At 10:00 am, we were at the Tennessee Aquarium to learn about aquatic life from the Appalachians down the creeks, streams and rivers to the Mississippi River Delta. What a fascinating place. AAA calls it a "Gem" in their TourBook, we agree.
The River Journey building had a special exhibit on sea horses, pipefish and sea dragons. I am so interested in those creatures and the exhibit did not disappoint. We saw different-colored seahorses, weedy sea dragons and leafy sea dragons--so unusual-looking. I can't wait to get home and post pictures.
From the special exhibit, we took a long escalator ride to the fourth floor where we started our river journey in the forest aviary. All kinds of birds flitted above us, not many at our level. We also saw two otters in their den--it was their bedtime as they're more active at night.
The tour through the building took us down ramps past three- and four-story aquariums showcasing fish from the local rivers, lakes, reservoirs and mangrove swamps. Off to the sides of the ramps, each floor had exhibits which chronicled the life cycles of alligators, crocodiles, frogs, salamanders, turtles, fish (from piranha to koi to giant catfish to trout to shiners to minnows to gars to beluga sturgeon to bass, etc.), snakes and more. Bob was most impressed with the international river displays. The diversity and variety was amazing! We meandered and wandered to wonder.
Follow the Tennessee River fauna from the mountains to the ocean.
|Ducks and turtles.|
After we finished the River Journey in two hours, we walked next door to the Ocean Journey building. Our first "room" in this building was the tropics. Our journey started with the sting rays...the first two were unique--one black with white polka dots and the other was a copper/brown pattern--from tropical rivers in South America, Asia and Africa. In the center of the tropics display area was a touch tank where we could "pet" a sting ray.
|Bob at the touch tank.|
The Ocean Journey building had a special display on jellyfish. Even though we had seen a display on jellyfish years ago at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we spent some time checking out this exhibit. Jellyfish are so weird, but almost hypnotic to watch as they pulse in the water. Large aquariums housed sharks, rays, penguins, lookdowns, sea turtles and giant Japanese spider crabs. To tour this building took an hour.
|Giant Japanese spider crabs.|
|Bob appearing ghostly in the jellyfish tank.|
|Good bakery in Hunter Arts District.|
But wait, there's more; although this next attraction takes us into northern Georgia. For the rest of the day, we explored Civil War history at Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park.
|View from Lookout Mountain--Point Park.|
|Chickamauga and Chattanoga National Military Park, Lookout Mountain.|
Starting at Cravens House and Point Park atop Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, we ended up at the Chickamauga Battlefield in Georgia.
At the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center, we read history, watched a 25-minute movie, then drove a 7-mile cell phone audio tour around the battlefield. At each of eight battlefield sites, we called a phone number, then entered the number for each part of the tour we were on. Bob turned on his cell phone speaker and we had an audio tour the new high-tech way. Civil War history comes alive when you're on the battlefield and can see the forests and fields where the fighting and strategies took place.
|Civil War Re-enactment Encampment|
As we drive to the last audio tour marker, I commented that it was getting to be deer time of day ("deer o'clock" as we call early morning and late-afternoon- into-dusk). Not less than two minutes after I said it, there were four deer in the woods next to us. At our last stop, we saw about 14 deer across a field from us. "Deer o'clock" indeed.
From Georgia, we headed north to Dayton, Tennessee, home of the famous Scopes Trials (deciding whether schools could teach evolution instead of creationism). We are spending the night in the Best Western in anticipation of an early morning visit to Fall Creek Falls State Park, then on to Mammoth Cave National Park, which we'd like to tour tomorrow afternoon.
I better get some sleep! Travel Bug out.