Lemur with ice treat

Animal Enrichment

Enrichment is one of the most important ways the Tennessee Aquarium provides extraordinary animal care.

 “All animals lead very unpredictable lives in the natural world. It’s very normal for them to work for their food and stay alert in their ever-changing world, so we use enrichment items to stimulate their minds and senses.” - Sara Web, the Aquarium’s Program and Enrichment Coordinator

Whether it’s introducing river otters to a brand new toy, providing a tortoise with a tasty new treat, or asking the Giant Pacific Octopus to use its incredible smarts to solve puzzles, enrichment is a full-time job. Our animal husbandry staff work every day to provide Aquarium animals with the most nurturing and engaging environment possible. 

 While enrichment is a very important part of keeping animals healthy and happy, a lot of times, it simply looks like play. For example, it could be the introduction of a new holiday-themed toy...

...or special treats inside ice discovered in an animal's habitat.

Get Involved

The Aquarium’s animal experts have put together an Amazon Wish List of more than 300 enrichment items for these adorably deserving creatures. All of the items have been carefully chosen to meet enrichment goals while being safe for the individual animals. You can shop online for your favorite creatures here.

A special thanks to those who have already donated items from our wishlist (like the bubble machine our penguins enjoyed for the first time below)!

UTC Research

Students from the Psyhcology and Biology departments at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga recently collaborated on an environment enrichment project which resulted in the construction of a special raft for our North American River Otters. Read more about the project here. (Video below by the UTC University Relations department)