Yuletide FISH-tivities At The Tennessee Aquarium

Keeping Spirits Bright During Winter Break

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - by Thom Benson
Bill Haley, Tennessee Aquarium education outreach coordinator, introduces some young visitors to a New Caledonian Giant Gecko during a lizard program.
Bill Haley, Tennessee Aquarium education outreach coordinator, introduces some young visitors to a New Caledonian Giant Gecko during a lizard program.
- photo by Tennessee Aquarium

There’s lots to do in the 12 days after Christmas at the Tennessee Aquarium. In addition to more than one dozen daily keeper talks, animal programs and dive shows, Aquarium experts will offer Yuletide FISH-tivities each day from December 26 to January 6.  These enriching and entertaining programs help extend the spirit of fun by focusing on the special gifts a wide variety of creatures have to thrive in their habitats.

Some creatures have eye features that allow them to see equally on land and underwater. Others have offset ears to hear in surround-sound and extra vertebrae that allow them to see what’s directly behind them. What more could you wish for? Skin that secretes a toxin – naughty? Colorful feathers that appear to change colors in the light – nice.

Youngsters can join in penguin games, touch a shiny sea-star or create an ocean creature craft to deck the halls at home.

“These mini-programs will be a lot of fun for the kids, but I think we’ll capture the imaginations of their parents and grandparents too,” said Carrie Howell, the Aquarium’s education coordinator. “We’ll pack in a lot of animal facts while providing opportunities to play games and make crafts to take home.”

For the more adventuresome, there will even be a few scien-terrific chances to dissect a squid or, “Eww!” an owl pellet. “Those are particularly engaging programs,” said Ms. Howell. “Kids think it’s cool and gross at the same time. But you know what, they always walk away smiling and ready to tell others about what they learned.”

Yuletide Fish-tivities are offered FREE with Aquarium admission and are available each day on a first-come, first served basis.

ALL WEEK – Craft and Information Table in RJ Lobby 10:00 am -2:00 pm

Thursday, Dec. 26  Colorful Fish

Come to the Aquarium the day after Christmas for extended holiday fun.  Finish our “colorful fish” scavenger hunt for a special prize.

10:30 am & Noon Fish game in the River Journey Auditorium

10 am – 3 pm Scavenger Hunt Hand-out and Prize Available in River Journey Lobby

Friday, Dec. 27  Cephalopods

Octopuses and cuttlefish, oh my!  Learn about octopus enrichment in a special keeper presentation and dissect a squid in one of our classrooms. Make a special octopus to take home.

11 am & 3 pm - Squid Dissection in Delta Swamp Classroom (limited to 20 children)

Noon - Enrichment Presentation in River Journey Auditorium

Saturday, Dec. 28  Sea Stars

You can’t take our sea stars home to put on top of next year’s tree – but you can watch awesome videos of sea stars eating, touch live sea stars and relatives, and make a fun ocean craft.

10 am - 3 pm - Sea Star Video Clips in Seahorse Gallery

10:30 am, 12:15, 1:15 & 2:30 pm - Sea Star Programs in Ranger Rick’s Backyard

Sunday, Dec. 29  Turtles and Toads

Meet one of the largest toad species and totally cool turtles during a special program in Ranger Rick’s Backyard.  Play a fun frog leaping game in the River Journey Auditorium and make a special craft.

10:30 am, 12:15, 1:15 & 2:30 pm - Turtles and Toads Presentation in Ranger Rick’s Backyard

11:30 am & 2:30 pm Frog Game in the Auditorium

Monday, Dec. 30  Penguins

Catch our daily penguin keeper presentations and fun games outside of the penguin gallery.  There will also be a few chances to go behind the scenes.  Add Penguins 3D at IMAX for just $6 to learn about the King Penguins of South Georgia Island.

10 am & Noon  Games outside of the Penguin Gallery

10:30 am & 1:30 pm   Penguin Keeper Presentation

Noon, 3 & 6 pm – Showings of Penguins 3D at IMAX

Tuesday, Dec. 31  Ancient Animals

What animals live at the Aquarium that also lived with dinosaurs?  Find out in our “Ancient Animals” scavenger hunt. Special ancient animal presentations will happen in Ranger Rick’s Backyard so that you can learn even more about these amazing animals.

10 am – 3 pm - Scavenger Hunt Hand-out and Prize Available in River Journey Lobby

1 & 1:15 pm - Ancient Animal Presentations in Ranger Rick’s Backyard

Wednesday, Jan. 1  Seahorses

During Seahorse Day at the Tennessee Aquarium you’ll meet the fish that can hold your hand. See feedings, go behind the scenes, build a seahorse from the top down and try your skill in a plankton eating contest.

10:15 am & 3:15 pm - Narrated seahorse feedings in Seahorse Gallery

Noon - Seahorse Celebration Program in River Journey Auditorium

Thursday, Jan. 2  Snakes and Lizards

Can you find all the snakes and lizards at the Aquarium?  Our sneaky snake scavenger hunt will give you some clues.  Look for snakes and lizards at in Ranger Rick’s Backyard and make an super cool snake craft to take home.

10 am – 3 pm - Scavenger Hunt Hand-out and Prize Station in River Journey Lobby

10:30 am, 12:15, 1:15 & 2:30 pm - Reptile Programs in Ranger Rick’s Backyard

Friday, Jan. 3  Fintastic Freshwater Fish

You’ll find a fun freshwater fish game in the Tennessee River Gallery and get a chance to go behind the scenes with some of these “fintastic” species.  Don’t miss freshwater feeding time in the Nickajack Lake exhibit.

10:45 & 11:15 am, 1:15 & 2:15 pm - Pin the Fin on the Fish Game in Tennessee River Galley

2:00 pm Feeding in Lake Nickajack

Saturday, Jan. 4  Birds That Fly

Soaring high takes special feathers and flappers. We’ll reveal the science of flight during special presentations in the River Journey Auditorium.  Play a fun bird game or dissect an owl pellet! (Oh yeah, THAT kind of pellet.)  Make sure you have a camera ready during a special feeding of the Delta Country songbirds. They get super close at chow time.

10:15 am – “Bones and Feathers” presentation in the River Journey Auditorium

11:30 am & 2:45 pm - Bird games or craft for kids in the Auditorium

Noon - Dissect an owl pellet in the Delta Swamp classroom (Limited to 20 children)

1:30 – “The Science of Flight” presentation in the River Journey Auditorium

Sunday, Jan. 5  Sharks

Touch real shark teeth and skin at a biofact station in the Ocean Journey building and don’t miss our special shark-themed dive shows. Younger children can dress up as a shark in the River Journey lobby for a great photo opportunity. Check out the Aquarium’s “Blue Water, White Death” shark cage. Add Great White Shark 3D at IMAX for just $6 to go on a virtual cage dive with these massive ocean predators.

11 &11:30 am, 2 & 2:30 pm - Shark Themed Dive Shows

11 am - Noon, 2 pm – 3 pm Shark Biofact Cart in Ocean Journey

1 & 4 pm – Showings of Great White Shark 3D at IMAX

Monday, Jan. 6 Humans Underwater

Learn all about SCUBA diving from Aquarium experts during our special dive shows.  You can dress up like a diver and take a picture to show your friends. Don’t forget to make an awesome dive mask to take home.

11 & 11:30 am, 2 & 2:30 pm - The Science of SCUBA Dive Shows

10 am – 2 pm - Gear Exploration Table in Ocean Journey Level 2 (Outside Penguins’ Rock)


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