No Passport Required For This Tropical Holiday Adventure

World-Wide Fun Right Down The Road At The Tennessee Aquarium

Monday, November 3, 2008 - by Thom L. Benson

Visiting exotic locations in every corner of the world is just a short trip down the road in downtown Chattanooga. Relax and enjoy waves of fun by cruising over to the Tennessee Aquarium for "A Tropical Holiday Adventure" Nov. 21 through Jan. 4.

This quick trip allows people to bask in balmy temperatures while enjoying crystal clear ocean views, Caribbean holiday music, cascading waterfalls and lush tropical forests. Throughout this journey guests will learn more about exotic island and underwater wildlife in a relaxed setting.

Venture into a Brazilian rain forest to hear the call of the hyacinth macaws. Through the lush vegetation the brilliant blue and vivid yellow of the largest member of the parrot family really stands out. Each day visitors will get a chance to see these "Parrot Heads" display some remarkable behaviors during a special keeper talk that is engaging for all ages.



Travel to the Secret Reef where tropically clad Santa divers lead visitors on a Gulf of Mexico adventure through a spectacular coral reef filled with big, toothy sharks and a multitude of colorful fish. Move into the shallows at Shark Island where guests will feel like they are "down under" while feeding stingrays and bamboo sharks. Relax and reach out. All of the aquatic residents at Shark Islandare friendly and welcome the human touch.

Meander through a tropical forest filled with hundreds of beautiful butterflies. Every day dozens are hatched and released to swirl around the exotic plants that provide nectar and shelter. Festive looking wood partridges from Borneo and Sumatra can be seen strutting among the butterfly trees searching for seeds and fruit. Peaceful, relaxing and awesome are words visitors use to describe this slice of paradise.

The fun extends throughout both buildings at the Tennessee Aquarium. Recharge while enjoying the exotic animals that dwell in the tropical habitats in the Rivers of the World gallery in River Journey. Or check out the high energy antics of the river otters during "enrichment" time. See what happens when treats like ice and toys mix with the Aquarium's wacky otters. No passports are required to hopscotch the world to see seahorses and seadragons. Enjoy watching these animals from Tasmania to Southeast Asia during an afternoon feeding show.

"Ho, Ho, H20" daily schedule - Nov. 21-Jan. 4
(The Aquarium is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.)
-10:15 a.m. – See keepers surface feed stingrays & bamboo sharks -- Ocean Journey – Tropical Cove, Shark Island, Level 4
-10:30 a.m. – Delight in the first flight of butterflies when they are released into a lush tropical garden – Ocean Journey – Butterfly Garden, Level 4
-11 a.m. – Talk to tropical "Santa" divers as they take you on a shark-filled journey through spectacular coral formations – Ocean Journey -- Secret Reef, Level 2
-11:15a.m. - You otter chill out with the river otters during "enrichment" time. See what happens when treats, ice and toys mix with two playful otters – River Journey – Cove Forest, Level 4
-11:30 a.m. - Talk to tropical "Santa" divers as they take you on a shark-filled journey through spectacular coral formations – Ocean Journey -- Secret Reef, Level 2
-1 p.m. -- Get a gander at one of the real "Parrot Heads," the highly social hyacinth macaw, during this program that explores the bold behaviors and adaptations of the largest member of the parrot family – Ocean Journey – Tropical Cove, Level 4
-2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. -- Talk to tropical "Santa" divers as they take you on a shark-filled journey through spectacular coral formations – Ocean Journey -- Secret Reef, Level 2
-3:30 p.m. -- Join the seahorses for their version of "Slurpin' a Cheeseburger in Paradise" and discover what these steeds of the deep really eat – River Journey, Level A
-4 p.m. – Surround yourself with butterflies and meet their perfect compliment, two partridges living near the trees - Ocean Journey – Butterfly Garden, Level 4

Relax and enjoy the holiday magic of The Light Before Christmas or The Polar Express 3D at the IMAX Theater. The Light Before Christmas leads audiences on an adventure into the classic tale, "The Night Before Christmas." The animation style is reminiscent of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and fills the giant IMAX screen with lavishly detailed sets.

The Polar Express 3D has become a family tradition for many. This heart-warming film starring Tom Hanks tells of a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole. Audiences grab at snowflakes during this amazing 3D film.


Grandfather Mountain Highland Games Return July 9-12

Blaring bagpipes, astounding athletes and tons of tartans converge in western North Carolina on July 9-12 for the 60th annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. As the games celebrate their sixth decade, they hearken back to the rich cultural traditions of Scotland in a setting not so different from the mountains and glens 3,600 miles away. But organizers are also taking ... (click for more)

All-Adult First Class 'Shine & Dine' Ride Offered On The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Hop on board The Carolina Shine, an all-adult first class specialty train car and enjoy the smoothest tasting moonshine in the Carolinas along with freshly cooked BBQ with three savory sauces, sides and Moonshiners Mud Chocolate Pie for dessert. Operating  May 22 - Nov. 1  on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s (GSMR) Nantahala Gorge excursion, the experience ... (click for more)

President Of Realtor Association And Family Were Starting On Vacation When They Were Caught In Deadly Wreck

The president of the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors was starting out on vacation with his wife, Tina, and their two children when they got caught up in last Thursday’s deadly crash along I-75.   Six people were killed and six others injured.   The Close family, including children ages six and 12, was able to escape injury.   They ... (click for more)

Athens, Tn., Doctor, Wife, Daughter Die In Crash Of Small Plane That Hit House Near Boston

An Athens,Tn., physician, his wife and college-age daughter died Sunday evening in the crash of a small plane that struck a house 30 miles southwest of Boston on Sunday evening. The victims were Dr. Joseph Rick Kalister, the emergency room director at Starr Regional Medical Center's Athens campus, wife, Betty, and their daughter. The doctor and his wife were en route for a ... (click for more)

Six Commissioners Owe Us An Explanation - And Response (2)

Two-thirds of the Hamilton County Commission owe us an explanation as to why they feel it appropriate to take $900,000 of our money out of savings to spend on whatever suits their fancy, oversight be darned.  Those six commissioners are: Randy Fairbanks (D-1), Jim Fields (D-2), Warren Mackey (D-4), Sabrena Turner-Smedley (D-7), Tim Boyd (D-8), and Chester Bankston (D-9).  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mr. Murray’s Great Note

In the last several days I have received hundreds of emails after I took a stand for General Nathan Beford Forrest, the South’s rich history, and the indelible fact the War Between The States is still a big part of who were are and what we have become. For the record, as of late yesterday afternoon, I have not heard from one dissenter, although I know there are some who I believe ... (click for more)