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Contributed photo from The Tennessee Aquarium / The Suttle family, from Bowling Green, Kentucky, were the Tennessee Aquarium's 26-millionth guest. From left are Jilann, Zara, Aliahand Nick Suttle.

The Tennessee Aquarium on Sunday celebrated its 26-millionth guest, marking a milestone since the doors of the River Journey building opened in May 1992.

Sunday afternoon the Aquarium welcomed the Suttle family from Bowling Green, Kentucky, whose trip was made even more special with a gift bundle including offerings from other Chattanooga area attractions, according to a news release.

"I can't believe this, we never imagined something like this would happen," Mrs. Suttle said in a statement from the Aquarium. The family spent the weekend enjoying local attractions and were amazed to get the VIP treatment at the Aquarium.

The Aquarium was closed for 96 days, from March 2020 through June 2020 in response to the coronavirus crisis, cutting 90% of its revenue. The recent guest milestone is a testament "not only to the staying power of the Aquarium but also its generational role in bringing the public and wildlife together," the release stated.

(Read More: Tennessee Aquarium launches new website as demand for online animal content grows)

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Visitor milestone arrives as Tennessee Aquarium approaches 30th anniversary

Guests such as the Suttle family help contribute to the Aquarium's $115 million annual economic impact on Hamilton County, including more than $6.6 million in tax revenue.

Unique guest experiences are moments Aquarium President and CEO Keith Sanford describes as always worth celebrating.

"I'm so proud of the work our team has done in helping guests from all over the world to feel more connected to the natural world," Sanford said through a released statement. "The arrival of our 26-millionth visitor just before our 30th anniversary is amazing timing and an incredible accomplishment we're all celebrating together."

— Compiled by Kiara Green

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