Outreach Program Descriptions
We offer programs for all grade levels covering a variety of topics. Programs are divided into grade level categories to help you decide which program is right for your class.
Learn about sharks and the fascinating adaptations of these amazing fish.
Learn how some animals use their senses in ways that may be hard to believe.
HABITAT, SWEET HABITAT
Learn about different habitats and the four components that make up a habitat. Live animals are used to show unique adaptations to help them survive in their habitat.
INSECTS AND SPIDERS
Learn about creepy crawlies and the cool characteristics which make them great at doing their job on our planet.
What does a baby frog look like? Where do butterflies come from? Find out as we explore the life cycles of frogs and butterflies.
What makes an animal a reptile? Meet lizards, turtles, and snakes up-close and learn more about them.
Moist skin and a love for bugs! We’ll meet frogs, toads, and salamanders and learn more about these interesting creatures.
THE COLORS OF NATURE*
Why do trees turn such beautiful colors? Learn how trees and animals respond to seasonal changes.
*Available only in September, October, and November.
KINDERGARTEN THROUGH 3RD GRADE:
Do spiders give you “the creeps”? Do bugs “bug” you? Do you shudder at the thought of a slithery snake? Learn more about creepy crawlies so they won’t be quite so scary! Your class will meet several creepy crawly animals “eye-to-eye”.
How do tomato frogs get their name? What animal throws barbed hairs for protection? What desert lizard stores water in its tail? Students will meet several colorful, bizarre and interesting animals that come from tropical areas around the world!
Students will learn about swamps and some of the animals that live there through the use of props and live animals. They will have an “up close and personal” encounter with a live snake, feel real alligator teeth and find out how alligator snapping turtles catch their food. The last portion of this very interactive program features volunteers costumed as swamp creatures with the rest of the class making swamp sounds for their fellow classmates who have become “SWAMP THINGS”!
Students use their imagination to become SCUBA divers, exploring the undersea world with the help of interesting “touchable” props. How sharp are shark teeth? Feel a sea turtle’s skin! Why are some animals “jet-propelled” and what animals have mouths in the middle of their body? Several volunteers become “sea creatures” at program’s end. No live animals are used in this program.
NO BONES ABOUT IT
Students will see both marine and terrestrial invertebrates to learn about the many animals on earth that lack backbones or skeletons.
1ST THROUGH 5TH GRADE:
INSECTS AROUND US!
Learn about animals that are easy for any child to observe, right in their own backyard. Insects! Your class will explore the world of insects, using live insects, specimens, and neat insect costumes.
The ocean is a challenging place to live. Meet and touch several ocean animals, such as a sea star, crab, and marine snail. All have interesting adaptations to survive in their ocean habitats.
2ND AND 3RD GRADE:
Tropical rainforests cover only 7% of the Earth’s surface, yet it is estimated they are home to almost half of all existing plant and animal species. Students will learn about different layers of the rainforest and some of the plants and animals that live there. Costumed volunteers, chosen from the audience, become part of a make-believe rainforest in this highly interactive program. Threats currently facing the rainforest will also be discussed.
* While usually presented in a classroom, the Rainforest Shuffle program may also be scheduled as an auditorium-type program. The stage area should be large enough to accommodate the presenter and 18 costumed children. See Program Fees for special pricing in Auditorium Program Fees.
4TH AND 5TH GRADE:
Precipitation! Condensation! Evaporation! Learn how Tennessee’s water is connected with water around the world. You’ll play a game illustrating the movement of water worldwide, and meet several animals you’d see on a journey from the Aquarium to the Gulf of Mexico.
BONES OR NOT? VERTEBRATES AND INVERTEBRATES
Do snakes have backbones? Do insects have skeletons? Live animals and props will be used to discuss the difference between animals that have backbones (vertebrates) and those that do not (invertebrates). Expect to see live snakes, turtles, frogs, insects, spiders and several skeletons in this informative program.
BUILD YOUR OWN RIVER
Discover what goes on beneath a river’s surface. Students will enjoy this interactive program in which volunteers become everything from aquatic insects to boulders when we construct a make-believe river! The only live animals used in this program are your students.
We’re “hopping” your students will be as fascinated with frogs and toads as most folks are! This interesting group of amphibians comes in many different forms and colors. Meet frogs and toads from many areas of the world and learn neat ways they have adapted to their habitats. Life cycle, conservation issues, and characteristics will be discussed.
Love them or hate them...everyone is fascinated by those interesting reptiles known as SNAKES! Your class will learn all about snakes up-close and personal. This program features live animals as well as educational props to highlight interesting adaptations, lifestyles, and habits of snakes.
6TH THROUGH 12TH GRADE:
LET'S GO TIDE POOLING
Investigate the living creatures of a typical tide pool on the beach. See and touch live marine invertebrates including sea stars, urchins, crabs, and mollusks.
Explore the connection between your drinking water, the larger Chattanooga area and on to the global watershed by following a hypothetical plastic bag from the Tennessee Aquarium as it makes its way to the Gulf of Mexico. This solutions-oriented program uses some live animals to highlight multiple environmental issues.
DRY SCALES OR SMOOTH SKIN? REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS
How does a snake differ from a frog? Characteristics and life cycles of both reptiles and amphibians will be discussed. Using close observation and a dichotomous key, students will classify each animal. They will inspect each animal “eyeball to eyeball”, to discover what makes them a reptile or amphibian.
ARTHRO-WHATS? THE SMALL THINGS THAT RUN THE WORLD
Learn about arthropods, the small things that run the world, in this very interactive program. Characteristics of four families of arthropods; insects, arachnids, myriapods and crustaceans will be discussed. Through the use of a dichotomous key and close observations, students will have an opportunity to identify a variety of arthropods.
9TH THROUGH 12TH GRADE:
SERVE & PROTECT: A NEW WAY TO “SEE” FOOD
Learn about the impacts of commercial fishing on the ocean, the advantages and shortcomings of aquaculture (fish farming) and what steps all consumers can take to help protect our ocean while enjoying our natural resources. This program is free for all schools.
BRINGING BACK THE NATIVES: REINTRODUCING LAKE STURGEON IN THE SOUTHEAST
Did you know that the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute has been working for over a decade to repopulate endangered Lake Sturgeon in our area? There have been over 200,000 Lake Sturgeon released to date, but they still need our help! Learn about how they got to their low numbers, and what the future looks like for these amazing river giants in our very own backyard!
This program features animals found in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia (TAG). Learn more about some of the interesting animals of the southeastern United States.