like the alligator tank.

e.       Prawn Tank – Painted River Prawn (Macrobrachium carcinus) - Coastal Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, Northern S. America. A simple shallow tank with a gravel base, designed to be viewed from above.

f.        Hellbender Tank - Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis). Another shallow, flattened tank designed for view from above.

g.       A large cylindrical tank with many juvenile paddlefish. I don’t like this barren tank where they can’t swim far without having to change direction.

h.       Sturgeon Encounter – they swim in a circular exhibit where visitors can reach in & touch them (feels something like rubbing a dogfish; quite rough). The water is quite cold.

i.         Brackish Tank – This one has a sub-adult diamondback terrapin and generally has a somewhat ‘marine’ look. The DBT is often hidden or otherwise hard to see so getting good photographs is hard.


VII.)         Delta Country – a huge & gorgeous exhibit duplicating the swamps of the Southeastern United States. This area displays many native U.S. turtles in naturalistic habitats, including examples of large female cooters and a massive male alligator snapper. It is subtly divided into sections (I think 2 and 3 can be crossed overland; I’m guessing part of the separation is to prevent predation).

a.       Section 1: This swamp setting features basking fallen logs over water hyacinth and a few feet of water. It features basking map turtles, particularly females, and even a cooter or two.


b.      Section 2: This section contains basking fallen logs and vegetation but contains large cooters. I believe I’ve seen the adult alligator in this section; I think there’s cross-over potential between sections 2 and 3. This is a great place to take a long, hard look at how long, thick & generally massive adult female cooters can be, and what sort of habitat one might wish to provide.


c.       Section 3: This section contains a mid-sized American Alligator, a massive male alligator snapper, 2 female alligator snappers and at least one large cooter. The acrylic barrier is high enough to prevent any direct contact between inmates & the public (another lost opportunity for natural selection…). I believe the alligator snappers are more prone to move out close to the front acrylic panel when the aquarium first opens in late morning; later you may be looking at them from a distance. When inactive the male lies with his face down pointed at the bottom, but when he moves, he is massive. The male & one female are sometimes unusually white looking, but I think that’s caused by lighting & water turbidity. Up close , he looks more natural. A take-home lesson is that while female alligator snappers are significantly larger than commons, male alligator snappers are much larger still.


d.      Section 4: This section has a large, open area with plenty of open water and a low acrylic barrier so you can lean over the turtles, basking logs set along back, and along the far side a lengthy fairly deep narrow strip with vegetated & driftwood-lined bank. This section has cooters, sliders (RES & YBS), Southern Painted turtles, chicken turtles, large female Barbour’s map turtles, razorback musk turtles, wild ducks & other birds (including a purple gallinule). This tank gives you the true sense of gazing out across pristine swampland, with enough open water to watch turtles languidly swim about (hoping someone will feed them). Here you get a sense of just how docile some of those cooters are. The cooters & Barbour’s maps are the largest turtles, but the Southern Painted turtles are unusually large, too (although dwarfed by the cooters).


e.       Section 5: This large Palludarium-style enclosure stands independently set out from the rest. In includes a large ‘pool’ area with basking wood and stumps, and adjacent land area with plenty of cover. The water & land areas are both host to numerous bald cypress knobs sticking out of the ground. I have variously seen varied map turtle species, razorback musk, Mississippi mud & Box Turtle species (I’ve seen Eastern & Gulf Coast mentioned). They have some white-oak color phase Gray rat snakes here. They used to have a couple of Timber Rattlesnakes in here but I didn’t see them my last visit. It’s a good place to watch male map turtles swim & maps of both genders bask.



