Morning Pointe Senior Living Co-founder & President Greg Vital, center, stands with residents Jim Lancaster, Ruth Lowery, Don Dupree and Billy Cooper, from left, with wheelchairs that will be available for checkout by guests at the Tennessee Aquarium.
Chattanooga, Tenn. (Dec. 19, 2023) – The Tennessee Aquarium is offering new, larger, and more comfortable wheelchairs for guests needing additional mobility aid during their visit, and the service is being provided at no cost, thanks to the sponsorship of Morning Pointe Senior Living.
The Aquarium previously offered manual wheelchair rental for use by guests, but the cost of maintaining the equipment necessitated charging a modest fee for their use. As the existing fleet aged, it became more difficult and costly to maintain.
Now, with this new funding, guests can check out a wheelchair upon arrival at no cost.
“We recognize that even guests who are highly mobile in their daily lives may not be comfortable walking for an entire tour of both Aquarium buildings,” says Aquarium VP and Chief Guest Experience Officer Micheal Floyd. “This new fleet of wheelchairs provides them with an alternative and helps make our facility more accessible to guests of all ages, abilities, and means.”
Tours of the Aquarium typically take about two hours with a walking distance of approximately one mile.
The new fleet is comprised of 12 20-inch-wide manual wheelchairs and three 24-inch-wide chairs for 15 total wheelchairs to accommodate the needs of a variety of guests.
The new wheelchair fleet is made possible thanks to the support of Morning Pointe Senior Living, a recognized leader in the senior living community providing assisted living, personal care and Alzheimer’s memory care services.
“Morning Pointe Senior Living’s mission is to help our seniors live their best lives, and when this opportunity came up to support the Tennessee Aquarium in a way that will allow seniors and others in need of mobility assistance to experience the joy of this beautiful attraction, it felt like a natural fit,” said Greg A. Vital, Cofounder/President of Morning Pointe Senior Living. “The Tennessee Aquarium has played an important role in making Chattanooga and Hamilton County a great destination for families to visit, and we are privileged to be able to give back to this organization that has done so much for our community.”
Morning Pointe’s sponsorship also facilitates a service contract with a local vendor that will help keep the fleet maintained for years to come.
The new wheelchairs will help the Aquarium connect even more visitors with nature and allow them to comfortably explore the wheelchair accessible galleries on their journey from the mountains to the sea.
“We’re very excited to be able to offer another complimentary service for our guests that will help more individuals access our facility to learn about water and wildlife,” Floyd says.
To check out a wheelchair for use during an Aquarium tour, guests can visit the Guest Services Information Desk near the River Journey Gift Shop, where wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. A photo ID is required to hold until the unit is returned.