The following is a list of FAQs about visiting the Tennessee Aquarium. For more detailed information related to the changes we have made in response to COVID-19 please also check our Welcome Back page.
Are masks required at the Aquarium and IMAX 3D Theater?
Following CDC guidelines, as of July 27, masks are strongly recommended for everyone in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. We expect all guests who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings while inside the Aquarium’s buildings – including the IMAX 3D Theater. However, Aquarium staff will not ask for proof of vaccination.
Based on recent trends and official guidance, the Tennessee Aquarium continues to modify our health and safety policies.
We will continue to maintain capacity limits each hour at the Aquarium to help maintain proper physical distancing within our galleries. In addition, the audience size at IMAX will be limited to 50% of theater capacity. Therefore, timed-entry tickets will still be required.
What are timed-entry tickets?
Daily capacity is currently limited at the Tennessee Aquarium. To help manage the number of people entering our buildings at one time, tickets are sold in 30-minute entry blocks. Guests must arrive within their scheduled time block to be admitted. Once inside, guests can tour at their normal pace. (It typically takes a total of 2 to 2 ½ hours to tour both Aquarium buildings.)
I bought tickets for the last entry time of the day. Will my visit be cut short?
No. Our buildings remain open past the last entry time to accommodate our last groups of ticket holders. When you arrive, our Admissions or Visitor’s Services staff might suggest starting in either River Journey or Ocean Journey depending on the closing schedule for the day.
What is included with my Aquarium ticket?
General admission tickets to the Tennessee Aquarium allow access to both the River Journey and Ocean Journey buildings and all exhibits and experiences on the main tour path.
How long should I plan to be at the Aquarium?
Plan to enjoy at least two hours during your Aquarium visit.
What animals can I see?
Check the Explore section of our website to learn more about some of the animals you’ll meet at the Aquarium. While our living forests and other galleries are open throughout year, some exhibits might require extra maintenance. In the rare case that an area temporarily closes, a notice is posted both on the Aquarium homepage and on Facebook. Update: As part of our response to COVID-19, pop-up tanks, Lake Sturgeon encounter, our Butterfly Garden and many of our interactive touch screen exhibits are not available at this time.
Where are the restrooms located?
In the River Journey building, take the lower elevator from the main lobby down to the A-level and turn right. An additional restroom is located on Level 3 in Discovery Hall.
In the Ocean Journey building, you’ll find a restroom just to the right after your ticket is scanned and a second one on the 4th floor on the left just before the Butterfly Garden entrance.
Is there Wi-Fi at the Aquarium?
Yes, Wi-Fi is available in both Aquarium buildings and IMAX 3D Theater.
Is food allowed/available for purchase?
The Tennessee Aquarium operates a refreshment center near the River Journey Gift Shop entrance. Beverages with a screw cap that are purchased here (including our reusable bottles) can be carried into the Tennessee Aquarium. Additionally, the Aquarium has free water refill stations throughout. Coolers and outside food cannot be brought into the Aquarium buildings. Food and beverages may also be purchased at the IMAX 3D Theater Concession Stand and carried into the IMAX Theater.
Is there a nursing area?
Nursing mothers are welcome to nurse wherever they feel most comfortable. A private nursing room is available to the left of the escalator on the A-level of the River Journey building.
Do you allow/rent strollers?
Strollers are permitted inside the Aquarium. We do not have any strollers available for rent. Strollers are not permitted inside the IMAX theater, however, a stroller parking area is provided in the lobby.
Is the Aquarium handicap accessible? Are wheelchairs available?
All exhibit galleries are fully accessible. Wheelchairs are available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis. A driver’s license is required to hold until the unit is returned. Wheelchair rentals are located at the Guest Services Information Desk at the River Journey exit.
Do you have lockers/coat check?
There are no guest lockers or coat check areas available at the Aquarium.
Can I take pictures/video when I visit the Aquarium?
Yes. However, please be mindful of signage on exhibits where flash photography is prohibited. We encourage our guests to share their favorite pictures on the Tennessee Aquarium Facebook page and on Instagram with #TennesseeAquarium.
How can I find out about jobs at the Aquarium?
Our current job listings can be found on the Jobs page of our website.
Who owns the Aquarium? Where does your funding come from?
The Tennessee Aquarium is a private not-for-profit organization. Our annual funding comes from admission and membership fees, gift shop sales, business sponsorships, grants and individual donations. Visit the About Us section of our website to learn more about our community impact.
I would like to purchase extra copies of/I have a question about the photos taken of me at the entrance to River Journey. Who should I contact?
Showtime Pictures is a separate company which handles the group photos available for purchase at the Aquarium. For more information on contacting Showtime, visit support.showtimepictures.com. For additional assistance, call (423) 785-3021.
The safety and well-being of our visitors, staff and animals is always our highest priority. The following policies help us to ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone.
The following items/activities are prohibited inside the Tennessee Aquarium:
- Tobacco use – cigarettes and e-cigarettes
- Outside food or drink (including alcoholic beverages)
- Weapons, including firearms, knives, blades, mace or pepper spray
- Pets (see service animal policy below)
- Clothing with offensive or vulgar language
- Laser pens and pointers
- Noise-making devices
- Any other items deemed dangerous or inappropriate
All purses, backpacks, packages and other personal items are subject to inspection upon entry.
Code of Conduct:
Unauthorized distribution of propaganda, flyers, pamphlets, or other literature is not allowed on Aquarium property. Courteous behavior is expected of all visitors. Unruly or unsafe behavior that endangers people or animals or disrupts the experiences of other guests can result in ejection from the premises.
Service Animal Policy:
Service animals (defined as dogs or miniature horses trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities) are welcome at the Aquarium. Learn more about accessibility at the Aquarium here.
Amateur photographers should be mindful of exhibit signage and avoid using flash where prohibited. Our Cuttlefish and Octopus are especially sensitive to flash photography. Tripods are acceptable as long as they do not interfere with the experience for other guests.
Guidelines and agreement for location shooting at the Tennessee Aquarium. Permission for filming at the Aquarium can be obtained only from the public relations department. Learn more
The Aquarium sometimes photographs and records visitors for educational and promotional purposes. Entry to the Aquarium’s facilities grants permission for the Aquarium to use these images and recordings. Ticket bearers irrevocably consent that any photographs, videos, voice recordings or similar materials taken of the bearer by the Aquarium or any modification of the same may be used by the Aquarium or any parties permitted by the Aquarium for the purposes of illustration, promotion, advertising, video presentation or publication in any manner deemed appropriate by the Aquarium. The bearer agrees that all such materials shall be the sole property of the Aquarium.
In accordance with Federal Aviation Administration Small Unmanned Aircraft System Rule (14 CFR part 107), Unmanned Aircraft Systems (drones) may not be flown directly over people. (https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/part_107/) Therefore, drones may not operate in the airspace around, or over, the Tennessee Aquarium and Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater.
Commercial operators with remote pilot certification must request permission from the Aquarium before flying near or over the Tennessee Aquarium and Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater.