Aquarium’s Ocean Journey building “tops out”
Peaks appear & one more milestone met for
April 29 opening
Tenn. (June 16, 2004) – The Chattanooga skyline that features
the familiar four peaks of the Tennessee Aquarium was transformed
with the addition of two new steel peaks emerging from the Aquarium’s
saltwater building on Market Street.
Aquarium celebrated the “topping out” of its $30
million expansion that will add 650,000 gallons of saltwater
to what is currently the world’s largest freshwater aquarium.
In addition, the grand opening date of April 29 and the new
building names were announced: River Journey and Ocean Journey.
Journey is the Aquarium’s freshwater experience. Visitors
follow the path of a raindrop high in the Appalachian Forest,
through the Tennessee River system and all the way to the Mississippi
Delta. Visitors also encounter freshwater animals and habitats
from around the world.
to enhance the original experience, Ocean Journey is the Aquarium’s
new saltwater experience. The centerpiece of the building is
the Gulf of Mexico exhibit and represents the Flower Garden
Banks National Marine Sanctuary, a unique coral reef system
in the Gulf of Mexico, where coral formations unlike any others
in the world occur. Seen from various vantage points on several
levels, the Gulf tank will be surrounded by galleries that will
feature unusual saltwater creatures from around the world.
Ocean Journey building will deliver exactly what our visitors
asked for – more hands-on experiences and more saltwater
animals,” said Charlie Arant, Aquarium president. “Watching
the building take shape next door to our original building on
the banks of the Tennessee River has been amazing. But seeing
steel peaks emerge makes the April 29 opening feel closer than
Journey will be home to 10-foot sharks, fierce barracuda and
colorful reef fish gliding through amazing coral formations.
will feel as if they’re diving in a coral reef teeming
with fascinating sea life – especially when they enter
the Coral Grotto,” Arant said. “We’ve got
baby sharks growing in the quarantine room and the large sharks
are to be collected,” Arant added. “Plus a whole
range of fascinating saltwater creatures will be arriving over
the following months.”
Journey’s Gulf tank will be surrounded by smaller galleries
that will feature unusual creatures like cuttlefish, squid,
jellyfish and a giant spider crab.
begin their tour by traveling up an escalator to the top of
the building, where they’ll be enveloped by natural light
streaming in through a glass curtain that showcases the natural
beauty of the Tennessee River and the mountains beyond. Under
the 30-foot-high sunlit peaks is an area that richly engages
all the senses with many levels of discovery.
Journey’s top level will feature a tropical shoreline
where visitors can get up close and even hands-on with live
animals like stingrays and bamboo sharks. Other tropical creatures
like colorful macaws and freshwater stingrays also will intrigue
visitors who enter this lush tropical paradise.
Aquarium expansion is a key element of the 21st Century Waterfront
Plan, a 129-acre vision that evolved out of a broad-based civic
planning process that capitalizes on our greatest natural resource,
the Tennessee River.
Journey at a Glance
Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the
natural world. Admission is $14 per adult and $7.50 per child,
ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium conservation
programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium.
Ticket prices are $7.75 per adult and $5.25 per child. Aquarium/IMAX
combo tickets are $18 for adults and $10.50 for children. Advance
tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone
at 1-800-262-0695. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the
Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization.
Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium
and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities. Members
enjoy unlimited visits and other benefits. Call 267-FISH to
an electronic version of this release and downloadable images: