Spring Break Fun – Keeper Kids At The Tennessee Aquarium

Friday, March 14, 2014 - by Thom Benson
Aquarist Sigourney Bain
Aquarist Sigourney Bain
- photo by Todd Stailey, Tennessee Aquarium

Seahorses are pretty amazing animals to observe. They have bulging, independently moving eyes, armor-plated bodies and monkey-like tails. Their rather bizarre appearances match the unusual measures taken to care for seahorses, sea dragons and pipefish. “The seahorses are actually one of our most labor intensive exhibits,” says Aquarist Sigourney Bain. “They are very delicate animals and their tanks require vigilant cleaning and vacuuming since seahorses are so sensitive to changes in their environment.”

A seahorse keeper’s day is filled with multiple feedings, tank maintenance like scrubbing and changing out water and moving any new babies to a back-up nursery area.

Across the Aquarium plaza in the Ocean Journey building, two coconut crabs are members of the largest land living invertebrate species in the world. They can grow up to three feet in leg span and can weigh up to 40 pounds!

Aquarist Pete Larson is in charge of working with them and admits that caring for these crabs is more about maintaining the right habitat than constant care.

“You have to make sure that their environment stays moist and that they have access to both fresh and salt water,” said Mr. Larson. “The fresh water provides hydration and they actually like to bathe in the salt water. They are also fed twice a week using a diet of fruits and vegetables with occasional proteins such as shrimp, trout chow or clams.”

Both seahorses and coconut crabs star in this year’s Keeper Kids schedule developed by Aquarium educators and husbandry staff. During spring break families will have special opportunities to explore “keepers only” areas while meeting rare turtles, baby sharks, birds and more.

A daily menu of 16 programs will be offered free with Aquarium admission. Kids, ages six and up, may choose two of the activities which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each experience lasts approximately 15 minutes.

Aside from getting an up close, behind-the-scenes look at some of the Aquarium’s most interesting creatures, they will also meet SCUBA divers, help feed some aquarium animals and even chat with the Aquarium’s veterinarian during special presentations each Wednesday. Keeper Kids is a great opportunity to learn more about how Aquarium staff cares for more than 10,000 animals such as penguins, lizards, giant catfish and one chubby woodchuck.

Keeper Kids Schedule     March 17 - April 20, 2014

10:30 a.m.       Butterflies, Birds and Blooms

10:45 a.m.       Sharks & SCUBA divers

10:45 a.m.       Turtle Treats & Songbird Eats

11:15 a.m.       Behind the Scenes Penguin Peek

11:30 a.m.       Jelly Babies & Other New Arrivals

11:45 a.m.       Seahorse Babies & Mysterious Mysis

12 noon           Mystery Creature Feature

1:15 p.m.         Behind the Scenes Penguin Peek

1:30 p.m.         Rivers of the World Feeding Frenzy

1:30 p.m.         Meet the Aquarium’s Dr. Dolittle  (Wed. only)

1:45 p.m.         Surf and Turf

2 p.m.             Turtles & Toads, OH MY!

2:30 p.m.         Behind the Scenes Penguin Peek

3 p.m.              Secret Reef Feeding Frenzy

3 p.m.              Turtle Treats & Songbird Eats

3:30 p.m.         Shark Babies & Very Big Fish

4 p.m.              Butterflies, Birds and Blooms

Meanwhile on the Tennessee River, the Williams Island Family Adventure Cruise will take passengers to "the Gateway to the Gorge." During each 90-minute adventure, the young and young at heart will discover Native American and Civil War history, and gain insights into the wildlife that call this wooded island home.  Time will be spent on each trip observing an osprey nest and heron rookery. Your naturalist guide helps locate other animals and leads an on-board scavenger hunt. These cruises will depart daily March 22 to April 17 from the Chattanooga Pier. Special Spring Break pricing will be offered for these cruises: $20/per person (age three and up), $18/per person under age three. 

 


October Brings Fall Fun Throughout Tennessee

Ongoing Jonesborough –   Tour Tennessee’s Oldest Town , downtown Jonesborough,  11 a.m. every Monday ,  Wednesday ,  Friday  and  Saturday  starting from the International Storytelling Center. Chattanooga –  Mammoths, saber tooth tigers and more prehistoric animals are stars of “ Titans of the Ice Age 3D ” playing now at the ... (click for more)

Tennessee Aquarium's AquaScarium Family Halloween Party To Have Unique Start This Year

Families who arrive early for the Tennessee Aquarium's AquaScarium VII Halloween party will get an extra special treat - the chance to see someone walk a line suspended between the Aquarium's peaks. Local world-class highliner Edward Yates will rig lines of great heights on the Tennessee Aquarium peaks and then walk across them as a unique feature of RiverRocks 2014. ... (click for more)

Additions And Improvements At Camp Jordan Arena Coming Soon

Additions and improvements are coming to Camp Jordan Arena in the near future. At the Thursday night meeting of the East Ridge city council, approval was given for buying new playground equipment. It will come from Gametime, a locally-based company. The VP of Marketing lives in East Ridge and made a proposal to set up the playground at Camp Jordan so his company could use it for ... (click for more)

Tribute Service For Luther Masingill Held At Historic Engel Stadium

It took a place as big as historic Engel Stadium for Chattanooga to say goodbye to their beloved Luther. Hundreds came Thursday afternoon to pay tribute to Luther Masingill who died early Monday morning after a radio career that spanned an amazing 74 years. It was clear from all who spoke that he was considered not only a radio personality, but also a role model. One after ... (click for more)

Not Everything Has Been Done To Save Hutcheson

I am a resident of Walker County and I have a personal belief that a hospital ranks equal to other basic services a community should offer (like police, fire, emergency services, school systems, government, etc.). I am not privy to all the management and financial conundrums concerning the feasibility of maintaining and growing Hutcheson, and as a private citizen I don’t believe ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Veterinarian’s Horse Sense

I suspect you’ve heard by now that a doctor in New York City, who volunteers with “Doctors Without Borders,” just got back from the African nation of Guinea on October 17 – last Friday – and on Thursday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus. Luckily, he came in actual contact with only a few people but he reportedly rode a subway, took a taxi, went on a three-mile run and ... (click for more)