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. 

 


Historic Rugby Hosts Late Summer Workshop Series

Over the next two months, Historic Rugby is offering a series of late summer workshops giving participants the chance to learn skills for traditional hobbies that include knitting, basket weaving and even making and playing a dulcimer. The 1880 museum village, with its unique Victorian architecture, lodging in historic buildings and wooded river gorge setting, is an ideal location ... (click for more)

Tennessee Tourism Round Up: Art, Festivals, And Pioneers

Tennessee’s upcoming tourism news is consolidated for your convenience below. For a complete list of Tennessee events, visit tnvacation.com/calendar . Ongoing Memphis -–  Purchase a pair of season tickets for the 2014-2015 Broadway Season at The Orpheum Theater between now and Aug. 4 and receive a free $50 gift certificate to The Majestic Grille. July ... (click for more)

Harr Outlines $40 Million Plan For Chattanooga Light Rail System

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr on Monday outlined a $40 million plan for a Chattanooga light rail system that would serve not only downtown, but also the Airport and the Enterprise South Industrial Park. In a speech to the Chattanooga Engineers Club, Mr. Harr said most cities looking at such an ambitious plan "would be facing costs of over a billion dollars." ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Choo Choo Adding Clubs, Restaurants In $8 Million Renovation

The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo is adding clubs and restaurants in a $7 million renovation, it was announced in front of the South Market Street landmark on Monday morning. The Comedy Catch will be moving from its longtime home in Brainerd and there will be a new 500-person music venue that will be in addition to Track 29. The new venue, managed by Track 29, will feature a ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Wamp Refuses To Stoop

With less than two weeks before the Aug. 7 th election and the last week of early voting now underway in Hamilton County, Congressional challenger Weston Wamp sounded upbeat and relaxed early yesterday afternoon. “I’m pleased to say that I believe we are right where we need to be … maybe even more than we had hoped.” Wamp, who is challenging two-term incumbent Chuck Fleishmann ... (click for more)