VIII.)       Rivers of the World.


a.       Fly River Tank. The Fly River is New Guinea’s longest river. Beautiful tank featuring many species of rainbow fish, about 3 red-bellied short-necked turtles (a male if often courting a female) and Fly River Turtles (they used to have a pair of larger ones; most recently they had about 4 young juveniles instead). This tank resembles a tropical forest shoreline seen from the river.


b.      Chinese Mountain Stream Tank. A beautiful lush green tank with a crocodile lizard, pair of black-breasted leaf turtles, Japanese fire-bellied toads and at least 1 Mandarin newt. Palludarium-type setup with a foggy look. This tank is serene, & it’s inhabitants a fairly still or slow-moving lot; it’d make a great relaxing exhibit set into my bedroom wall…


c.       Amazon River Tank (#1). This attractive tank features a variety of pleco. species amongst others (the freshwater stingray is mentioned, but I didn’t see one), and overhead vegetation wherein dwells an emerald tree boa. It has a pair of red-headed Amazon River Turtles. They usually bask & it’s hard to get good shots, but if you find one swimming about, take many photo.s; a couple of good ones are worth it.

d.      Amazon River Tank (#2). The red piranha tank; it has a school of the toothy chaps. A few other fish are included. On an overhead limb one can see a young anaconda. I’m guessing there are two of the medium-sized Amazon River tanks because the piranha would eat some of the things in the first exhibit. Near the end of your aquarium tour you’ll see a massive Flooded Amazon Forest tank, but that’s a different section.


e.       Zaire River Tank (#1). Noteworthy for the group of dwarf crocodiles. They look to be about 3-4 feet long each, heavy-boded and toothy. There’s a water section with fish at the enclosure bottom. Every time I see the croc.s they’re lying amongst the fallen trees that cover the shore.


f.        Madagascar Rivers Tank. Beautiful tank, albeit I’ve seen no turtles in it. The fish are fine, but the habitat itself is impressive. My one criticism is that the central boulder, while beautiful & a very nice centerpiece, seems to take up a lot of room that could’ve been used for more water. Clearly this tank needs a turtle.


g.       Tropical Asian Rivers Tank. This beautiful tank has many fish, including such fish-trade favorites as clown loaches, red-tailed black and rainbow ‘sharks,’ tinfoil barbs, rosy barbs, threespot gourami, etc… It includes at least 3 turtles; those I saw I believe were Chinese golden thread turtles (and at my last visit the 3 appeared aggressive toward each other! Biting!), but it’s supposed to have a 4-eyed turtle & Chinese Red-necked Pond Turtle as well. From what I’ve seen, if you want to see turtles fight, this might be your tank. This tank is one of the pretty heavily stocked; I wonder how they maintain water quality in it…


h.       Nishikigoi Tank. A nice open-water (with forested backing) tank with several Koi, and a vegetated backdrop with a large wooden log (or simulation of one) with several large basking Japanese pond turtles.


i.         Surinam Toad & Monkey Treefrog Tank. This tank resembles a tropical rain forest growing out of a bog; the Surinam pair are apparently aquatic, but the monkey tree frog sits on an overhead branch. There seems to be a standing agreement in this tank that nobody moves…


j.        Volga River Tank. This large tank includes several sturgeons, but most impressive is the massive 8 foot Beluga sturgeon (they can reach 14 feet).


k.      St. Lawrence River Tank. This tank contains salmon, which in coloration strongly resemble the trout seen earlier, and others (Walleye, golden redhorse, lake sturgeon, yellow perch, sauger, etc…).


IX.)            Turtles: Nature’s Living Sculptures (on Level 2).

a.       Large Snake-neck Tank. A few large snake-necks live here; the tank is rather deep and they tend to hang out in the provided branches near the surface. They can be aggressive; I’ve seen a large one bite & briefly hold onto another.


b.      Chinese Big-head Turtle Tank. Old reliable. The tank looks like the shore of a small, clear stream or pool with a steep, rocky tank. It has fairly large, often flattened rocks are pool bottom substrate. Wedged into the rear right-hand corner in vertical posture is a sub-adult Chinese Bigheaded turtle. Getting your camera to focus on this one is very hard; take many pictures if you want any useful. This turtle almost never moves; it they replaced it with a taxidermy-rendered mounted one I  might not notice.


