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The Technology
Tennessee Aquarium IMAX® 3D Theater

"Then there's IMAX, cutting-edge technology that has never looked better. . . . It's difficult to watch amazingly lifelike 3-D images here without reaching out to make sure they aren't real."
                 -Janet Maslin, The New York Times

The screen:
As long as 11 anacondas in the Aquarium's Amazon tank.
The largest movie screens in the western hemisphere, IMAX screens yellow are painted by a computer spray gun using 50 gallons of paint. The six-story-high Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater screen is 66' tall and 89' wide. The giant screen size and IMAX viewing technology fill your peripheral vision and bring images closer to the audience than any other 3D-film format in the world.

The film frame:
How much bigger than a standard 35mm frame? Like comparing a postcard to a postage stamp.
The world's largest film format, a 15/70 film frame is 10 times larger than an ordinary 35mm frame and three times larger than a standard 70mm frame. This distinction, along with a unique projection method, creates the extraordinary crispness and depth of field for which an IMAX film experience is known. Twenty-four frames are projected each second; a 40-minute film reel measures just over three miles long.

The projector:
Its two lamps produce enough light to pinpoint a spot on Earth while standing on the moon.
The size of a small car, the 3,000-pound IMAX projector is the most advanced, high precision and powerful projector ever built. It uses a unique "Rolling Loop" film movement that advances the film in a smooth, wavelike motion. Film is loaded onto two giant film platters, each 4 feet in diameter and projected simultaneously through twin lenses. A vacuum holds the film firmly against the lens, resulting in a more focused and steady image than that of a regular movie.

The glasses:
After each viewing the 400 pairs of 3D glasses are cleaned and sterilized in a special "eye-glasses washer," a process that takes about twenty minutes.
During production, a camera with two film reels records the image by emulating human vision from slightly different angles. Footage is captured by both eyes creating a three-dimensional effect. In the theater, lightweight IMAX 3D polarized glasses fool the brain by "decoding" the separate images for the left and right eyes. Viewers are totally immersed in a 3D sight and sound experience that pulls them "into" the picture.

The sound system:
Powered by 12,000 watts, enough to run 120 100-watt home stereos.
The six-channel, high-fidelity IMAX loudspeaker system with sub-bass uses 44 speakers clustered behind the screen and at the rear and middle of the theater. The IMAX 3D movie screen is perforated with millions of tiny holes that allow soundwaves to travel into the ears. A whisper or a roar can come from behind your chair, over your shoulder or off in the distance. Everyone enjoys superb surround-sound no matter where they are seated.


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The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the natural world. Admission is $14 per adult and $7.50 per child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium conservation programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $7.75 per adult and $5.25 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $18 for adults and $10.50 for children. Advance tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities. Members enjoy unlimited visits and other benefits. Call 267-FISH to join.

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