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. 

 


1st Custom-Built Bed And Breakfast Breaks Ground In Chattanooga

After several years of planning and development, St. Francis  Cottage, a custom-built bed and breakfast, is becoming a reality. Having broken ground in late  May 2016, this seven-bedroom, urban cottage-themed facility will open in 2017 and be run by  owners and proprietors, Wallace and Nancy Braud.   Situated on 2.3 acres, the highly wooded  ... (click for more)

La Música Está Vivo Y Bien En La Habana (Music Is Alive And Well In Havana)

When I was 10 years of age there were 15 minute television shows in the afternoon before the news. One of those shows was "Xavier Cugat with Abbe Lane".  This show was my first taste of Latin music and I was hooked.  Loved it when Desi Arnaz would have a musical clip in "I Love Lucy". Don’t laugh!   It was difficult to hear Latin Music in the Chattanooga area ... (click for more)

Home In Ooltewah Damaged By Fire Caused By Lightning Strike Sunday Afternoon

A home in Ooltewah was damaged by fire early Sunday afternoon. At  4:33 p.m. , the homeowner called 911 reporting a fire at the residence at 711 Rocky Shadows Drive (Mountain Shadows subdivision in the Ooltewah area). The Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department responded and arrived on the scene reporting light smoke showing from the roofline. Firefighters entered ... (click for more)

Bass Pro Shops Opens July 13 In East Ridge

The grand opening of the Bass Pro Shops East Ridge Outpost kicks off Wednesday, July 13, at 6 p.m .  The event features an all-star cast of celebrities from the world of sports, entertainment and the great outdoors who will join together to help Bass Pro Shops celebrate an Evening for Conservation. The grand opening event will continue through Sunday, July 17, ... (click for more)

General Bell: Chattanooga Needs The Coolidge Medal Of Honor Heritage Center - And Response

I'm pleased and indeed compelled to let you know a bit more about the exciting and most honorable "Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center" planned for Coolidge Park.     Here's what the Heritage Center will be:  It will be a fitting capstone for Chattanooga's Coolidge Park on Northshore in downtown Chattanooga.  While this exceptional Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Where Will George Go?

George Will, easily one of the most respected conservative columnists in America and a Republican commentator, was a guest on Fox News Sunday yesterday when he made a very revealing statement. He announced he has left the Republican Party “for the same reason I joined it” and that he is not only disappointed by the party’s actions but its increasingly-inept leadership as well. ... (click for more)