c.       Flattened Musk Turtle Tank. As reliably hard to photograph as the bighead. This tank features a fairly shallow water tank with some wood, and the back wall is a vertical rock wall with a long crevice into which this pair wedge themselves when they aren’t up for air. Attractive but hard to get a good shot of; also hard to focus on. Take many shots when you get the chance.


d.      Pancake Tortoise Tank. This pair of sub-adults are small & attractive. I once saw one on its back & told an employee; I was told they have staff that routinely check the exhibits for this sort of thing.


e.       Mixed Exotics Tank. This tank has an interesting mix, but I’m not enthused with the fact it seems to have no dry land area, and the water area is quite shallow (maybe 3-4 inches deep?). Then again, I’m not that familiar with their needs. (Spiny turtle, Indochinese box turtle, Chinese three-striped box turtle, Four-eyed turtle & Keeled box turtle). Some of these guys (i.e.: the spiny turtles) are quite large.


f.        South American Turtle Tank. This fairly deep tank with a rock wall is set into the facility wall so you look at it at something of an angle. The black wood turtles are massive & easy to see. The Meso-American Slider may or may not come out. The giant musk turtle often crams itself into crevices where you see nothing but its butt sticking out; if it does come out, snap pics while you can! There’s supposed to be a red-cheeked mud turtle; I don’t know about that one.


g.       Leopard Tortoise Exhibit. Nice, fairly spacey-looking little ‘hole in the wall’ desert exhibit. Brightly lit, as befits a day-time desert setup. The tortoise has some room to move around, but it still seems a bit cramped to me.


h.       Indian Rivers Tank. This tank includes a rather large Indian spotted pond turtle (a truly beautiful exotic you won’t likely see in the U.S. pet trade) & an Indian roofed turtle.


i.         Indian Star Tortoise Tank – a couple about the size of adult box turtles.


j.        Siebenrock’s snake-necked turtle tank – a small tank; I think it should have more room.


k.      Mata Mata Tank. Basically, a somewhat small sub-adult mata mata lies in a tasteful, pleasant shallow-water tank. The tank’s a bit small, but I’m under the impression they’re not a very active species.


l.         Blandings Turtles Tank – a couple of sub-adults swim & bask in this fairly small shallow-water but tasteful tank. They remind me a bit of box turtles.


m.     Juveniles Tank (content varies; most recently 2 young Florida Red-bellies & a Florida Softshell). This is a small tank. I’ve seen a variety of species in it over time, from red-bellied short-necks to razorback musk.


n.       New Display of some small turtles; a pair of young spotted turtles, a pair of Japanese pond turtles, at least one alligator snapper & at least one black-breasted leaf turtle.


o.      Young Alligator Snapper Tank – this sub-adult is in a tank I consider too deep but it rests on a large piece of wood near the surface whenever I see it. It’s my understanding some of them are pretty stationary in the wild so this may not be quite as bad as it sounds. It may even simulate nature. But this would NOT be an appropriate setup for an active prowler like the common snapper.



X.)              Darter Tank. If you’ve ever wanted to explore the world of these small freshwater fish, here’s your chance. Species include the greenfin, greenside, stripetail, rainbow, Savannah, tessellated, redline, snubnose, gilt & tangerine darters. A ‘logperch’ is also listed.


XI.)            A Tennessee River Tank – shows varied shiners, daces, central stoneroller, Northern studfish, Northern hogsucker, creek chub & best of all, a stripeneck musk turtle (which is very hard to find in this tank & I’ve only seen it once in several visits).


XII.)         Gulf of Mexico Tank. A large 88,000 gallon marine tank with a synthetic reef. Tank inhabitants include a massive green sea turtle, 2 great barracuda, at least 2 large green moray eels, Bonnethead hammerhead sharks (about 3 feet+ long), a school of Crevalle Jacks, Southern stingray, cow nose ray, yellowtail snapper, porkfish, blue-striped & other grunts, gray angelfish, 2 large porcupine puffers, hogfish, triggerfish, angelfish species and many other species. I corresponded with a source at the Aquarium some time back; it’s my understanding this tank has four 400 gallon per minute rapid sand filters (kind of like swimming pool filters) and two 150 gallon per minute protein skimmers with Venturi ozone injectors. The system return is through 20 feet of Brentwood-type degassing material. They change about 6,000 gallons per week, backwash the sand filters, and use municipal water (not R.O. water).


