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River Gorge Explorer Celebrates One Year Anniversary
New “Sunset Special” Cruises Announced to Mark Occasion

Chattanooga, Tenn. (June 18, 2009) - Captains Mike and Pete Hosemann have piloted boats on every waterway except the Great Lakes in the eastern United States. When asked which river is the most scenic, there’s no hesitation, “We both think this stretch of Tennessee River is, without a doubt, the most beautiful we have ever worked,” Captain Mike Hosemann said. “There are lots of scenic river locations, but the view in the Tennessee River Gorge is longer and better than anywhere else in my opinion.”

Both piloted the Aquarium’s River Gorge Explorer from Port Everglades, Florida to Chattanooga one year ago. The eight-day odyssey was the final leg of the delivery route which began in Bellingham, Washington and ended when the high-tech vessel docked at the Chattanooga Pier for the first time on June 19, 2008. Since that time, thousands of visitors and school groups have marveled at bald eagles and ospreys while learning about the river’s significance as a battlefield during the Civil War.

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of operations, the Tennessee Aquarium is announcing an extended cruise at the end of each day. Beginning Friday through August 16th, three-hour ‘Sunset Special’ cruises will be offered for the same price as the two-hour excursions. Passengers who would like to travel a bit farther into Tennessee’s Grand Canyon will now have the opportunity to relax and enjoy more of the scenery. “On most weekdays we hope to get down to near Massengale Rock,” said Captain Pete Hosemann. “In the evening there is a spectacular display of light and shadow with the setting sun. It’s a very tranquil atmosphere.”

Beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks will be available for purchase on the extended Sunset Special cruises.

Bargain hunters can also take advantage of the ‘Early Bird Special.’  Anyone who books the 10 am or 10:30 am cruise in advance will save up to nine dollars on each ticket.

Morning often offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities according to Aquarium naturalists who lead each excursion. But Captain Pete says he also spots a lot of creatures in the evening hours. “It’s amazing to see deer coming to the water’s edge to drink at the end of the day.”


The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the natural world. Admission is $21.95 per adult and $14.95 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 $8.50 per adult and $6.00 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $27.95 for adults and $19.95 for children. Excursions aboard the new River Gorge Explorer depart daily into “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon.” Cruise tickets are $29.00 per adult and $21.50 per child (3-12). Advance tickets may be purchased online at 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.


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