The opening of the private, non-profit Tennessee Aquarium on May 1, 1992, represented the realization of an improbable dream.
The aquarium served as a catalyst for a profound renaissance of the city. During the aquarium’s dedication ceremony, Chattanooga Mayor Gene Roberts proclaimed, “The aquarium will establish us as men and women who celebrate clean water and clean air as the lifeblood which sustains us. For decades to come, the people of this place will look back to this day and mark it as a magical moment.”
In the years since, the success of Chattanooga and the aquarium have gone hand in hand. Consequently, it has always held a special place in the heart of the community whose support made it possible. More than 23 million guests have created magic moments with their families at the top-rated a quarium.
On Saturday, April 29, the aquarium will honor its silver anniversary and its special relationship with its host city through a day-long, public celebration on the plaza outside its doors.
Attendees to the celebration can take in musical performances by local artists Rick Rushing (11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.) and Kofi Mawuko (2:30-4:30 p.m.) and peruse the wares of numerous vendors at the Chattanooga River Market. Throughout the day, prizes will be given away, and aquarium mascots will be in attendance to welcome visitors and pose for photos.
At 9:30 a.m., fabulously festooned art cars will gather in the aquarium parking lot for a motorized gathering like no other. Later, guests will be able to enjoy a special parade of children’s art cars created by Hamilton County students. The outdoor festivities will end by 5 p.m.
The fun continues inside the aquarium, where the animals will take part in the celebration during anniversary enrichment sessions featuring specially prepared treats. These sessions and the rest of the daily Extraordinary Experiences programming are included free with admission.
The aquarium will be open during normal operating hours — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. — throughout the celebration. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone at 1-800-262-0695