School Group Programs

School Group Programs

Education Programs are FREE for school groups visiting the Tennessee Aquarium, IMAX 3D Theater or River Gorge Explorer.

Education programs are available from September through May, Mondays through Fridays. FREE programs are limited to one per school group.
Click on the grade level links below to see program options. Critter Close-up animal presentation is the recommended program for mixed-age and special needs groups.

Hands-On Classroom Programs for groups 10 to 120 students:

Students are taught by an Aquarium Educator in our state of the art classrooms.  Programs last 45 minutes and may be scheduled at 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM or 1:00 PM. 

K-3rd  4th - 8th  9th - 12th Special Needs

Presentations for groups 10 to 180 students:

Critter Close-up (preK-8th)

Students meet a variety of reptiles and amphibians, learn about the different habitats they live in, their roles in the environment and the unique adaptations which help them survive. Presentations are available to school groups of up to 180 Students. Programs last 45 minutes and may be scheduled at 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM,12:00 PM, or 1:00.

Auditorium presentations for high school students:

  • Sustainable seafood
  • Aquarium Careers
  • Chemistry at the Aquarium

Behind-the-Scenes Tours for groups of 10 to 40 students:

Behind the Scenes Tours are available for small groups in grades 4-12 for a fee of $6.00 per student. Find out how we recreate habitats in the Aquarium as you are led from the aquarium kitchen to the filtration room. Food, water, shelter and space are highlighted as students discover what it takes to keep over 10,000 plants and animals healthy. Group size is limited to 15 participants per tour and we can offer up to three 45-minute tours at the same time.

Themed Cruises on the River Gorge Explorer up to 67 people:

Teachers may select a focus of ECOLOGY, SOCIAL STUDIES, or EARTH SCIENCE for education cruises on the River Gorge Explorer.  Your students will travel swiftly and smoothly downstream from the Chattanooga Pier aboard this high-tech vessel. The 90-minute excursion is guided by an Aquarium naturalist who brings local history to life while helping you spot wildlife. Relax in the climate-controlled cabin and soak in the scenery from the observation deck.  Education cruises hold a maximum of 67 people for a flat rate for $700.  They are available on select Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings.  Ask your reservationist for details.

To schedule your programs call (423) 265-0698 and speak with a reservationist. The Tennessee Aquarium Group Reservation Department is available Monday through Friday 8:45 AM to 4:45 PM ET. For more information about our programs, email