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Location Guidelines

Guidelines and agreement for location shooting at the Tennessee Aquarium:

The Tennessee Aquarium and the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Center are public facilities. Visitors are entitled to experience both facilities with a minimum of distraction. Permission to film or photograph for commercial purposes is granted subject to certain conditions: the project must be consistent with the Aquarium’s mission and image, may not hinder operations, and should not detract from the visitors’ experience. Permission for filming at the Aquarium can be obtained only from the public relations department.


Location fees may vary according to whether the project is commercial or non-profit in origin, its intended market, potential promotional value to the Aquarium, whether rights to what is filmed or photographed are shared with the Aquarium, the extent of lighting and set staging and other factors.

The present base fees for filming are:
· $1,000 for the first two hours, two-hour minimum
· $350 for each additional hour
· $3,600 per day (Location fees of up to $8,000 per day may be charged depending on the nature and complexity of the project)

Additional fees may also apply if staff members other than public relations are required, including:
· $40 per hour for staff in trade positions (electricians, facilities staff, plumbers, etc.)
· $25 per hour for other staff (security, biologists, exhibits, etc.)

Payment of base fees must be made prior to shooting. Additional costs must be paid at the end of the shoot. Any billing requirements must be discussed and approved prior to commencing filming on site.

Advance Notice:

The aquarium will make every effort to accommodate last minute requests to shoot. However, whenever possible, as least two weeks advance notice is requested. Requests with less than a 24-hour notice cannot be accommodated.

Night Shoots:

Facility availability for filming in the evening is dependent on whether night events are scheduled. Night shoots must be cleared through the Aquarium’s public relations staff and evening events department and cannot occur simultaneously with events.

Script Approval:

Final approved scripts, including all scenes and schedules involving either facility, must be submitted to the public relations department at least two weeks in advance of the shoot. The Aquarium reserves the rights to approve or deny use of the Aquarium’s name or image in any context and to review any scenes involving the Aquarium’s facilities.

Filming in Tanks:

Divers with equipment present a serious hazard to the exhibits and resident animal life. As a general rule, the Aquarium does not allow non-staff divers into exhibits. Exceptions are made, however, with the approval of curators and the Aquarium dive safety coordinator. Certified scuba divers who meet all Aquarium qualifications may be given temporary permission to dive and shoot in the exhibits. A complete “Temporary Certification” form must be received by public relations and approved by the Aquarium’s dive safety coordinator at least 24 hours in advance of the shoot date.

Site Tours and Reviews:

A site tour and review of on-site requirements must be scheduled between a member of the public relations staff and members of the crew a minimum of three days in advance of the shoot. At this time, all shooting locations, building access and parking needs must be addressed and agreed upon.

Filming will generally be limited to the public areas of the Aquarium’s facilities. Any behind-the-scenes shooting must be agreed upon during the site tour prior to the shoot date.

The size of the crew, number of talent and amount of equipment must be agreed upon at the site tour or prior to the shoot date.

Lighting and Electrical Needs:

Power supplies are limited in certain areas of the Aquarium’s facilities. Power needs must be directed to the Aquarium electricians in advance of the shoot. This issue may be addressed at the time of the site tour.

Lighting restrictions may apply to certain areas of the Aquarium’s facilities. In most areas, additional lighting is allowed. The number of lights and their placement in relation to exhibit windows must be monitored by a member of the public relations staff. (The exhibit windows are acrylic and can be damaged by hot lights.)

Exhibit lighting may not be altered without permission from a member of the exhibits department. Exhibits may be not be lit, nor can exhibit lighting be turned on after 1:30 a.m., unless and agreement is made in writing prior to the commencement of any filming on site.

Exhibits and Set Construction:

Aquarium exhibits may not be altered or moved in any way. Limited set construction may be permitted. Any sets brought into the Aquarium’s facilities must be approved ahead of time. Nothing may be permanently attached to walls or other structures. No tape may be applied to walls or exhibits. Materials brought into the building must be removed by the film crew.


All space in the Aquarium’s facilities has a designated purpose and is at a premium. We regret that no storage of any kind can be provided on site prior to or between filming sessions, with one exception: by prior agreement, some lighting set-ups behind the scenes that may be required on multiple days may remain in place during the duration of the filming.


The film company is fully responsible for any damage that occurs during use of the Aquarium’s facilities and must pay for any repairs deemed necessary by the Aquarium.


The Aquarium cannot provide extensive parking. A limited number of on-site spaces may be available if reserved in advance. Parking for additional vehicles is available in adjoining lots.


A certificate of insurance for a minimum of $1,000,000 of general liability coverage as well as Tennessee statutory limits for workers compensation coverage is required. The Tennessee Aquarium must also be named as an additional insured party on such certificate.

Model Releases:

The production company is responsible for obtaining model releases when necessary.


Film crews may be required to provide the following:
· walkie talkies for Aquarium staff coordinating the shoot
· their own equipment carts. The Aquarium has a limited number of carts and they may not be available for use during shoots.

Cranes and Dollies:

The weight of any heavy equipment and the type of tires on cranes and dollies must be cleared through the Aquarium facilities department prior to shooting.


No smoking is allowed anywhere inside the Aquarium building in front of or behind the scenes.


All maintenance, major construction, repairs and custodial work occurs at times when the Aquarium is closed. If sound is being recorded, we will make every effort to minimize noise from sources such as floor polishers, metal carts, vacuums and other machinery, but please be aware that we cannot guarantee a perfectly quiet work environment.

Maintenance crews and husbandry personnel must have time to complete all work before the Aquarium opens to the public in the morning.

The production company representative hereby agrees to make any changes, or to discontinue filming if the Aquarium’s designated representative determines that exhibit life is being endangered, or the potential for damage to the building or exhibits exists.

For additional information on location shooting at the Tennessee Aquarium or the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Center, please contact:

Thom Benson
Communications Manager
Tennessee Aquarium
201 Chestnut Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402

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