CHATTANOOGA, TN – What is jet-powered, has three hearts pumping actual blue blood, a brain shaped like a donut and can reach 16 feet across yet still manage to squeeze through a hole the size of a walnut?
No, this isn’t the setup to a terrible dad joke. The possessor of this grab bag of superpowers – the Giant Pacific Octopus – is real, and it`s just one of several extraordinary animals that visitors to the Tennessee Aquarium will get to meet and learn more about during special daily programs throughout October.
ODDtober is the Aquarium’s annual celebration of the world`s most weirdly wonderful species. The celebration, which began Tuesday October 1, highlights new animals week of October. This year’s ODDtober selectees are a suitably strange bunch, although a few are supposedly familiar faces with cool, hidden abilities.
For instance, did you realize butterflies taste with their feet or that some snakes, like the Black Rat Snake, have grippy scales on their bellies that make them expert tree climbers?
Have you ever wondered why owl faces are shaped like a satellite dish or how they can fly without making a sound? And sure, everyone knows what a scorpion looks like, but did you know they actually glow a lurid blue-green under black light?
In addition to learning more about the animals in their own backyard, guests also will gain new insights into the Aquarium`s more exotic residents, including some – like the cheerfully plump Tomato Frogs – that aren`t on the normal exhibit path.
Here’s the schedule for this year’s special ODDtober programs:
Oct. 1-5: Creatures that Swim
-Amazing Axolotl (11 a.m.)
-ODD-topus (2 p.m.)
Oct. 6-12: Creatures that Climb
-Slithery Snakes (11 a.m.)
-Mysterious Monitor Lizards (2 p.m.)
Oct. 13-19: Creatures that Jump
-Tomato Frogs (11 a.m.)
-African Tigerfish (2 p.m.)
Oct. 20-26: Creatures that Fly
-Owl Oddities (11 a.m.)
-Butterfly Release (2 p.m.)
Oct. 27-31: Creatures that Glow
-Flashlight Fish (11 a.m.)
-Not-So-Scary Scorpions (2 p.m.)
The special ODDtober daily programs are offered in addition to the usual slate of free Daily Animal Programs, which feature special dive shows and staff-led presentations highlighting the adaptations and behaviors of Ring-tailed Lemurs, Panther Chameleons, American Alligators, Macaroni and Gentoo Penguins and more.
In addition to meeting some super-powered animals, guests visiting the Aquarium on Saturdays in October should keep an eye on the Tennessee River exhibit for special appearances by superheroes of a more traditional sort (not to mention princesses, space rangers and cartoon characters). Throughout October, costumed divers will be in the River Journey building`s largest exhibit to demonstrate their underwater pumpkin carving skills and to throw out a fist bump or two.
The ODDtober fun will cap off with Aquascarium, the Aquarium’s annual trick-or-treat-and-learn-and-dance spectacular. This spooky – but not TOO spooky – after-hours event runs 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25, and is one of Chattanooga`s most-popular Halloween events.
Visitors to AquaScarium have access to both the River Journey and Ocean Journey buildings, where they can snag sweet treats at candy stations, show off their best moves during the underground Monster Mash dance party and meet zany characters including pirates, mermaids and even a well-intentioned mad scientist or two.
Guests of all ages are welcome to AquaScarium, although younger guests must be accompanied by an adult. Aquarium members and their children can attend at a discounted rate of $8. Non-member tickets are $45 for adults and $32 for ages 3-12. Guests of members receive a discounted rate of $35 for adults and $25 for children.
To pre-purchase AquaScarium tickets online, click here. Tickets also will be available for purchase on-site.
For more on what to see and what to do in Chattanooga, visit www.chattanoogafun.com