XIII.)       Lake Nickajack Tank. A huge freshwater tank depicting Tennessee’s Lake Nickajack. Roughly guessing, the tank looks to me to be around as big around as a house and to vary from perhaps 8 to 30 feet deep. Human divers go in & feed the animals with a long set of tongs; I’ve seen them feeding squid to the fish. You approach this tank on 3 levels.

a.       On the first level, you’ll see a shallow region, perhaps 8 feet deep, with tree roots, a boat dock, a small boat and numerous fish including varied large gar, buffalo, sunfish, blue gill, varied bass species & others. This is where you’ll see most of the tank’s turtles; river cooters, RES, map turtles, etc… Occasionally the large female softshell cruises through. Their display of species mentions the Eastern Painted turtle, so perhaps one is in there.


b.      On the second level, you view the opposite tank wall & at this point it’s around 10-20 feet deep & much more open. Here you see massive blue catfish (perhaps 4 feet long), large hybrid striped bass, adult paddlefish, carp, drum, and some of the fish & turtles from the first level although the cooters & sliders don’t seem to frequent this deeper open water as much. You’re looking at open water backed by a fairly steep rocky background.


c.       On the third level, you’re looking at the same section as the second level but from another level down. You can see the bottom. The turtles I saw come down here are softshells (2) and rarely a map turtle. I may’ve seen a couple of cooters this deep once. The level gives you a view from beneath of what you saw on level 2. I did observe either a male of small female softy that preferred to stay wedged into a crack in the rockwork down here, only surfacing for air. The large female comes down fairly often.


XIV.)      Lake Reelfoot Tank. This tank is about the size of a large bedroom or a bit larger. According to the posted info. at the Tennessee Aquarium, between 1811 & 1812 a massive series of earthquakes near New Madrid, Missouri led to the earth heaving so violently along the Mississippi River that in some areas the ground & riverbed sank 10 feet. The river temporarily reversed & flowed into the depressions. In Tennessee a 20 mile area sand & became Reelfoot Lake. I’ve been there; it’s a large lake, most of it under 9 feet deep (and so the littoral zone covers much more than most water bodies), & the perimeter is densely packed with plant life. This tank features crappie, paddlefish, sturgeon & other fish but I haven’t seen turtles in it.


XV.)         Salamander Tanks.

a.       One tank has Yonahlosse Salamanders (Plethodon yonahlossee) - Appalachian Mtn. Area (Virginia, N.Carolina, TN). There are a couple of other tanks with other species.


XVI.)      Flooded Amazon Forest Tank. Posted literature states during the rainiest times of year forest on the flood plain by stand in 20 or 30 feet of water for weeks at a time. This massive tank has several huge fish & some Amazon turtles. The tank is about the size of a large living room & I would estimate about 20 feet deep. Medium to large tree trunks provide cover for the animals. It includes the Giant South American River Turtle, Yellow-spotted Amazon River Turtle, Spotted-bellied Side-neck Turtle, Geoffroy’s Side-necked Turtle & Brazilian Slider. The spot-bellies seem to mate a lot when I’m there. Fish include the massive arapaima, pirapatinga, tambaqui, red tail catfish, tiger shovelnose catfish, ripsaw catfish, sickleband brycon, barred sorubim, leopard catfish. Freshwater stinkray are listed but I don’t know if they’re in the tank. I’ve seen listings for Yellow-spotted Amazon River Turtles & a Brazilian slider but I don’t know for sure whether they’re in there.


