One of the joys I have as a mother of three is taking them to places that really focus on experiential learning. If you see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, or smell it, you’re likely going to remember and get more out of any interaction. Out of the entire Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, that’s probably why they insisted on visiting the sting ray exhibit in Ocean Journey twice. They each considered it the best exhibit for different reasons.
My 4-year-old Brooke liked simply getting wet. It was a challenge reaching them, but she enjoyed trying. My 6-year-old Devin reveled in how they felt, “Slimy!” with a big ole’ smile. My 9-year-old Bobby picked up on one stingray’s swimming patterns. Nicknamed “Splashy,” she would circle the tank quickly and then raise one fin to visitors in the same spot as if she were high fiving them. Now that’s personality!
There was some concern when the volunteer on duty mentioned there was a shark in the tank. “There’s no shark in the tank,” I insisted, but sure enough, there were a few epaulette sharks only 2-3 feet long and very docile. They just started breeding them at the aquarium this year; check out this really cool video of their birth. They have also been studied to help doctors understand how to protect the brains of stroke victims. They will soon been joined by another species of touchable sharks–speckled carpet sharks. There are only five known specimens in the U.S. and the Tennessee Aquarium has three of them.
Probably the most beautiful stingrays were in a separate tank off to the side: the black and tiger freshwater stingrays. It’s interesting they are poisonous and more feared in rivers than piranhas. However they are classified as “threatened” and the aquarium is focused on breeding them. I feel so lucky that there are places like the aquarium that reinforce there are amazing creatures throughout the world worth protecting. You never know what impact a chance to touch a stingray or shark could have.
Now is your chance to win FOUR tickets to the Tennessee Aquarium. You have several chances to enter through Rafflecopter below. The contest will end Friday, April 26 at noon. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Note: I was given complimentary tickets to the Tennessee Aquarium, but all comments and opinions in this post are my own.