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Journal Entries for 2011-09 Chattanooga
Summary: We went to the Tennessee Aquarium, River Journey.

Wednesday, Sept 21st: We flew from SNA to CHA (Chattanoogo, Tenn), arriving about 4:30 p.m. local time. We drove to the Garden Inn B&B on Lookout Mountain, in Georgia. We had the Robin's Nest Room ($660/4 nights, including breakfast). It was very cute and comfortable.

Thursday, Sept 22nd: We got up late and barely made it to breakfast by 9:30 a.m. Breakfast was peach french toat (very yummy). Then we Went into Chattanooga to the Tennessee Aquarium ($24.95/ea). There are two large buildings, the River Journey building and the Ocean Journey building. They also have a 3D IMAX theater and the River Gorge Explorer (a 70 passenger high-speed catamaran to the Tennessee River Gorge), but they were both sold out the day we were there. The aquarium highlights the voyage of a drop of water from its origin in the Appalachian Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico.

We were going to go to the Ocean Journey building first because Carl had been to the River Journey building many years before. The Ocean Journey Building is new. But, they were doing some kind of maintenance on that building, so we went to the River Journey Building first. The River Journey building houses what is said to be the world's largest freshwater aquarium. Galleries include a mountain cove forest with river otters; a delta swamp with snapping turtles, ducks and baby alligators; and a world rivers gallery with piranhas, beluga sturgeon and dwarf crocodiles.

When we entered the River Journey building there was a sign about a Bird Show starting in a few minutes. While we were waiting for the show to start we took a few pictures of the seahorses!!

At the Bird Show there was a trained toucan, macaw and an owl. We didn't stay for more than that. The birds flew around the room to the various stategically placed perches. The kids were having a great time. Then we went around the corner to the seahorses!! They had lots of different kinds of seahorses and other kinds of interesting pipefish. They were all really cool, especially the seadragons!!

After the seadragons, we went to the top of the building and started at the mountain cove forest with the river otters and worked our way down. The building had a huge tank in the middle building with a ramp going down. At both ends of the building were special areas where they had a variety of other fish. It was very well presented and we had a great time walking around.

There was a tank with many beluga sturgeon. The fisheries of the Volga River have been historically rich with species of fish. One of the many fish found here is the beluga sturgeon. This sturgeon can reach a length of over 20 feet and produces the finest caviar in the world.

The next tank had red piranha. They were sure mean looking fish. Earlier (near the Bird Show) we saw other piranha that weren't as fierce looking. The sign said that it was even safe to swim in water with the piranha during certain times when they weren't hungry and that the locals knew exactly when it was safe to swim in the piranha infested waters and when it wasn't!!!

The Surinam toad was really strange looking. We thought that it was just a shedded skin until it moved!!

The alligator snapping turtle was really interesting, too. We didn't remember seeing one of these before. The snappers lie motionless with their mouths open and use tongue lures that look like worms to attract prey. Carl put his hand up by the glass and the turtle snapped at him. I tried to get a video, but he didn't do it again!!

That was the end of the River Journey building, so we went outside to find a place to eat lunch. We went to the Big River Grill across the street from the Tennessee Aquarium. We had a great lunch and, fortified, we went back to the aquarium to the Ocean Journey building.

002-Our cottage at B&B, Chattanooga.jpg

013-Seahorse in River Journey, Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga.jpg

045-Weedy seadragon in River Journey, Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga.jpg

054-River otter in River Journey, Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga.jpg

095-Beluga sturgeon in huge tank in River Journey, Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga.jpg

097-Red piranha in River Journey, Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga.jpg

098-Surinam toad in River Journey, Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga.jpg

101-Alligator snapping turtle in River Journey, Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga.jpg
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