From spiders to snakes, it's an unfortunate truth that many of nature's most interesting animals are also some its most misunderstood and feared. However, one of the best ways to lose a fear of something is by shining a light on it.
The Tennessee Aquarium is celebrating some of nature's most wonderfully eerie species this month with daily ODDtober encounters. Each ODDtober session features animals that are unusual, extraordinary and occasionally misunderstood.
Visitors can enjoy two new programs each week. Each presentation highlights a creature that is "stranger than fiction," from the deceptively intelligent Fish Crow and color-changing Panther Chameleon to the surprisingly talkative Madagascar Hissing Cockroach and blinking Giant Freshwater Pufferfish.
Themed week topics:
» Today-Saturday, Oct.12-14: Touchable Sharks, 11 a.m., Ocean Journey's Stingray Bay; Colorful Chameleons, 2 p.m., River Journey lower lobby.
» Sunday-Saturday, Oct. 15-21: Not-so-Creepy Crawlies, 12:30 p.m., River Journey upper lobby; Bizarre Butterflies, 2 p.m., Ocean Journey's Butterfly Garden.
» Sunday-Tuesday, Oct. 22-31: Peculiar Pufferfish, 11 a.m., River Journey's Rivers of the World gallery; Curious Crows, 2:30 p.m., River Journey lower lobby.
In addition to ODDTober activities, weekend visitors will have more opportunities to become immersed in the Aquarium's fall fun.
Each Saturday, costumed divers will show off their pumpkin-carving skills during special dive presentations at 11 a.m.
On Sundays, kids may spend time with cool creatures during Young Scientist programs. Aquarium educators have designed a series of new, interactive sessions for schoolchildren to spark curiosity about creatures they might encounter at home.
Young Scientists programs are at 1:15 p.m. in the gallery on the A-level of the River Journey building. Sunday themes will be turtles, Oct. 15; spiders, Oct. 22; and insects, Oct. 29.
The month will wrap up with AquaScarium, the family-friendly Halloween bash that features encounters with wildlife and special guests. Guests are encouraged to attend in costume, stock up on sweets and have a wild time at the Monster Mash.
ODDTober programs are included in Aquarium admission of $29.95 adults, $18.95 children ages 3-12.
Children attending AquaScarium must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are $8 for members, $35 for a member's adult guest, $25 for a guest child, $40 nonmember adult, $30 nonmember child.
For more information or to register: community.tnaqua.org/events/member-programs/fall/2017/aquascarium.