If you are visiting Chattanooga, TN we suggest that you consider a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium. You will LOVE it! You can explore living forests and meet amazing creatures that swim, fly and crawl in natural habitats. You will be able to discover giant catfish, otters, sharks, stingrays, penguin, butterfly garden, two separate touch tanks (one with sturgeon and one stingrays). Our family enjoyed our time exploring the Tennessee Aquarium and my son gave it two thumbs up!
We found the aquarium to be busy but not overcrowded. We were there on a Friday afternoon. It took us 2 hours to tour the aquarium in total. I would suggest that you pack your own drinks and snacks and be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. I would also suggest short sleeve shirts for the touch tanks.
There are two buildings and your admission includes entry to both the buildings the River Journey and Ocean Journey. Your tickets are good all day, so you may want to enjoy lunch in between. The aquarium opens at 10 a.m. with last admittance at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. Buildings close at 7:30. They also have a nearby IMAX 3D Theater that you can add to your ticket for only $6 (runs 45 minutes) that we did not see but it looked like it would be fun if you had time. This may be nice to schedule between the two buildings.
The aquarium parking was $9 but we found street parking behind the aquarium along the river for only $1.50 for two hours! This was a great way to save money and conveniently located for picture taking. Another idea if time allows would be to take the Chattanooga Ducks Tour – it is a great way to see Chattanooga and several friends recommended it to us. We just decided to spend time walking around and stopped to see the Chattanooga Choo Choo after our lunch. Also depending on where you are staying in Chattanooga you may be able to take the Electric Shuttle for free. Be sure to check!
If you are planning a visit in the summer you can cool off in The Passage, which runs adjacent to the Tennessee Aquarium, where the water flows down the steps and into a pool near the river. There were tons of children and some adults enjoying this free attraction in front of the aquarium. When we exited the aquarium we saw children dressed in their swim suits enjoying the cool water. There is shady areas for the parents to relax in while the kids cool off and then you can enjoy a snack or a picnic lunch too!
After we finished at the Aquarium we walked a couple of blocks to 212 Market Restaurant for delicious lunch. They offer gluten free and vegetarian options too! The dessert I had was amazing!
Disclosure: The Tennessee Aquarium provided complimentary tickets for our review however all opinions are 100% our own.