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An early Christmas present from the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX® 3D
McDonald, Tenn., woman 5 millionth visitor to theater

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Dec. 16, 2004) – Members of the Headrick family from McDonald, Tenn., received a little extra “jolly” for their holiday this year.

Hope Headrick, who visited the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater today with her sons Christopher, 11, and Tyler, 5, was the theater’s 5 millionth visitor.

The family received a VIP welcome, an IMAX holiday gift basket, special holiday 3D glasses and other goodies. Following the gift presentation, the family watched the 3-D holiday animated film, “Santa vs. the Snowman.”

With more than half a million visitors each year, the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater is one of the top performing theaters in the country, according to Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler, Co-Chairmen and Co-Chief Executive Officers, IMAX Corporation.

Since the theater’s opening in 1996, visitors have climbed the daunting heights of Everest, experienced the weightlessness of space, and dived into the undersea worlds of the most fascinating and frightening aquatic creatures. The IMAX 3D experience is powerful, involving and intense. Because of its technologically advanced 3D cameras, rolling-loop projector, special polarized glasses, and large film format - at 10 times the size of conventional 35mm movie film, it's the largest in the world- viewers don't watch an IMAX 3D movie; they live it.

To enable the 3D effect, the lenses are carefully aligned to project both left and right eye views onto the giant screen. To see images in 3D, the audience wears polarized glasses, which match the polarizing filters of the projector's twin lenses. While the lenses superimpose separate left and right eye views onto the screen, the glasses make sure that each eye sees the appropriate image, allowing your brain to create a single 3D image.

IMAX facts at a glance:

  • Longest running film at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater-- “Into the Deep” opened May 1, 1996. The Aquarium’s signature film was a perfect companion to the Aquarium experience. “Ocean Wonderland” has since taken its place.
  • Most viewed at the Aquarium IMAX Theater:
    1. “Into the Deep” – 1,800,000 visitors (currently NOT showing)
    2. “Ocean Wonderland” – 500,000 visitors (currently showing through March 3)
    3. “T-Rex” – 400,000 visitors (currently showing through March 3)
  • Films currently showing at the Aquarium IMAX:
    1. “Santa vs. the Snowman” (seasonal film now showing through Jan. 6)
    2. “Ocean Wonderland” (now showing through March 3)
    3. “T-Rex” (now showing through March 3)
  • The IMAX building houses the massive six-story-high screen (66' x 89'), and the theater seats 400 people.
  • IMAX film schedule:
  • Ticket prices:
    IMAX Theater only:
    Adults: $7.75. Children under 12: $5.25.
    IMAX Theater/Tennessee Aquarium combination ticket:
    Adults: $18. Children under 12: $10.50
  • More than 700 million people around the world have been spellbound by the force and beauty of The IMAX Experience. Technically advanced and visually stunning, The IMAX Experience is the world's most powerful and immersive movie experience.

ONLINE Press Kits:

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The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the natural world. Admission is $14 per adult and $7.50 per child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium conservation programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $7.75 per adult and $5.25 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $18 for adults and $10.50 for children. Advance tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities. Members enjoy unlimited visits and other benefits. Call 267-FISH to join.

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