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Stay local, go global: Embark on an around-the-world trip at the Tennessee Aquarium this spring

Mar 2, 2021

Chattanooga, Tenn. (March 2, 2021) – The light at the end of winter’s dreary tunnel is fast approaching, but for many families, the opportunity to travel to distant lands is just a spring break pipe dream. Fortunately, would-be globetrotters can satisfy their wanderlust and meet amazing animals from all seven continents without leaving the Chattanooga waterfront.

Every day, the Tennessee Aquarium showcases thousands of animals from nearly every habitat on Earth. Beginning March 5, however, the Aquarium will kick off Global Passport. This yearlong celebration that will ensure each continent’s animals are given a chance to shine in the spotlight.

Armed with a “passport” they print off at home, guests can embark on their adventure while honing in on animals from a new featured continent every month. Whether through in-person visits, fun behind-the-scenes videos or live streams online, the Global Passport program will help Aquarium fans learn even more about their favorite species and gain a deeper appreciation for the important role they play in ecosystems all over the planet.

The program kicks off with a special emphasis on North American wildlife, from playful River Otters and dinosaur-like Alligator Snapping Turtles to long-snooted Paddlefish. After finishing their trek through the River Journey and Ocean Journey buildings, visitors can drop by the gift shop to receive a free passport sticker “stamp” to commemorate their exploration of the highlighted continent.


river otters

Every month, the spotlight — and the sticker-stamp on offer — will shift to a new landmass and new species, including:

  • April (South America): Stunning Electric Eels, toothy Piranhas and toxically beautiful Poison Dart Frogs
  • May (Asia): Colossal Japanese Spider Crabs, snippy Chinese Big-Headed Turtles and perfectly patterned Koi
  • June (Africa): Scaly African Dwarf Crocodile, psychedelic Panther Chameleons and acrobatic Ring-tailed Lemurs
  • July (Oceania): Sleek Eastern Fiddler Rays, lanky Australian Snake-necked Turtles and vibrant Indo-Pacific reef fish
  • August (Europe): Stately Russian Sturgeon and spotted Brown Trout
  • September (Antarctica): Plucky Gentoo and Macaroni Penguins

And before departing on their round-the-world adventure, guests can gain additional insights about the animals they’ll encounter through the Aquarium’s social media channels, which will host a steady stream of behind-the-scenes videos and live-streamed chats with Aquarium experts centered on each month’s featured continent.

After their Aquarium adventure concludes, visitors can cross the street to take in a pair of exciting giant-screen films at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater. Brought to vivid life through a state-of-the-art IMAX with Laser projection system, the theater’s colossal six-story screen — the largest in Chattanooga — becomes a gateway to some of the most exotic destinations on Earth, including a few that are closer to home than you might think.

Ariel Tweto paddles a tandem kayak through the arctic blue waters of Spencer Glacier in Chugach National Forest, Alaska.



With Into America’s Wild 3D, the giant screen wizards at MacGillivray Freeman have trained their lens once more on America’s bounty of grandiose wildlands. A spiritual successor to the studio’s hit 2016 documentary National Parks Adventure 3D, this all-new film takes audiences on a tour of America’s glorious back country, from the wave-whipped coves of the Pacific Coast’s Kelp Highway to the golden splendor of Utah’s Pando Aspen Grove to the lush sprawl of the Appalachian Trail.

Whether they’re paddling through glacial waters, running alongside wild horses or ziplining across canyons, viewers will experience the wonder of discovery — both over the horizon and inside themselves — as they see the beauty of the American wilderness as it has never been shown before. This film is narrated by Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman.

In Turtle Odyssey 3D, audiences cross thousands of miles to visit the crystalline waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Here, in the largest living structure on Earth, a tiny Green Sea Turtle hatchling named Bungee sets off on an epic voyage into a world brimming with ocean life. As viewers follow along on this turtle trek, they’ll take in stunning views of incredible creatures, from enormous Manta Rays to expertly camouflaged Giant Cuttlefish. They’ll also learn more about the efforts of dedicated scientists and conservationists to safeguard sea turtles like Bungee. Academy Award winner Russel Crowe narrates this film.

IMAX ticket prices and additional information on each featured film is available at tnaqua.org/imax.


guests at Stingray Bay
guest viewing penguins
guest in Turtle gallery

In the interest of providing a stress-free, safe escape for all visitors, the Aquarium continues to emphasize stringent health protocols throughout its campus, including mask requirements for guests ages five and up, timed-entry ticketing and capacity limits. In December, the Aquarium also installed a dramatically upgraded air-circulation and purification system that features highly effective ultraviolet-C filtration. For more information on these measures, visit tnaqua.org/welcomeback.

During Spring Break, families can get an early start. Beginning March 12, the Tennessee Aquarium’s hours of operation will expand to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. From April 2 to 11, the Aquarium will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Due to capacity limits, tickets must be purchased online in advance at https://tnaqua.org/

To learn more about spring break fun in Chattanooga, go to https://www.visitchattanooga.com/spring/

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