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Spider-Man’s latest, Polar Express bring big-screen joy to Aquarium’s seasonal celebration

Dec 1, 2021

Chattanooga, Tenn. (Dec. 1, 2021) – The holidays are the one time a year when families and friends brave claustrophobic flights and bumper-to-bumper traffic to see one another. The same is true for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but Marvel Comics’ wall-crawler probably won’t enjoy the reunions awaiting him in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The third Spidey flick to star Tom Holland as the beloved superhero will swing its way into the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater on Thursday, Dec. 16.

In No Way Home, Peter Parker’s effort to use magic to put the “secret” back in his secret identity goes horribly awry. With the help of Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Parker attempts to make the world forget that he’s Spider-Man, inadvertently creating a gateway between universes. This rift threatens the world by inviting in dangerous rivals from other realities, including familiar faces like Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), Shocker (Jamie Foxx) and the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe).


Anticipation for this holiday blockbuster has been at a fever pitch since the arrival of a teaser trailer on Aug. 23. That three-minute clip quickly became the most watched trailer of all time, attracting more than 355 million views across all online platforms in just 24 hours. That audience was a 23 percent day-one increase over the previous most viewed trailer for Avengers: Endgame.

Fans of Marvel movies and giant-screen entertainment shouldn’t wait to see No Way Home. As with most feature films at the theater, it will be presented in a limited run that concludes on Jan. 13.

Spider-Man: No Way Home finishes out a banner year for blockbuster entertainment at the IMAX 3D Theater. The theater’s six-story screen — Chattanooga’s largest — and its state-of-the-art IMAX with Laser projection system have made it a go-to site for cinema lovers in 2021. This year’s offerings have included hugely popular feature films such as Black Widow¸ Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, No Time to Die and Dune, which returns for a limited one-week run of nightly screenings Dec. 3-9.

No Way Home’s arrival coincides with the Aquarium’s Holidays Under the Peaks celebration, which runs from Nov. 26 until Dec. 31.


Polar Express train

Spidey’s premiere will attract plenty of moviegoers, but for many families, visiting the IMAX 3D Theater to see screenings of The Polar Express 3D is a long-standing holiday tradition. Based on the 1985 children’s book of the same name, this modern animated classic stars Tom Hanks as the conductor of a magical locomotive that whisks a doubting boy on a thrilling trip to the North Pole. Newly remastered for high-resolution screens, the Academy Award-nominated film sparkles brighter and sounds more thrilling than ever. Daily showings of The Polar Express 3D will continue through Sunday, Dec. 26.

Visitors to the Aquarium during Holidays Under the Peaks will feel the spirit of the season from the moment they enter the doors of the River Journey building, where they will be greeted by entrancing décor and a seasonal soundtrack. In what has become a new holiday tradition, audio-visual technicians have connected the Aquarium’s Twitter-famous Electric Eel, Miguel Wattson, to a nearby Christmas tree draped with lights that illuminate in response to his electrical discharges.

And how better to shake off doldrums born of gray skies and plummeting mercury than a trip through the recently reopened Butterfly Garden? After a nearly 20-month closure, this lush tropical exhibit once more is a-flutter with 1,000 to 1,500 butterflies at any given time. These winged beauties represent dozens of species and often alight on visitors’ hands, arms, shoulders — even hair — as if auditioning for an Instagram post.

Christmas tree in front of electric eel exhibit
girl standing in butterfly garden

A year of endless trips to the Aquarium is an ideal Christmas gift for families who wish to enjoy the wonders of nature together. Gift memberships provide unlimited access to both Aquarium buildings without the need to purchase timed-entry tickets. Members also enjoy discounts on IMAX tickets, additional Aquarium tickets and on purchases in the gift shop.

While supplies last, every gift membership purchased through Dec. 10 will come with a free mini-puzzle that makes a great stocking stuffer. Gift memberships may be purchased at tnaqua.org/members/gift-memberships/ or in-person at the Aquarium’s ticketing office.

Screening times, advanced ticket purchasing and additional details about Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Polar Express 3D and other IMAX offerings are available at tnaqua.org/imax/

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