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National poll ranks Tennessee Aquarium one of America’s best aquariums

Jul 17, 2020

Chattanooga, Tenn. (July 17, 2020) – Thanks to an outpouring of support from all over the nation, the Tennessee Aquarium secured a top spot in USA Today’s 10Best Reader’s Choice awards to determine the nation’s premiere aquariums.

Almost exactly a month after ending a prolonged closure to visitors, the Tennessee Aquarium is pleased to celebrate finishing No. 5 in the contest, which featured 20 facilities nominated by a panel of tourism and zoological experts.

The online contest ran between June 15 and July 6. Winners were selected by popular vote.

“We’re so grateful to our followers and fans, who helped us finish strong in this contest,” says Tennessee Aquarium President and CEO Keith Sanford. “It’s extremely gratifying to see this recognition of our team’s expertise, enthusiasm and dedication to our mission.”

The top ten winners in this category are as follows:

  1. Wonders of Wildlife
  2. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
  3. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
  4. Texas State Aquarium
  5. Tennessee Aquarium
  6. Georgia Aquarium
  7. Adventure Aquarium
  8. Mystic Aquarium
  9. Newport Aquarium
  10. OdySea Aquarium

Since opening in 1992, the Tennessee Aquarium has attracted more than 25 million people to Chattanooga from all over the world. This global audience’s breadth was reflected earlier this year by messages of support and gratitude from international fans who tuned into daily live streams designed to distract, educate and entertain supporters who found themselves homebound during the ongoing health crisis.

aerial view of Tennessee Aquarium buildings

The Aquarium is also widely recognized for its role as a freshwater science leader and a steward of the Southeast’s unparalleled abundance of aquatic life. Coordination between the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute and an array of academic, private, state and federal partners is crucial to the protection of many native species, including Lake Sturgeon, Southern Appalachian Brook Trout and Barrens Topminnow.

This latest honor from USA Today joins a host of accolades the Aquarium has received in its 28-year history, including the National Medal for Museum and Library Service in 2009 and recognition at the North American Conservation Awards in 2007. The Tennessee Aquarium is rated best in the nation for guest satisfaction, a superlative reflected in its 2018 induction into the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame.


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