Weekend Recap - Chattanooga Aquarium

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My tenure in Fort Payne is almost up. The past six months have really flown by and with our move to Orlando just over a month away, this weekend was Michelle's last trip down here. We had been wanting to see the Chattanooga Aquarium since I moved down to northern Alabama but the opportunity was yet to present itself. Since this weekend was somewhat of a special occasion, Michelle's birthday, it seemed perfect for a fun-filled day in Chattanooga.

The weekend began with a quick run Friday afternoon...let me rephrase that...The weekend began with a four mile run but not "quick" by any means. I got home from work a bit early and wanted to take advantage of the remaining daylight. After some quick convincing on my part Michelle and I were out the door for a chilly evening run. Michelle wasn't super keen on the idea and since it was her birthday she was allowed to be, but I think it was nice to get out and be active before an evening of cooking.

Still having fun at this point.

When the sun is low we look tall.

I took my iPhone with me on the run, something I normally don't do, but I downloaded the Nike+GPS app this week and wanted to give it a try. More on that hopefully later.

Pretty close on the distance, but I'm beginning to notice the Nike+GPS is usually short.

Low sun on the way home.

Eventually it got pretty dark and we turned around and headed home to begin preparing our delicious dinner. Per request for Michelle's birthday we made artichoke and sun-dried tomato stuffed chicken; it was fantastic.

Sun-dried tomato and artichoke stuffed chicken.

Saturday was scheduled to begin with a workout at the local HS track; it didn't. Neither Michelle nor I were upset missing the workout and headed off towards Chattanooga, a quick 50 minute drive north. Upon arriving in Chattanooga we headed to our favorite coffee shop/cafe Rembrants in the Bluff District.

Cool stairs near the Bluff Art District.

Hunter Museum and Bluff view.

After another great meal and some quick shopping we made our way to the aquarium. Both of us had high expectations going into the aquarium but I don't think either of us were prepared for how AWESOME it was going to be. We purchased our tickets at the student discount rate and headed into building 1...yes building 1 because the aquarium is so huge it has two parts!


The aquarium takes you through along the Tennessee River which was really neat and then had a bunch of non-related exhibits scattered throughout. The best part was the layout of the aquarium that guided you through the museum which made sure you didn't miss anything, and kept everyone flowing so no exhibit was too crowded.

First we hit the seahorses and these little guys were awesome and there were so many different types; some of which fins move at more then 30/per second. Seahorse video below:



I thought this particular one was funny, originally I thought it was pregnant but turns out it's just fat...I'm not being mean; it's actually called Potbelly Seahorse...and the males can be carriers!


Then there was this guy, who kinda reminded me of those scary guys from The Pirates of Caribbean and his name wasn't super original either...Leafy Sea Dragon.

Leafy Sea Dragon pretty cool camouflage.

At the end of the sea horse exhibit I stumbled upon this unknown sea species, poor thing looks so sad to be in the water...


After the seahorse exhibit you took a very long escalator to the top of the aquarium where the glass triangles are in the photo above.


Onto the Otters...for me this was the my favorite part of the day, they were just so lively and hyper, they didn't sit still the entire time we were there (about 15 minutes); so much so that I had to take several videos because ALL of my photos are blurry, partly because it was the iPhone (slow shutter speed) but they didn't make things easy.



The rest of the exhibits trickled down finally bringing us back to the ground floor. Saw some really awesome stuff along the way, photos of which are below:


Poisonous Frog's.



Eventually we found the bottom of the aquarium and headed over to part 2. The first building was awesome so it was going to be hard to top, but it certainly didn't disappoint!


While walking over "I was wondering if an earthquake happened?" but it's actually just the crazy downtown Chattanooga sidewalks.


Once in the other building we took a series of escalators to the top and entered the second atrium where we ran into this fresh water stingray, pretty cool.


We then headed to Butterfly Garden which was an amazing experience. Upon entering the double sliding doors I was blasted with a huge fan placed over the doorway designed to prevent butterflies from leaving the garden. Now appearing windblown we walked into the garden and immediately were overwhelmed with the amount of butterflies in the atrium. They were pretty difficult to get good pictures of, not like my last encounter with butterflies, but I managed to get one okay one:


We also ran into this crazy cacoonery (incubator?) thing that had various species of butterflies, some where coming out while we were there, very neat!

Really neat, but kind of sad and gross all at the same time.

It would not be a trip to the aquarium without penguins. This guy had a pretty bad itch and was working hard to scratch it.


Next we hit the Jellyfish exhibit which I was really anticipating because they had advertised it as art on the side of the building, it really was. The video's show all:






The rest of the afternoon included some pretty cool exhibits as well:

This guy needed to see a dentist or Orthodontist; he had some serious teeth issues.


All-in-all it was a pretty awesome day and if you're ever in Chattanooga or near I would recommend it!

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