Aquarium Holiday Celebration Features Seasonal Scavenger Hunt, Polar Express, And Unscheduled Surprises

Monday, November 16, 2020 - by Casey Phillips

For many families, the holidays are a time to come together for unique experiences. At this most special time of year, the Aquarium’s annual Holidays Under the Peaks is set to deliver the usual helping of unforgettable encounters with incredible animals alongside an extra helping of seasonal spice.

The six weeks of wonder begins on Nov. 20 and continues through Dec. 31.

On any given day of the year, there’s a distinctly joyous wonder that accompanies trips through the Tennessee Aquarium, but as the last days of the calendar dwindle, the sense of awe and magic becomes even stronger. Every bubble seems to shimmer with a silvery sheen, the animals’ movements become balletically graceful and the sunlight streaming through the glass peaks takes on a warming, amber glow.

This year, the Aquarium’s holiday splendor will be apparent as soon as visitors walk through the doors. Festive decorations and holiday music piped into the River Journey lobby will serve as a jolly kickoff to each adventure from the mountains to the sea.

As their journey commences, guests can take part in a fun, seasonally themed scavenger hunt. By answering a series of cryptic clues about the species they’re seeing, visitors will learn interesting facts about the Aquarium’s world-renowned collection of animals and the right to claim a sticker in the gift shop as a reward for their cleverness.

While animal programs have been temporarily suspended to ensure proper physical distancing, the holidays will be full of plenty of unscheduled fun. The animals enjoy this time of year just as much as their human audience, and staff members have plenty of stimulating enrichment activities planned for the season.

You never know when you’ll see River Otters or Gentoo Penguins playfully reacting to an unexpected “snowstorm” in their exhibits or when a Giant Pacific Octopus will retrieve a delicious treat from a puzzling container in a shocking display of intelligence. Fittingly for a time of year when surprises abound, every visit during Holidays Under the Peaks offers the chance to see something delightfully unexpected.

What could be more unexpected than an Electric Eel serving as the Aquarium’s official tree lighter? Miguel Wattson, the Aquarium’s snarky, tweeting eel became a bonafide global c-eel-ebrity last year when his electrical discharges were married to a nearby holiday tree and light display. Although the display isn’t actually powered by his discharges, sensors connected to Miguel’s tank cause the connected lights to brighten and dim in response to the strength of his zapping. This year, the festive arrangement will glow to life with an official, live-streamed lighting ceremony on Dec. 1.

While some Aquarium traditions are just now getting off the ground, some are practically generational. This year, screenings of The Polar Express 3D return to the IMAX 3D Theater on Nov. 27. For years, families have flocked to the Aquarium to watch a doubting boy’s incredible journey to the North Pole. Showings of this modern classic will continue through Dec. 27. As always, this heart-warming film is best enjoyed while wearing pajamas, which are the encouraged (but not required) dress code. Tickets are $11.95 for adults and $9.95 for ages 3-12.

Throughout Holidays Under the Peaks, the Aquarium will continue the outreach campaign it has embarked on throughout the year to bring its beautiful animals to fans all around the world. Each week, regularly scheduled Facebook Lives will let viewers near and far witness fun behaviors, glance behind the scenes of their favorite exhibits and maybe even catch a glimpse of a certain SCUBA-diving resident of the North Pole taking a dip in one of the exhibits.

While the Aquarium is an especially fun place to visit during the holidays, a trip through its galleries is a memorable experience year-round. Members can return as often as they want for a year, and these visits, whether alone or in the company of loved ones, offer much-needed opportunities to learn and relax by reconnecting with nature. Gift memberships to the Aquarium are a perfect present, and through Dec. 16, all membership purchases will include an adorable Green Sea Turtle plush to place under the tree as a promise of the months’ worth of fun to come.   

For more information about membership benefits or to purchase one for yourself or a loved one, visittnaqua.org/members/. Additional details about Holidays Under the Peaks are available athttps://tnaqua.org/holidays/.

To purchase tickets to a screening of The Polar Express 3D, visithttps://tnaqua.org/imax/the-polar-express-3d/


Soaky Mountain Waterpark Celebrates Grand Opening With Slide Race To Benefit Local Charities

Fall Creek Mennonite Community Provides Variety Of Shopping Interests

Tennessee Aquarium Modifies Mask Requirement Outside Of Special Early-Bird Visitation Window


Soaky Mountain Waterpark officials, together with state and local tourism officials, celebrated the official grand opening of the 50-acre waterpark, at 175 Gists Creek Road in Sevierville, Tn. ... (click for more)

Fall Creek Mennonite Community outside of Pikeville, Tn., located on almost 5,000 acres of land near Fall Creek Falls State Park, is home to some 60 families and 25 Mennonite owned and operated ... (click for more)

Starting today, vaccinated travelers planning to visit the Tennessee Aquarium can scratch one item off their packing checklist: a mask. In accordance with guidance from the U.S. Centers ... (click for more)



Travel

Soaky Mountain Waterpark Celebrates Grand Opening With Slide Race To Benefit Local Charities

Soaky Mountain Waterpark officials, together with state and local tourism officials, celebrated the official grand opening of the 50-acre waterpark, at 175 Gists Creek Road in Sevierville, Tn. According to Dave Andrews, general manager of Soaky Mountain Waterpark, “We are so thrilled to be FINALLY celebrating our grand opening with our fellow tourism industry partners. 2020 ... (click for more)

Fall Creek Mennonite Community Provides Variety Of Shopping Interests

Fall Creek Mennonite Community outside of Pikeville, Tn., located on almost 5,000 acres of land near Fall Creek Falls State Park, is home to some 60 families and 25 Mennonite owned and operated businesses that sell fresh produce, baked goods, a variety of oatmeal, chocolate candy, flowers and vegetable plants, custom furniture and wood products, dress and quilt fabrics and gift ... (click for more)

Breaking News

1 Dies After 2-Vehicle Crash Early Thursday Morning At Hixson Pike And Thrasher Pike

One person died in a crash involving two vehicles on Hixson Pike early Thursday morning. At approximately 6:30 a.m., Hamilton County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the Hixson Pike and Thrasher Pike intersection for the report of a motor vehicle crash. Upon arrival, deputies and emergency services personnel located a crash involving two vehicles. There has been ... (click for more)

Historic Zoning Panel Allows 1 New Hillside Home In St. Elmo, Rejects One Beside It

The Chattanooga Historic Zoning Commission, after hours of discussion on Thursday, approved one new home on a steep hillside in St. Elmo, but rejected a similar one that was to have gone in beside it. Watchtower Investments initially wanted three identical large new homes clustered together between Tennessee Avenue and Seneca Avenue near Forest Hill Cemetery. The Community ... (click for more)

Opinion

Senator Blackburn: Open Border Policies Will Bring Chaos To Tennessee Communities

The Democrats' promises of free healthcare, education, and citizenship have thrust our southern border into chaos. Even after illegal crossings reached their highest rate in two decades, border czar and Vice President Kamala Harris still refuses to visit the U.S.-Mexico border. The Biden administration's deliberate inaction on this surge in illegal entry has turned every state into ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Mississippi’s Lee Sanderlin finished dead-last in his fantasy football pool with his buddies and, per the rules, had to spent 24 straight hours inside a neighborhood Waffle House to discipline his mind for the 2021 season. However, there was a proviso – for every waffle that Lee ate an hour would be deducted from the 24-hours at the restaurant. He ate two waffles when he got ... (click for more)