Chattanooga Now A new year brings new programs to Tennessee Aquarium

Chattanooga Now A new year brings new programs to Tennessee Aquarium

New gallery opens March 15

January 2nd, 2019 by Staff Report in Chattnow Outabout

The new Virtual Reality Simulator in the lobby of the Imax Theater is proving to be a big hit with teenagers. Wearing a special headset, guests can travel back in time or simulate making repairs in zero gravity outside the International Space Station.

Photo by Casey Phillips /Times Free Press.

Did you know the average guest walks approximately one mile while exploring the exhibits in the Tennessee Aquarium?

To capitalize on that wellness aspect of a visit to the downtown attraction, the Tennessee Aquarium is hosting a wellness event on Saturday, Jan. 5. It's the first of several events coming up in the new year to interest all ages of the family.

A panther chameleon will be part of the Island Life exhibit.

A panther chameleon will be part of the...

Photo by Casey Phillips /Times Free Press.

These special programs are free with Tennessee Aquarium admission and membership. Admission is $29.95 adults, $18.95 children ages 3-12. Aquarium/Imax Theater combo tickets are $37.95 adults, $26.95 children ages 3-12.

New Year, New You

» When: Saturday, Jan. 5, 2-4 p.m., Lupton Room of Tennessee Aquarium, 1 Broad St.

Research has shown that visiting an aquarium has health benefits of reducing blood pressure levels and heart rates while improving mood. To help everyone get 2019 off to a healthy start, the Tennessee Aquarium and Erlanger Health Systems are offering a "New Year, New You" wellness event.

Aquarium guests can start off the day getting their steps in while exploring the exhibits before attending four scheduled programs.

2 p.m. Learn how the Aquarium's animals are provided nutritious, well-balanced meals to stay healthy and fit. A trained EMT will offer free blood pressure screenings while experts from Erlanger share tips for achieving overall wellness.

2-2:30 p.m. Dr. Suzanne Bozzone will speak on stress-relieving techniques using yoga, healthy eating, weight management and better breathing and sleeping.

2:30-3 p.m. Chrissy Smith will discuss "3 Secrets to Healthy Eating for Weight Loss and Wellness" and will provide tasty recipes for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner.

3:30 p.m. Dr. Alison Bailey will talk about heart health and some common misconceptions and sources of misinformation regarding how food impacts health. She will give insight into the science behind a whole food, plant-based lifestyle.

Small Fry Mini-Programs

» When: Tuesdays-Wednesdays, Jan.8-9 through Feb. 26-27, 10:15-11 a.m.

Spend quality time with your little one while learning about the world around you at these drop-in programs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The parent-child programs are held on the lower level of the River Journey building, unless otherwise posted.

Participate in fun, engaging activities designed to appeal to 2- to 5-year-olds. Children will meet live animals, play games, read stories and create crafts as they learn together.

Nature Nuts

» When: Sunday, Jan. 20, 4-6 p.m.

Children ages 5 to 12 are invited to join Aquarium educators and guest experts for this monthly nature club. The goal of Nature Nuts is to connect children and their families to the diversity of nature in their backyards and around the world, kindling a lifelong appreciation for the natural world.

Nature Nuts meets monthly on the third Sunday afternoon of the month. Some meetings are at the Tennessee Aquarium; others are off-property at designated locations.

Programs are $11 for Aquarium members' children, $16 for nonmember children. Additional siblings are $6/$9. Accompanying adults are $1.

This month, Nature Nuts will make a sandhill crane excursion on Jan. 20 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Nature Nuts will go to Birchwood to see the amazing sight of thousands of sandhill cranes coming in to roost on the banks of the Hiawassee River as they travel to the Midwest to nest.

Register online:

Winter Signs of Wildlife Hike

» When: Feb. 17, 3-5 p.m. Meet at the TWRA wetland in the Tennessee Riverpark.

It might appear that winter is a dead time for nature, but there's a lot happening out there. It's also easier to see some of the signs left by summer activity during the winter.

This will be an easy hike, but an observational challenge. How many different animals can participants "track" in an afternoon?

Register online:

Time Travel By Virtual Reality Simulator

Travel back in time or simulate extravehicular activity outside the International Space Station via the new Virtual Reality Simulator in the Imax Theater lobby.

Guests don special headsets to embark on a Prehistoric Dive, a new virtual reality experience. Participants are placed in the digital boots of a team of explorers who are mysteriously catapulted through time into the harrowing waters of a primordial ocean.

Or become part of a global team of space explorers charged with making dangerous repairs in zero gravity outside the International Space Station.

During the adventure, the headsets transmit realistic 3D imagery that changes based on where guests are looking. And the platform on which they are seated moves in response to the on-screen action. Combined, these elements make for an experience that's completely immersive.

This optional paid experience is $8 for Aquarium members, $10 for nonmembers. Admission to the Imax is not required.

New Island Life Exhibit

Island Life exhibit will open March 15 inside the Ocean Journey building of the Tennessee Aquarium. This new gallery will take guests on an island-hopping tour around the world to meet creatures that have never been seen at the Aquarium.

An Indo-Pacific tank will give guests an opportunity to compare colorful fish inhabiting the tropical waters of the Coral Triangle with beautiful species that live in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (the Aquarium's Secret Reef exhibit).

This vibrant red sea anemone is part of the Island Life exhibit.

This vibrant red sea anemone is part of...

Photo by Casey Phillips /Times Free Press.

Guests will be introduced to Flashlight Fish. These creatures migrate up from the depths at night, using their bacteria-infused, light-up cheeks to attract prey.

This gallery will include a large Vancouver Island exhibit, which will feature a wave machine that will crash against a viewing window. Guests will be able to watch cold-water surf perch and other fish ride the waves among brightly colored anemones and sea stars.

And of course there will be kid-friendly, interactive features for children.

A panther chameleon will be part of the Island Life exhibit.

Photo by Casey Phillips /Times Free Press.