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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 unique 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 are offered at 9 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. It is very important that your group arrive at the Aquarium, IMAX, and education programs ahead of time. Groups need to check in 30 minutes before the 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 or education programs will need to be rescheduled or canceled. 

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 purchase our lunches and reserve limited classroom space from October to February. You may also book a 45-minute classroom program or 30-minute auditorium program. Talk to a reservationist to develop a schedule that works for your group.

IMAX Schedule


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).

Directions & Parking


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 PreK through college. Promotional pricing is available for school groups based on their percentage of economically disadvantaged children. 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!  

Field Trip Prices

Call the Reservations Department at (423) 265-0698 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

If none of these topics fit your needs, please contact our Education Department by phone (423-785-4176) or email and we will be happy to direct your request.

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Ask the Expert

Use this handy form to ask the Aquarium expert. We have scientists who know amphibians, birds, fish, insects, invertebrates, reptiles or mammals.

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Did you know that Tennessee has the richest freshwater fauna of any state in the United States with over 320 fish species living in our waters?

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School Programs

Education Programs

Aquarium programs are FREE for school groups visiting the Tennessee Aquarium and IMAX 3D Theater. 

Program Descriptions