Chattanooga, Tenn. (Sept. 30, 2021) – Whether it’s cats squeezing into impossibly small containers or squirrels doing the kind of mid-air acrobatics that would leave Spider-Man slack-jawed, there are times when the natural world all but demands a double-take.
The average visit to the Tennessee Aquarium offers up plenty of amazing sights, but there are some oddball behaviors that only a lucky few get to witness. Whether it’s a Paddlefish slicing through the water with its mouth stretched impossibly wide, a male turtle tickling his girlfriend, or a River Otter dancing his way to the latrine, these moments of natural weirdness are a rare treat.
Throughout ODDtober, the Aquarium is taking the guesswork out of observing its residents’ most fascinating eccentricities. By scanning QR codes posted throughout the Aquarium’s two buildings, visitors can watch short videos that showcase must-see moments like a Clownfish slipping on a protective coat of mucus or an enormous Amazonian fish breathing … air?
Guests will find ten exhibits — five in the River Journey building and five in the Ocean Journey building — that highlight especially unusual behaviors. Like suddenly discovering a favorite uncle’s secret knack for juggling, these videos show rarely seen sides to the Aquarium’s living collection that may surprise even longtime members.
The Aquarium’s Twitter-famous Electric Eel, Miguel Wattson (@EelectricMiguel), will also be getting in the spook of things with a weird-science exhibition of his bio-electric powers. As Miguel discharges electricity, the ceiling of the Rivers of the World gallery will be lit by a lurid glow thanks to strings of Jack-o’-lantern lights rigged to sensors in his tank.
At the conclusion of their odd-yssey, visitors touring during October can commemorate their visit with a visit to the gift shop. There, they can mention the super-secret passphrase — shhhhhh … it’s “ODDtober” — to get a special free sticker, while supplies last.
At some point in October, the Aquarium will celebrate an important milestone. Since opening in May 1992, the Aquarium has helped a global multitude to forge lasting bonds with the natural world. During ODDtober, the 26 millionth guest will enter the Aquarium’s doors. This lucky guest will receive a special prize package to signify this special moment in the Aquarium’s nearly 30-year stint at the heart of Chattanooga’s revitalized riverfront.
The end of October also marks the return of AquaScarium, the Aquarium’s family-friendly, spooky (but not TOO spooky) Halloween celebration. Whether they’re in costume or just “dressed as themselves,” AquaScarium attendees get to explore the Aquarium after regular operating hours, increasing the chance of seeing wonderfully weird creatures that prefer to hide during the day.
As they wander through the galleries, guests can also keep a Buccaneer’s eye out for hidden treasure while enjoying fun lighting displays, themed decorations, and underwater appearances by a host of beloved pop culture characters. Guests who locate caches of booty during their tour will be rewarded with bags pre-filled with candy.
This year’s AquaScarium will be split between two nights: Thursday, Oct. 28, and Friday, Oct. 29. The first evening all attendees will be required to wear a mask (whether in or out of costume). During the second evening, masks will be strongly encouraged but not required.
As with general admission to the Aquarium, tickets to AquaScarium feature designated entry times. Both evenings of AquaScarium run from 4 to 7 p.m. Visitors who desire can stay until close, regardless of their chosen arrival time.
Tickets must be purchased online in advance and cost $35 for non-members and $8 for members. Children under 3 may attend for free in the company of an adult. AquaScarium is presented by Food City.
To learn more about ODDtober or purchase tickets to AquaScarium, visit tnaqua.org/oddtober/