Located on the banks of the Tennessee River, a visit to the Tennessee Aquarium traces water’s remarkable journey from the mountains to the sea. Along the way, you’ll encounter amazing animals living within two enormous buildings. Come see for yourself why visitors rate it as the No. 1 Aquarium in the country for guest satisfaction.
Begin your adventure with a five-story trip to the top of the River Journey Building to see the feisty North American River Otters at River Otter Falls. This introduction in a Cove Forest sets the stage for the rest of your self-guided tour, which mimics the epic voyage of a single drop of rain from the Appalachian Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico. As you experience the world’s largest gathering of freshwater species, you’ll meet beautiful trout, touch a prehistoric-looking sturgeon and see an amazingly diverse collection of turtles from every continent except Antarctica. Before your River Journey concludes, you’ll also come face-to-face with a dozen alligators and many other wetland creatures in the new Alligator Bayou exhibit. You’ll also marvel at colossal freshwater fish from around the world in River Giants.
Across the Aquarium plaza, you’ll experience the stunning diversity of life in saltwater and tropical environments in the Ocean Journey building. Beneath its iconic, glass-peaked roof, you’ll see the newest addition to the Aquarium in Lemur Forest, a slice of Madagascar packed with adorably acrobatic Red-ruffed and Ring-tailed Lemurs. Nearby, you can lay fingers on a variety of ray and shark species as they glide peacefully through the warm waters of Stingray Bay. Then, wander into the beautiful swarms of jewel-winged butterflies flitting about a sun-warmed indoor garden.
You’ll travel from the tropics to the sub-Antarctic to meet Gentoo and Macaroni penguins. These active cold-climate birds spend most of their day jumping into, and rocketing out of, the water.
As your Ocean Journey continues its descent, you’ll wind around (and eventually under) the Secret Reef, a 600,000-gallon recreation of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary packed with thousands of fish and a pair of sea turtles. Before your journey ends, you’ll also see the stunning, other-worldly beauty of a variety of jellyfish species housed in a pair of special galleries that also feature a collection of surreal glass sculptures and interactive displays.
Make the most of your visit! Download the FREE Tennessee Aquarium app, powered by Tennessee Tech University, from Google Play or the iTunes Store. This handy tool contains the daily lineup of dive programs and keeper talks offered free with Aquarium admission.
The Tennessee Aquarium is closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.