Plan Your Field Trip
Think of the Tennessee Aquarium not just as a field trip, but as an extension of your classroom with world class exhibits and standards-based educational opportunities.
We recommend scheduling your visit during the months of September through March. We host very high numbers of school groups during April and May. The Tennessee Aquarium opens at 10 a.m. and operates on Eastern Time; educational classroom programs start at 9 a.m. It is very important that your group arrive at the Aquarium, IMAX, River Gorge Explorer and education programs ahead of time. Groups need to check in 15 minutes before planned start time. This will allow time to make payments, receive chaperone passes, listen to orientation and visit the restrooms before beginning your field trip. Late arrivals for IMAX, River Gorge Explorer or education programs will need to be rescheduled or cancelled.
Allow your group 2.5 hours to tour both Aquarium buildings – River Journey and Ocean Journey. IMAX movies last 45 minutes and begin on the hour. You can eat lunch outside, on your bus, or we have limited classroom availability for Lunch and Learns. You may also book a 45-minute classroom program or 30-minute auditorium program. Sample itineraries are available here, but times are flexible to meet your needs. Talk to a reservationist to develop a schedule that works for your group.
The Tennessee Aquarium is located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, TN. A bus turn-around is available for loading and unloading at 2nd Street and Broad Street. Free bus parking is available on Power Alley behind the IMAX Theater and on Riverfront Parkway under the Olgiati Bridge (Hwy 27).
Each chaperone will receive a sticker when they check-in and must wear the sticker during their visit. Students must stay with their chaperones at all times. We require that all groups preK-2nd bring one chaperone for every five students and groups 3rd-12th bring one chaperone for every ten students. Every group must sign a behavior contract before visiting the Tennessee Aquarium. Please review it with your students before visiting and remind them to be respectful of the animals and other visitors.
To ensure a safe experience, we suggest that Pre-K and Kindergarten groups use the stairs and elevators instead of the escalators while touring our buildings. Please remember that Crocs and strollers are not permitted on escalators. Visit the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation's website for a fun interactive Safe-T Rider video and activities to share with your students before your trip.
To qualify for School Group prices and programs, the group must be from a public, private or home school and consist of at least 10 students from grades pre-K - 12. Students in grades K-12 who receive free or reduced lunch through the National School Lunch Program receive complimentary admission to the Aquarium and IMAX Theater from September through March. Schools that qualify for the Community Eligibility Provision through the National School Lunch Program will receive complimentary admission for a percentage of their students. Reservations will be accepted up to 10 working days prior to your visit. Don't forget to book a FREE education program for your school group!