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Fun Ahead! "Thrills, Gills and Chills" Oct. 15th to 31st

9/30/2010 9:50:23 AM

An eastern screech owl at the Tennessee Aquarium.

Above image: An eastern screech owl greets Tennessee Aquarium visitors during a “Thrills, Gills, and Chills” animal encounter program.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         Contact: Thom Benson 423-785-3007

Whoooo’s Brave Enough to Encounter the Aquarium’s Cool Critters?
Get Ready for “Thrills, Gills and Chills” October 15th – 31st
Chattanooga, Tenn. (September 30, 2010) – There are no creaky doors or spooky music at the Tennessee Aquarium, but visitors might be surprised by some of the critters they’ll encounter during “Thrills, Gills and Chills” October 15th to 31st.
Imagine an eight-eyed creature possessing an exoskeleton and covered in something called urticating hair.  Does that sound beastly or hauntingly cool? If you answered both, then maybe you’re brave enough to meet one of three species of tarantulas during a special “Thrills, Gills and Chills” Animal Encounter program at the Aquarium.
Senior educator Susie Grant says the Mexican red-knee, Chilean common and curly hair tarantulas are actually mild mannered species, not fear-inspiring beasties. “Even though they have eight eyes, tarantulas can’t see very well,” said Grant. “They use the hairs to detect prey and perceive tiny movements in the air surrounding their bodies. In fact, the curly hair is sometimes called the Teddy bear tarantula because of the way it looks.”
While Aquarium guests might not want to cuddle next to a hairy tarantula, they will enjoy special feedings, costumed divers and themed keeper talks designed to bring visitors closer to nature’s most feared creatures. Animal Encounter Specialists will be busy introducing visitors to fascinating creatures that have been misunderstood or may only come out at night, adding to their spooky reputations.
Owls for instance, appear to float through the night sky without a making a sound, have big eyes and can make some rather chilling sounds. “Our screech owl makes kind of a high-pitched trill,” said Grant. “In some ways, it almost sounds like a horse whinny.” Other owl characteristics helped get them on the “ghost-list” of the seasonally scary. Visitors will learn how they are able to rotate their heads nearly all the way around, how they achieve silent flight and whoooooo’s on their menu. Guests will come across an animal encounter specialist with an awesome animal, such as a screech owl, in each Aquarium building every hour of every day. Locations and animals vary throughout each day.
Guests may also choose to take a thrilling trip behind the scenes with the new Backstage Pass to get even closer to toothy sharks or fierce barracudas and talk to divers about feeding the Aquarium’s green moray eels.
Thrills, Gills & Chills Daily Schedule October 15 – 31st:
FREE with Aquarium admission
10:30 AM – Pumpkins & Penguins
Ocean Journey, Keeper talk in Penguins’ Rock
11:00 AM - Scaredy Cat-Fish
River Journey, Costumed divers in Nickajack Lake
11:00 & 11:30 AM – Bite Fright Dive Show
Ocean Journey, Secret Reef
1:30 PM – Jaws & Claws
Ocean Journey, Animal feedings in Boneless Beauties
1:45 PM – Pumpkins & Penguins
Ocean Journey, Keeper talk in Penguins’ Rock
2:00 & 2:30 PM– Bite Fright Dive Show
Ocean Journey, Secret Reef
2:00 PM – Divers Delight
River Journey, Costumed divers in Gulf of Mexico
3:00 PM – Swamp Things
River Journey, Keeper talk in the Delta Swamp
Experience two buildings full of Spook-tacular fun during the Tennessee Aquarium’s annual family celebration: Aqua-Scarium Halloween Party Friday, October 29th from 6:30 to 9:30 pm.
Come in costume and celebrate Halloween with the wild ones at the Aquarium, like stinging jellies, bizarre seahorses, squirming octopus and toothy sharks.  Trick or treat for lots of goodies and interact with our loveable mascots in Halloween costume!  Do the Monster Mash on the dance floor, watch our popular costumed divers and win treasure as you play games.  Encounter scales and tails at the animal encounters and dare to touch the unknown.
Pricing for the Aqua-Scarium Halloween Party:
Member: $5 per person, Adult or Child (3-12)
Non-Member: $30/Adult; $20/Child (3-12)
Non-member price includes Aquarium admission

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