The striking angles of the glass-topped twin aquarium buildings draw in passers-by strolling along the Tennessee River in the heart of Chattanooga. Inside, you can observe alligators, touch a sturgeon, marvel at penguins, and much more as you follow a drop of water on its path from a mountain stream to the ocean and discover the habitats along the way.
Explore the aquarium on your own or get a Backstage Pass to go behind the scenes. A backstage tour lets you into the room where food is prepared for the aquarium animals, grants you access to the “keepers only” area, and gives you the chance to have an educational encounter with an animal that is not currently on exhibit. You can add to your aquarium experience by catching a show at the IMAX theater.
Things to Know Before You Go
Most visitors spend around three hours at the Tennessee Aquarium.
Wi-Fi is available throughout the aquarium, and a free app enhances the visitor experience.
Buy aquarium entrance and IMAX tickets together to save money.
The aquarium is wheelchair and stroller accessible.
How to Get There
The aquarium is located less than a mile from downtown Chattanooga on West Aquarium Way. If driving, take Broad or Market streets from downtown. You can visit on a city bus or hop on the free shuttle from downtown. The aquarium is connected to other points of interest via a paved riverfront path.
When to Get There
The indoor aquarium offers a welcome break from Tennessee's summertime heat and can be a nice place to get out of the weather on a rainy day. If you want to avoid crowds, don’t visit on a holiday or weekend. School groups frequent the aquarium in April and May; to avoid crowds in these months, plan to arrive in late afternoon after the school groups have departed.
Top Attractions on the Chattanooga Waterfront
The Tennessee Aquarium makes for a great jumping-off point to explore more of the Chattanooga waterfront. Follow the paved pathway to move from one attraction to the next as you visit sites such as Ross's Landing Riverfront Park, Chattanooga Pier, and Hunter Museum of American Art. You can also enjoy waterfront dining, boat tours, and river cruises.