School Group Programs

School Group Programs

Lunch & Learn, Classroom Programs and Auditorium 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. Additional programs may be scheduled for $3 per student.

Click on the grade level links below to see full program descriptions.

Lunch & Learn Programs:

This is a great option for a tight schedule since it combines lunch time with an educational learning experience.  Lunch & Learn Programs last 45 minutes and may be scheduled at 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM.

Pre K K & 1st 2nd & 3rd   4th & 5th 6th - 8th 9th - 12th

Things to know about Lunch & Learn Programs:

  1. Bring your own lunches or buy them from the Aquarium. Boxed lunches must be purchased in advance for $7. They include Zaxby's chicken fingers, chips, a cookie and a water or Sprite.
  2. Lunches may be stored in the Aquarium buildings depending upon availability. If space is not available, lunches may be kept on the buses and brought to the classrooms before the program. Lunches should be packed together in boxes or coolers labeled with the school and teacher’s name. 
  3. Your group may be separated into different classrooms.  Please note that classroom assignments are subject to change. 
  4. Seating may not be available for all chaperones.

Classroom Programs:

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 and 12:00 PM. 

K & 1st 2nd & 3rd   4th & 5th 6th - 8th 9th - 12th

Auditorium Programs: 

Auditorium Programs are available to school groups of 50 or more students and can accommodate up to 185 people. Programs last 30 minutes and may be scheduled at 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM.  The Tennessee River Auditorium is located on the A level of the River Journey building.

Pre K K & 1st 2nd & 3rd 4th & 5th 6th - 8th 9th - 12th

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Behind the Scenes Tours are available for small groups of students 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 two 60-minute tours at the same time.

Themed Cruises on the River Gorge Explorer

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