Watch fish swim along Alderdice Bank, which was named after Robert Alderdice, founder of the Flower Garden Ocean Research Center, in the Tennessee Aquarium's live stream from a remotely operated vehicle in the Gulf of Mexico. Alderdice Bank is an oval salt dome about 100 miles northeast of East Flower Garden Bank, which the Tennessee Aquarium's Secret Reef is modeled upon. / GFOE/NOAA Contributed Image

How are you spending Labor Day weekend? At the lake? Grilling? Family reunion? Camping?

Following are five ideas for family fun that won't break the bank, but offer something different to do on your Labor Day weekend staycation.



— Where: Tennessee Aquarium, 1 Broad St.

— When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily

— Admission: $34.95 adults, $12.95 children to Aquarium; $42.95 adults, $29.95 children Aquarium/Imax combo ticket

— For more information:

About one week after the sturgeon moon, corals within the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Texas and Louisiana began to spawn.

A remotely operated vehicle named Yogi is on-site in the Gulf of Mexico to live-stream this spawn, and the Aquarium is showing its footage in the River Journey Auditorium so that visitors can witness the phenomenon in real-time.

"We're very excited to be an educational partner with the Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration," says Dr. Brooke Gorman, the Tennessee Aquarium's director of science education. "Our Secret Reef exhibit models the Flower Garden Banks, so our guests have a lot of opportunities to learn about this special place."

Aquarium guests can witness the natural processes that built up the Flower Garden Banks' underwater ecosystem via a camera located more than 100 feet below the surface. Traveling to depths of nearly 500 feet, Yogi is beaming real-time discoveries via the internet to audiences around the world, including Aquarium guests.

The final leg of the expedition, Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 1, will examine black corals around the periphery of the sanctuary. Researchers will be looking for any new black coral species while assessing the overall abundance and health of known black corals.

"After spending some time watching this expedition in real-time, guests can go next door to explore the Secret Reef exhibit. It is a model of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary where Yogi is right now," says Thom Benson, Aquarium director of external affairs.

"Four times each day, our scuba divers are in the exhibit having conversations with guests about the Flower Garden Banks and how we're connected to the Gulf through the river that runs through our city," he says.

Benson suggests if you want to complete a day of underwater adventure, head across the street to the Imax Theater, where "Great Barrier Reef 3D" is showing at 1 and 3 p.m.


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Children can have their pictures made with Buddy the T-Rex during the "Dinosaur Train" exhibit. / Creative Discovery MUSEUM Contributed Photo


— Where: Creative Discovery Museum, 321 Chestnut St.

— When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

— Admission: $14.95 ages 2 and up

— For more information:

There's only 10 days left to visit "Dinosaur Train: The Traveling Exhibit" before it moves on from the Creative Discovery Museum.

Pint-size paleontologists can learn about a T-Rex named Buddy who travels through time to discover more about dinosaurs. They can dress up and pretend to be a pteranodon or dig for fossils.

— Sundays, Sept. 1 and 8: Buddy the T-Rex will make photo-op appearances at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Parents must register for a time by calling the museum.

— Saturday, Sept. 7: Preschool Adventure Day Safari, 10 a.m.-noon. Guests will explore safari animals through pretend play, art and sensory activities. Event is included in the museum's admission.

— Sunday, Sept. 8: Grandparents Event, 5-7 p.m. This first grandparents-grandchild event includes time in the museum without the crowds, dinner on the rooftop and special activities to celebrate Grandparents Day. Buddy the T-Rex will be making appearances.

Tickets are $10 per person for members, $15 per person for nonmembers, which includes dinner. To register: 423-756-2738.



— Where: Walker County Civic Center, 10052 Highway 27, Rock Spring, Ga.

— When: Dance 7-11 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1; car show Monday, Sept. 2

— Admission: $5 ages 6 and older for dance

— For more information:

Break out the poodle skirts and letterman's jackets. Bop to doo-wop in your white socks and saddle shoes when a '50s Sock Hop is held Sunday night, Sept. 1, to benefit the Al Millard Memorial Stocking Full of Love Christmas fund in Walker County, Georgia.

Paul Smith & the Skyhigh Band will play for this popular annual dance. The throwback fun includes a Hula Hoop contest, Best '50s dress and Best '50s dance.

The Christmas fundraiser continues Monday, Sept. 2, when the Labor Day Car & Motorcycle Show is held at the Walker County Civic Center. Registration is from 8 to 11:30 a.m. followed by the show.

Car and motorcycle owners are encouraged to cruise down to Rock Spring and enter this fundraiser to help provide Christmas for children. There will be a silent auction, and hot dogs and hamburgers will be sold.


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Improv Chattanooga presents its Improv Movie Night, "Prehistoric Adventure!" / Improv Chattanooga Contributed Photo


— Where: 1800 Rossville Ave., Suite 118

— When: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30

— Admission: $10

— For more information:

And speaking of dinosaurs after a day of dinosaurs for the kids, parents can head over to the Southside to join Improv Chattanooga for its Improv Movie Night, "Prehistoric Adventure!"

The improv troupe will get a title for a never-before-seen prehistoric adventure movie from the audience, then the witty, quick-thinking actors will create a movie on the spot.

If you love "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" television show, then you'll want to stay Friday for "The Good, Old-Fashioned Improv Show" at 10 p.m. The improvisers will play improv games like those seen on the TV show for 45 minutes, and the last 15 minutes will be long-form improv.

Two more improv shows are offered Saturday, Aug. 31, at 8 and 10 p.m.


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The Winnie 500 racing slide lets guests slide nearly 300 feet from 50 feet in the air. / Lake Winnepesaukah Contributed Photo


— Where: Lake Winnepesaukah and SoakYa Water Park, 1730 Lakeview Drive, Rossville

— When: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 31 and Sept. 2, 1-6 p.m. Sept. 1 for SoakYa; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 31, noon-8 p.m. Sept. 1, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sept. 2 Lake Winnie

— Admission: $34.95 Lake Winnie-SoakYa unlimited rides, $24.95 ages 1-2 and 60 and older

— For more information:

Send summer out with a splash during the final three days SoakYa is open. Lake Winnie amusement park will remain open weekends through October.

Raft down SoakYa's Zoom Flume, slide 300 feet on the Winnie 500 water slide or just stand under the 20-foot Water Works and let its fountains and giant bucket soak you.

Contact Susan Pierce at or 423-757-6284.


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