Tennessee Aquarium celebrates 25 years

The landscape of Chattanooga's downtown is featured in this May 1, 2017 photo.

Before the Tennessee Aquarium opened in 1992, many Chattanoogans had little reason to venture downtown. At the time, my 8-year-old self had no idea of the impact it might have on my hometown, but like many other families in my elementary school carpool line, we proudly touted our charter membership status with a bumper sticker on the back of our Suburban.

On my first visit, I could barely contain my excitement as the seemingly never-ending escalator carried me to the first exhibit, finally depositing me on the top floor of the building which has since become the iconic representation of the city's renaissance.

Milestones in Tennessee Aquarium's 25-year history

1985 - Tennessee Riverpark Master Plan, which includes a recommendation for a riverfront aquarium, is finalized. 1988 - Construction begins on the Tennessee Aquarium.