Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga review

I made my 2 hour and 15 minute drive from Jefferson City, Tn to Chattanooga, TN (used about a full tank round trip) to visit the Tennessee Aquarium. The Tennessee Aquarium is in downtown area of Chattanooga and along the river. This trip I couldn’t go the back roads, my journey mostly took me on I-40, I-75 and I-24. My daughter and I visited the aquarium on June 21, 2014. There was an event going on area. It seemed to be running marathons and venders throughout the court yard area of the Aquarium. It has been around 20 years, when I was in high school that I last visited the Tennessee Aquarium.

Tennessee Aquarium
Tennessee Aquarium

Fresh Water

We started our journey in the fresh water aquarium. They have two aquariums a fresh water and a salt water. You can pick with one you wish to enter first. After you are done with the one, you can move onto the next. According to their web site they are the worlds largest fresh water aquarium.

We were one of the first few to enter the fresh water aquarium. We went down stairs of the fresh water and saw some exhibits with the coral reef. They even had  a bird show, but it was still another 45 minutes away. So we went back to main level. They we took the escalator to the top. It takes you up like 4 or 5 stories. Once you are at the top, you get beautiful views of the Tennessee River.

Tennesse Steve Thumbs Up
Tennesse Steve Thumbs Up

At the very top you can see a couple of blue Macaws plus other birds. You can see river otters, turtles, frogs, snakes, alligators and more. Then you go and start the decent down the ramps. With aquariums on both sides that you get to view. You can see all kinds of fresh water fish. Including some huge catfish. You can even go inside the butterfly enclosure. One woman had a blue butterfly that stayed on her.

In the Fresh Water exhibit, you can pet sturgeons. They have an interesting feel to them.

My daughter and I spent one hour in the Fresh Water Aquarium side. I am sure you can spend more time if you wanted. We did miss the bird show, when we were down stairs we had 45 minute wait, but the show began on our decent down the ramps. I believe it would have been awesome to see the bird show.

Salt Water

The Salt Water, ocean aquarium is there newer one. All I can remember is the fresh water from when I was in high school. Of course that visit was 20 years ago. You keep going up and up several sets of escalators to the top. While you are in the salt water side you can pet String Rays, Shark, Bignose Unicornfish, Coral Catshark, Shovelnose Guitar Fish and more.

Tennessee Aquarium Divers
Tennessee Aquarium Divers

While we were touring the ocean we go tot see the divers. They had a dive show. We got to see 2 divers and hear them talk and share. The one diver said he could stay in the water forever. He had a safety diver that can change out his tank. He said it is safe in the tank as well. He shared that they feed the sharks 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They have a dock just above where we were standing.

They also have penguins on display. They soon will have new baby penguins. They are still in their eggs at this time of this post.

The salt water aquarium area to me didn’t seem to have as much, especially compared to the fresh water.

My daughter and I also spent almost an hour in the salt water aquarium side.


The Creation story in in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. On the 5th Day He created the sea creatures and the fowls of the Earth, those that fly. The Seas are all the bodies of water. Plus the animals on the 6th day as well as people. See Genesis 1:21-31. See my blog post God’s Creation, Ginormous Aquarium Style.

21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[a] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

In closing

I believe they seem to have more than just aquarium animals. They seem to have a bit more than the normal aquariums I have visited. I believe this has been my favorite aquarium that I have visited yet because of the huge variety they have on exhibit. I enjoyed the fresh water side much more than the salt water. That is just my personal opinion. I think the Fresh water aquarium has a much smoother flow and seemed to have more to see. If you have a flare for the fresh water then I highly recommend the Tennessee Aquarium.

Also if you park close by, it cost $9 for 2 hours parking. I got lucky the day I visited, the meter was showing Free Parking. This may not always be the case. I do hear they have parking in other locations in downtown and shuttles that run.

I did see staff regularly and in most of all the areas and exhibits. These staff were very helpful and friendly. One staff even told me the Tennessee Aquarium treats them well. Two staffers shared they get to pick the stations they want when they come in. Plus another shared they get discounts to area stuff for working there. So their staff seem to be happy staff.

Also arrive early, the lines build up fast to get inside!

Tennessee Aquarium also offers education lessons. So if you home school another great place for your educational lessons.

Over all we spent just around 2 hours touring both the fresh and the salt water aquariums at the Tennessee Aquarium.

One other thing you can do in between going to the two different parts of the aquarium is it in the courtyard there is a few restaurants I noticed in the courtyard. In these restaurants have no affiliation with the Tennessee Aquarium either.

You can add on to your standard tickets to include a River Gorge, an IMax 3D film, back stage passes and more.

More information at tnaqua.org  and also Creation.com

The Tennessee Aquarium is open daily 10 am to 6 pm. Tickets sales start at 9:30 am.

If you go visit them, please be sure to tell them you heard about them from CourageousChristianFather.com

Have you visited the Tennessee Aquarium? Share with me your experiences. Have a great Bible Story to share with at the Aquarium, share that too.

Special thanks to the Tennessee Aquarium for comping me 2 tickets to do this review.

About the Author

Author: Steve Patterson

A Christian Blogger that enjoys blogging about the Bible, Theology, God, Jesus Christ, Christian Music, Family, Cats, Odd Holidays, sewing and much more. I have been blogging since 2004, however, I have been blogging on Courageous Christian Father since 2012. I enjoy listening to Christian Music. I am married with 1 daughter, 2 step-sons and a step daughter.

Feel free to share your comment! Thank you!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.