Kickoff National Park Week by Meeting Teddy Roosevelt At The IMAX On April 14

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 - by Thom Benson
Reenactment of John Muir and President Teddy Roosevelt’s (played by Joe Wiegand) camping trip in Yosemite Valley to discuss the future of a National Park system.
Reenactment of John Muir and President Teddy Roosevelt’s (played by Joe Wiegand) camping trip in Yosemite Valley to discuss the future of a National Park system.
- photo by Courtesy of MacGillivray Freeman Films. Photographer: Barbara MacGillivray

Teddy Roosevelt is arguably one of America’s most beloved and admired presidents. After taking the oath of office in 1901, Roosevelt used his authority to protect wildlife and approximately 230 million acres of public lands.

No one embodies the spirit of Roosevelt better than Joe Wiegand who portrays our 26th president in the new IMAX film, National Parks Adventure 3D. A 1987 political science graduate of Sewanee – University of the South, Mr. Wiegand capped a 25-year career in public policy and political campaigns to take his show on the road.

In 2008, Mr. Wiegand started touring across America in celebration of Theodore Roosevelt’s 150th birthday and the final centennial year of TR’s historic presidency. Since this journey began, Mr. Wiegand has delivered performances at the White House, in all 50 states and has appeared on the History Channel and most recently as TR in National Parks Adventure 3D.“The teamwork among the film crew was a joy to watch,” said Mr. Wiegand. “I’m still blown away that I got to work up close with the great Lee Stetson, who portrays John Muir in the film. He’s not only a gifted actor and expert on Muir and more, but a great director and writer in his own right. Clambering atop Glacier Point and camping among the great sequoias of Mariposa Grove was a transformational experience for me as an actor and an historian.”

Chattanoogans will have the opportunity to enjoy a bully good time at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater on Thursday, April 14. In advance of National Park Week, the Teddy Roosevelt Show will make a special stop in the Scenic City. Guests will have the opportunity to pose for photos with TR and to laugh at classic Roosevelt wisdom while learning presidential history and discovering the roots of the National Park system.

Mr. Wiegand will introduce a special screening of National Parks Adventure 3D, then deliver a rousing reprisal of Roosevelt after the film. Audiences will relive the famous three-day camping trip Roosevelt spent in Yosemite with naturalist and poet John Muir. This expedition helped change the course of history, fueling Roosevelt’s determination to protect the “temples of nature” for future generations.

Roosevelt accomplished this by using the “Bully Pulpit” to persuade a nation, amidst intense political battles, that wild lands were being stripped of the nation’s most spectacular animals, trees and rivers. Upon signing The Antiquities Act, a precursor to the Park Service, which obligated federal agencies to preserve “scientifically, culturally and historically valuable sites,” and authorized the President to designate National Monuments, Roosevelt declared, “We are not building this country for a day. It is to last through the ages.”

The critically-acclaimed Teddy Roosevelt Show tends to bring audiences to their feet after serving up a masterful degree of authenticity and energy. “As Teddy Roosevelt, I’ll tell stories about my own childhood in New York City, an asthmatic boy with a passion for nature and all its creatures and critters,” said Mr. Wiegand. “I’ll relate a youth spent in outdoor adventure and natural science, and a young adulthood overcoming great personal tragedy.  I’ll tell stories from the Northwoods of Maine to the Badlands of the Dakota Territory.  I’ll answer any questions and be happy to pose for photos. Finally, the children will surely enjoy the stories about Mrs. Roosevelt and me rearing six children at the White House.  Mrs. Roosevelt said she reared seven children there, and that I was her worstest and most terrible child.”

A Bully Good Time with Teddy Roosevelt at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater

Thursday, April 14 from 6 to 7:30pm

Aquarium members: $8; Non-members: $11.95

Register online:

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