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Spring Break Safaris at the Tennessee Aquarium
Become an Aquatic Biologist or Hi-Speed Boat Captain

Chattanooga, Tenn. (February 11, 2009) – Taking care of penguins may be one of the coolest jobs in the world according to some Tennessee Aquarium visitors. But after talking with the divers in the Secret Reef as big, toothy sharks swim past, they think “Maybe that’s the coolest job in the world.” Or maybe the captain of the Aquarium’s sleek, new, hi-speed boat has the best gig going. There are so many cool animals, and so many cool jobs at the Aquarium! Spring break is the perfect time to go behind the scenes, become an aquatic biologist for a day, or a hi-speed boat captain and decide which job really is the most awesome.

Kids of all ages can discover just what it takes to pilot a one-of-a-kind vessel, fix breakfast for thousands of animals and even feed the fish! During three fun safaris each day at the Aquarium, they will meet penguin keepers, shark specialists, butterfly experts and some of the Tennessee Aquarium’s most charismatic creatures.

During the morning aquatic safari, guests (adventurers) will join a member of the Aquarium’s staff to experience what it’s like to be an aquatic biologist. The whole family will get a special behind-the-scenes look at the Tennessee Aquarium before it opens for the day.

A special guide will lead safari members through the food-prep kitchen in the River Journey building, the Cove Forest where they’ll check up on the playful river otters and the Delta Swamp to visit the alligators and offer breakfast to the ducks and turtles.

Venturing into the Ocean Journey building, the group will encounter the hyacinth macaws as they are prepared to go out on exhibit, find out what’s on the menu in Penguins’ Rock, watch the sharks and stingrays being fed at Shark Island and help our entomologist release newly emerged butterflies in the garden. Participants will also take home a personalized “dog” tag that identifies them as junior Tennessee Aquarium biologists.

On the captain’s morning safari on the Tennessee River, young explorers will climb aboard the Aquarium’s new boat, the River Gorge Explorer, to meet its captains and experience what it’s like to pilot this one of a kind vessel. Participants and their family will get a special stem to stern look at the Explorer before the first cruise of the day.

The captain will begin by guiding guests through the pre-cruise checklist. They will “learn the ropes” of tying lines alongside the vessel before moving inside the cabin to study navigational charts. Once the course is plotted, everyone will climb up to the captain’s bridge for a technology briefing on all of the state-of-the-art video screens and safety devices used by the crew. Next it’s topside to “assist” the captain as he maneuvers the boat away from the Chattanooga Pier by remote-control. Then everyone can relax and enjoy a scenic and exciting adventure into Tennessee’s Grand Canyon with our naturalist. Participants will take home a “dog” tag that identifies them as a crew member of the Tennessee Aquarium River Gorge Explorer.

AQUATIC AFTERNOON SAFARI – Ages 10 and older only
During the aquatic afternoon safari, participants will join a member of the Aquarium’s staff to experience what it’s like to be an aquatic biologist. This group will dive into the inner workings of a world-class aquarium to explore a hidden maze of pipes and pumps, discover what it takes to feed thousands of creatures and even feed a few while traveling behind the scenes in both Aquarium buildings.

The tour guide will lead the safari into the depths of the Aquarium to learn how we keep more than 1 million gallons of water clean and then inside the operation center where it’s always “all systems go.” A visit to the food-prep kitchen will shed some light on what it takes to keep thousands of different animals from penguins to jellyfish well-fed and healthy. Then head behind-the-scenes to visit the Gulf of Mexico where guests will have the chance to feed some of the hungry inhabitants. The group will also stop above the 618,000-gallon Secret Reef exhibit to get a top-side view of the aquarium’s largest sharks and maybe even the sea turtle. Participants will take home personalized “dog” tags that identify them as junior Tennessee Aquarium biologists.

Morning tour must be reserved by 6 p.m. the night before and must be pre-paid.
Afternoon tours can be sold until 2:30 p.m. the same day.
All Aquatic Safari participants meet at the River Journey Member's Entrance.
All Captain’s Safari participants meet at the Chattanooga Pier.
All participants will receive a 10% discount in the gift shop.

Aquatic Safaris: Monday — Friday, March 13 to April 17
Morning Aquatic Safari: 8:45 to 10:15 a.m.
Afternoon Aquatic Safari: 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.

Aquatic Safaris: $31 per participant (includes admission to the Tennessee Aquarium)
                        $18 for Tennessee Aquarium Members I want to be a member!
                        Groups: Limited to 15 participants

Captain’s Safaris: Monday – Friday
March 20 to April 2, 2009: 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
April 3 to April 17, 2009: 9:30 a.m. to Noon.

Captain’s Safaris: $36 per participant (includes two-hour excursion)
                           $31 for Tennessee Aquarium Members I want to be a member!
                          Groups: Limited to 2 children

For reservations: Call 800-262-0695, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m


The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the natural world. Admission is $19.95 per adult and $12.95 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 $8.50 per adult and $6.00 per child. Aquarium/IMAX® combo tickets are $25.95 for adults and $17.95 for children. Excursions aboard the new River Gorge Explorer depart daily into “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon.” 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.

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