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Tennessee Aquarium at a Glance

The Chattanooga skyline features six magnificent peaks that top the Tennessee Aquarium's River Journey and Ocean Journey buildings. River Journey is the original Aquarium building and features stunning freshwater creatures and habitats from the Southeast and from around the world. Visitors can explore two living forests under glass and get face to face with giant catfish, prehistoric sturgeon and American alligators.

Ocean Journey takes visitors beneath the waves where 10-foot sharks, fierce barracuda and graceful stingrays glide through amazing coral formations. Other galleries showcase cuttlefish, squid, crabs and jellyfish. An indoor rainforest showcases the fluttering jewels of nature - butterflies.

Building Sizes
River Journey
Ocean Journey
130,000 square feet 60,000 square feet
The height of a 12-story building The height of a 10-story building
Holds a total of 400,000 gallons of water Holds a total of 700,000 gallons of water
Building Costs
River Journey
Ocean Journey
$45 million from individuals, corporations, foundations and other organizations. $30 million - Funded by a $10 million Aquarium bond issue and $20 million raised through combined efforts with the 21st Century Waterfront fundraising campaign.
Architects and Exhibit Designers:
River Journey - Original Building
Ocean Journey - Expansion
Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc.,
Cambridge, MA
Peter Chermayeff, Principal in Charge
Peter Chermayeff, Architect of Record
Chermayeff, Sollogub and Poole Inc.,
Boston, MA
Peter Chermayeff, Design Principal
Peter Sollogub, Principal in Charge
Bobby C. Poole, Architect of Record
Grand opening
River Journey – May 1, 1992 Ocean Journey – April 29, 2005
Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee — The Tennessee Aquarium is located in Ross's Landing Park and Plaza on the banks of the Tennessee River in downtown Chattanooga.

Owner: Private, non-profit corporation

Operator: Tennessee Aquarium Corporation

President: Charles L. Arant

Attendance: Since opening, the Aquarium has drawn, on average, a million visitors each year.

Exhibit Areas
River Journey —
Appalachian Cove Forest
Tennessee River Gallery
Discovery Hall
Mississippi Delta
Rivers of the World
Seahorses (special exhibition gallery)
Ocean Journey –
Tropical Cove (Forest Pool, Macaw Glade)
Shark Island
Butterfly Garden
Penguins' Rock
Secret Reef
Boneless Beauties
Undersea Cavern
Specimens: The Tennessee Aquarium showcases a richly diverse collection of thousands of living specimens throughout both buildings. Beautiful examples of both fresh and saltwater fish – including big, toothy sharks and seahorses, free-flying native songbirds, captivating cold-climate penguins, tropical Hyacinth macaws, playful river otters, 70 species of turtles, snakes, alligators, crocodiles, frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and amazing invertebrates encompassing jellyfish, crabs, octopus, nautilus, cuttlefish and crayfish.

Educational Facilities: Hands-on and interactive exhibits, 200-seat auditorium, fully equipped classroom, wet lab, two computer labs and an outreach van.

Other properties: Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D® Theater and Environmental Learning Lab

Construction: Turner Universal, Nashville, Tenn.

River Journey
John L. Altieri Consulting, Norwalk, Conn.
Weidlinger Associates, New York
Ocean Journey
March Adams and Associates, Inc., Chattanooga, Tenn.
Exhibit Designers/Fabricators
River Journey
Lyons/Zaremba, Inc., Boston, Mass.
The Larson Company, Tucson, Ariz.
Ocean Journey
Adirondack Scenic, New York
Economic impact:
  • The Tennessee Aquarium is credited with igniting the “Renaissance on the River,” and the revitalization of downtown Chattanooga. No single project has played a greater role in revitalizing downtown.

  • With more than $2 billion in new investment in the downtown area since 1990, Chattanooga is fast becoming a model for all that a mid-sized downtown can be.

  • According to the Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, 3 million people visit Chattanooga each year.

  • Tourism is a $690 million industry in Chattanooga and Hamilton County.

  • Tourism and hospitality account for 7,300 Chattanooga and Hamilton County jobs with an annual payroll of over $150 million.

  • Downtown employment rose 38 percent from 1992 to 2002 – (58 percent of that increase took place between 1997 and 2002.)

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ONLINE press kits & downloadable images:


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One Broad Street • Chattanooga • TN • 37402 • 800-262-0695