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Contributed Photo by Todd Stailey/Tennessee Aquarium / Brad Paisley visited the Tennessee Aquarium in August 2009. On Wednesday, he and other country stars will perform in a virtual concert, "All Together for Animals," that will benefit the 240 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, including the Tennessee Aquarium and the Chattanooga Zoo.

A country music extravaganza benefiting the Association of Zoos and Aquariums will help two local tourist attractions recoup some of their financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, Brad Paisley, Old Dominion, Ashley McBryde, Wynonna, Riley Green, Jessie James Decker, Shy Carter and others will take the stage for "All Together for Animals," a virtual concert. The artists have pledged their talents in support of the 240 zoos and aquariums accredited by the AZA, including the Tennessee Aquarium and Chattanooga Zoo.

For nonprofit institutions such as the Tennessee Aquarium, the event could quicken the pace of a lengthy recovery process.

"Our closure began last year when we were preparing for the busy spring break time frame," said Keith Sanford, the Tennessee Aquarium's president and CEO. "The combination of being closed for 96 days and dramatic loss of attendance and revenue over the past year has had a profound impact on our mission."

According to a news release, the aquarium's operational costs are more than $400,000 each week. These recurring expenses include providing animal care, utility costs, payroll and paying down existing debt.

"While we are deeply grateful for the community support we've received to this point, there is still a tremendous gap we're trying to bridge," Sanford said. "We'll never place our financial fitness above the health and well-being of our guests, staff, volunteers and animals, but operating safely with strict capacity limits in place means our recovery will continue to be a long haul."

The Chattanooga Zoo, where most of the exhibits are outdoors, experienced a shorter, but still significant, downtime of 53 days. Most of the restrictions present at the May 9 reopening have been lifted, with all animal areas, rides and amenities open, according to zoo officials. Capacity limits are still in place for the 13-acre attraction.

The "All Together For Animals" concert will be streamed at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday. The performances were shot on location at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere and at the Steel Mill studios in Nashville. A contribution of $30 will grant access to the one-time event.

"For each $30 e-ticket purchased, $15 goes directly back to the AZA member you buy your ticket from," said Don Ashe, president and CEO of the association. "It is a great way to show support for your local AZA-accredited facility, and you get to see a great show."

The link for the Tennessee Aquarium is https://aftontickets.com/event/buybroadcastticket/ko69n12x3v?aff=TennesseeAquarium1.

The link for the Chattanooga Zoo is https://aftontickets.com/event/buybroadcastticket/ko69n12x3v?aff=ChattanoogaZooAtWarnerPark1.

Each ticketing site also allows additional contributions, 100% of which will go directly to the attraction.

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281.

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