Animal Encounters

Fun Animal Encounters

From a hairy tarantula to a talking African gray parrot, you never know what you’ll bump into in Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari at the Tennessee Aquarium!



Our online Otter store

Adorable, fun and cute otter plush animals, puppets, toys and gifts!

Mammals at the Tennessee Aquarium


The North American river otters may be the mammalian mega-stars at the Aquarium, but a furry faced woodchuck and gentle opossum are the rising stars of the Animal Encounters program. Visitors have a chance to meet up close, and in some cases touch, dozens of interesting species not typically seen in an aquarium setting. Yet Tennessee Aquarium guests are thrilled by special impromptu Animal Encounters presented every hour of every day. Whether it’s a tiny toucan, spiny hedgehog, or hairy legged tarantula, each animal has an interesting story and important role in the world. Begin exploring their world here.