The Most Wonderf-EEL Time Of The Year

Yule Want To See Miguel Wattson’s Tree Lighting At The Tennessee Aquarium

Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - by Thom Benson
Miguel Wattson's electric eel tree unlit
Miguel Wattson's electric eel tree unlit

The Tennessee Aquarium may not have a partridge in a pear tree — or even a miniature sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer — but this holiday season, the Rivers of the World gallery is twinkling especially merrily thanks to a bit of Christmas magic.

During the Holidays Under the Peaks celebration, through Dec. 24, visitors exploring the gallery can watch as Miguel Wattson, the Tennessee Aquarium’s tweeting Electric Eel (@EelectricMiguel), does his yuletide best to make spirits — and an extra-special Christmas tree — merry and bright.

The especially clever elves in the Aquarium’s audio video department are the key to this illuminating new program, “Shocking around the Christmas Tree.” Thanks to a special system connected to his tank, Mr. Wattson’s shocks cause strands of lights on a nearby tree to glow bright enough to make Rudolph’s nose seem dim by comparison.

“Whenever Miguel discharges electricity, sensors in the water deliver the charge to a set of speakers,” explains Joey Turnipseed, the Aquarium’s audio visual production specialist. M.r Turnipseed is responsible for tackling the unique engineering challenge of translating Mr. Wattson’s electric pulses into a glimmering yuletide display. “The speakers convert the discharge into the sound you hear and the festively flashing lights.”

Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow — as well as older guests who are still young-at-heart — will get big smiles whenever the eel is feeding or feeling particularly jolly.

“The rapid, dim blinking of the lights is caused by the constant, low-voltage blips of electricity he releases when he’s trying to find food,” explains Aquarist Kimberly Hurt. “The bigger flashes are caused by the higher voltage shocks he emits when he’s eating or excited.”

While the seasonal fun is something to see, Aquarists hope it also sparks a new love and appreciation for this unusual freshwater fish (and not a true eel, as guests will quickly learn during the program). The best way to see an Electric Eel lighting up a Christmas Tree is at the Tennessee Aquarium, but just as a gentle reminder, even though they would fit in one nicely, electric eels do not make good stocking stuffers

 

Miguel Wattson's electric eel tree lit
Miguel Wattson's electric eel tree lit

Anakeesta Kicks Off Gatlinburg’s 75th Anniversary Year With Largest Expansion Ever

Tennessee Tourism Unveils 2020 Vacation Guide With 3 Distinct Covers That Showcase Scenic Beauty Across The State

Special Screenings Of Meru And The Dawn Wall Coming To IMAX


As part of its largest expansion ever, this year Anakeesta is adding new ways for guests to enjoy an authentic outdoor Smoky Mountain experience in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg. The city ... (click for more)

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development unveiled its official 2020 Tennessee Vacation Guide on Wednesday. For the first time, the guide features three distinct covers that showcase the ... (click for more)

Some rock faces loom so large they dominate the landscape. They’re simply massive — unconquered. Yet to some, these monoliths present an irresistible climbing challenge, an opportunity to attempt ... (click for more)


Travel

Anakeesta Kicks Off Gatlinburg’s 75th Anniversary Year With Largest Expansion Ever

As part of its largest expansion ever, this year Anakeesta is adding new ways for guests to enjoy an authentic outdoor Smoky Mountain experience in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg. The city that’s grown from a dirt road into the United States’ most visited mountain town will celebrate its 75 th Anniversary in 2020. And it’s still growing up. Anakeesta’s new one-of-a-kind observation ... (click for more)

Tennessee Tourism Unveils 2020 Vacation Guide With 3 Distinct Covers That Showcase Scenic Beauty Across The State

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development unveiled its official 2020 Tennessee Vacation Guide on Wednesday. For the first time, the guide features three distinct covers that showcase the breadth of picturesque landscapes across the state, including treasures like Reelfoot Lake State Park in Tiptonville, Machine Falls at Short Springs Natural Area in Tullahoma and Jane Bald ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Man, 22, Killed In Single-Vehicle Crash On Morris Hill Road Friday Evening

A man, 22, was killed Friday evening in an accident on Morris Hill Road. At approximately 8:58 p.m., the Chattanooga Police Department's Traffic Unit responded to 2115 Morris Hill Road on a single-vehicle traffic crash. A Ford Expedition was traveling north on Morris Hill Road when it left the roadway and struck a metal power pole. Chattanooga Fire Department and ... (click for more)

Man Paid By Doctor To Kill His Wife And Her Male Companion At Mountain Shadows Gets Out Of Prison

A man who was given a life sentence for carrying out a paid "hit" on a doctor's wife has been released from prison. Former Governor Bill Haslam granted clemency to Jeremy Ingram just before leaving office. Governor Haslam said Ingram had "undergone a transformation" while behind bars. His office said Ingram was 18 at the time and that he will be subject to additional supervision ... (click for more)

Opinion

We Are Not Doing Enough To Help Our Troubled Kids

Suicide in teens is on the rise. What is going on and where are we slipping up? We find that it is more important to discuss politics, than it is to discuss children taking their own life. Bullying leads to depression, isolation, social media plays a big role in bullying, and these warning signs can lead to suicide. You cannot go on social media and not ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

NOT ALL ATHLETES ARE DUMB Many in our new generation may not know some of these former professional athletes but I remember them all. Back in the day, it was never hard to get a priceless quote that years later still make you laugh * -- Don Meredith, a former Dallas Cowboy Quarterback, once said: “Coach Tom Landry is such a perfectionist that if he was married to Raquel Welch, ... (click for more)