XVII.)    Zaire River Tank – This one features fish (unlike the Rivers of the World display with the dwarf crocodiles). It has quite a few species, including spotted tilapia, African butter catfish, Chrysichthys catfish, Silver Distichodus, Sixbar Distichodus, etc…


XVIII.) Gift Shop. They have some useful offerings like Peterson’s Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America. But a lot of their products are what you’d expect at a gift shop; general public populist items, items aimed at children, stuffed animals, etc… It’s worth browsing. Some of their offerings are available online.


XIX.)      What’d We Miss?


a.       Water Snakes. I didn’t see any at the Aquarium.

b.      Large acrylic walk-through tunnel through an open ocean exhibit with sand tiger sharks swimming around you. They don’t have this. There are public Aquariums at Newport, KY & Gatlinburg, TN, and I believe they each have such a tunnel.


XX.)         Links for the Tennessee Aquarium.

a.       Tennessee Aquarium Home Page.

b.      Planning Your Visit. (You can see their weather, buy tickets online, check the IMAX theater schedule, get directions to the Aquarium, etc…).

c.       Aquarium Membership. I joined; it’s an annual deal, pays for itself in 2 or 3 visits (unlimited free visits within the year), gets you in the Members’ Entrance around the side (without having to wait in line to buy tickets in a nearby building), gets you a quarterly TN Aquarium Riverwatch newsletter, etc… It’s good for a discount at some adjacent eateries, so ask if you eat nearby.

d.      Events & Travel. The TN Aquarium is one of those organizations that arranges educational adventure trips & offers them to the public (for money, naturally).

e.       IPIX 3D Images. This page lets you download a plug-in so you can view their online 3D photo.s & take a look at part of the Aquarium. I don’t have 3D glasses so I can’t comment here.


XXI.)      Other Attractions in the Chattanooga, TN area.


a.       IMAX 3D Theater – a movie theater with a large screen & steeply sloping auditorium. The films are 3-D; you buy your ticket at the Tennessee Aquarium & borrow 3-D glasses once you’re in the theater. The film I saw was enjoyable (a sea turtle took us on a tour of the ocean) albeit geared toward kids. This theater is about a block from the Aquarium, across the street from a paid parking lot (which is probably where you’ll be parking…).

b.      Ruby Falls – This is a cave tour attraction on Lookout Mountain. I’ve been. Basically, I went to a little ‘chateau’ looking building with a gift shop and a really big elevator. I paid the admission fee & got on. My group dropped about 260 feet down, got off, and our guide led us through a lit cave that runs under a mountain. We photographed rock formations & such. At the end was an underground waterfall. Now, with lighting included in the cave, and being where it is, we didn’t see bats, cave salamanders, etc…it was an ‘eye candy’ tour, and I doubt that would impress someone who’d been to Mammoth Cave or Carlsbad Caverns, but it’s okay.

c.       Lookout Mountain – It has 3 attractions; Rock City, Ruby Falls and the Incline Railway.

d.      Rock City. An attraction on Lookout Mountain.

e.       Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park – A small zoo with several animals. I had a hard time finding it & figuring out how to actually get into it. I remember seeing a jaguar, spider monkeys, a Burmese python and a monitor lizard…more a small & medium-sized animal zoo. When I went they didn’t have lions, zebra, giraffe, elephant, the really big stuff. They have an online 2002 listing of some of their stock.


XXII.)    Other Aquariums in the Region.

a.       Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, TN. If you want the ‘clear tunnel walk-through in an ocean tank with sharks’ effect, this is the place around here. They have the sand tiger sharks that look impressive; sort of the ‘classic’ shark.

b.      Newport Aquarium in Newport, KY. You’ve probably never heard of Newport, KY, but it’s across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio. They have a temporary exhibition, Turtles - Journey of Survival, project featuring 23 species of turtles. (This exhibit has been mentioned in the forum’s Chelonian Gazette). They also have a tunnel passage through a shark exhibit (‘Surrounded by Sharks’); an 85 foot seamless tunnel.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this little review of the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga!


Richard Lunsford.


Article Date: 7-25-03