Chattanooga: A Visit to the Tennessee Aquarium

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 Tennessee Aquarium red ruffed lemur. Photo by Tennessee Aquarium
Tennessee Aquarium red ruffed lemur. Photo by Tennessee Aquarium

What to Do in Chattanooga

If you are visiting Chattanooga on one of those days that would be best spent outdoors, keep in mind that there are plenty of nearby places to stretch one’s legs. The River Walk, along the banks of the Tennessee River, is inviting but just as we were about to start our riverside stroll the clouds opened up. However, we did have a chance to explore the outdoor sculpture garden of the Hunter Museum of American Art next door. The museum houses a wide array of paintings, sculpture, mixed media and photography, including works of wide-ranging artists such as Ansel Adams, Mary Cassatt and Frank Stella.

But on this day — before the rains came – we combined sculpture garden statuary with a relaxing walk. In Tom Otterness’s bronze “Free Money” a cartoon-like couple dances merrily on a sack filled with cash, begging the question how did they acquire it. “The Blue Trees” of Konstantin Dimopoulos are literally living trees covered with electric-blue colored pigment which causes no damage to the trees but is meant to raise consciousness about the role of trees as the world’s lungs; the paint is temporary and will eventually fade. “Boreal,” the minimal horse sculpture by Deborah Butterfield looks to me made of weathered driftwood but is actually cast in bronze.

From seahorses to bronze horses, there is much to see in Chattanooga aside from its legendary iron horse.

If You Go to Chattanooga:

The Tennessee Aquarium also includes an IMAX 3D theater as well as a two-hour-long Tennessee River boat ride on the River Gorge Explorer led by an aquarium naturalist.

The Tennessee Aquarium is open year round, 10-6 daily (while the last admission is at 6 p.m. the aquarium stays open until 7:30.), closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Aquarium prices are: $29.95 adults, $18.95 ages 3-12. Discounted combination tickets including admission to the aquarium, the IMAX theatre and the River Gorge Explorer are available.

Information: (800) 262-0695, www.tnaqua.org

Author Bio: Award-winning travel writer Michael Schuman is the author of 46 books and his travel articles have been featured in 200 newspapers and over two dozen magazines. He has a BA from Syracuse University and an MFA from the University of Southern California. His web site is www.michaelschuman.com