Fodor's Expert Review Tennessee Aquarium
Chattanooga's renaissance started on the riverfront and is still anchored by the Tennessee Aquarium, voted top attraction in the city by locals and one of the best aquariums in the country by tourists. You'll want to budget several hours to absorb the thrills of 10,000 animals, including toothy sharks, playful penguins, and graceful butterflies, a six-story IMAX 3-D movie theater, and a riverboat cruise on the River Gorge Explorer. Want to get up close and personal with the animals? Upgrade your ticket with a VIP backstage pass to touch and feed the animals, just like a real zookeeper. Younger children who want to get friendly with a groundhog or one of the largest owls in the world will enjoy Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari—short sessions held outside, up to eight times a day, depending on the weather. Some hotels offer discount tickets to the Aquarium as part of special lodging packages.