OTR: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Oh my, what a beautiful city. And so full of rich heritage and history. And an aquarium that is called one of the best in the country. The Tennessee Aquarium. I'll admit it, we scoffed at that. An aquarium better than Seattle? Or San Diego? Really? Yes, it turned out to be true. Amazing. It was so much more than we even could have imagined. 
Go in to this aquarium and the first thing that seems really different are the elevators that go up. And up. And up. Then, there you are. Face to face with small tide pools of sharks, stingrays and other amazing creatures. That you actually go and put your hand in and touch. Yes, they let you actually go and touch the aquatic animals. These animals have obviously gotten very used to people and really enjoy a gentle touch. If you are gentle with them, they seem to swim back to you for more.
Then there is the butterfly garden. I've never been to one before so I really don't have anything to judge by, but WOW! You walk through two separate doors into this beautiful 3+ story tall atrium full of amazing plants and butterflies of all shapes and sizes. This one decided my finger would be a nice home for a moment and the boys were captured. 

Here are some other pictures from around the aquarium of things our family really enjoyed:

An actual shark cage, complete with bent bars from actual shark mouths trying to eat a little snack.
We also decided to enjoy an afternoon on the river with a tour that is part of the Aquarium. They have their own catamaran where we went and explored what they call the Grand Canyon of the South. We learned more history - both aquatic as well as Civil War. 

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