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Chattanooga, TN – Spring is finally here but for many families, the opportunity to travel to distant lands just isn’t possible.

However, just a short drive away you can find a world of fun and learning in Chattanooga.

Every day, the Tennessee Aquarium showcases thousands of animals from nearly every habitat on Earth.

As of this month, though, there’s even more to explore. The Aquarium has launched its Global Passport program; a year-long celebration giving each continent’s animals a chance to shine in the spotlight.

Armed with a “passport” you can print off at home, guests are able to embark on an adventure that focuses on animals from a featured continent every month.

Whether through in-person visits, fun behind-the-scenes videos or live streams online, the Global Passport program helps Aquarium fans learn even more about their favorite species and gain a deeper appreciation for the important role these creatures play in ecosystems all over the planet.

The program began in March with a special emphasis on North American wildlife, from playful River Otters and dinosaur-like Alligator Snapping Turtles to long-snooted Paddlefish.

After finishing the trek through the River Journey and Ocean Journey buildings, visitors can drop by the gift shop to receive a free passport sticker “stamp,” commemorating their exploration of the highlighted continent.

Every month, the spotlight – and the sticker-stamp on offer – will shift to a new landmass and new species, including:

March (North America): River Otters, American Alligator, Southern Stingray, Hellbender, Leather Sea Star
April (South America): Electric Eels, Piranhas, Poison Dart Frogs
May (Asia): Colossal Japanese Spider Crabs, Chinese Big-Headed Turtles, Koi
June (Africa): Scaly African Dwarf Crocodile, Panther Chameleons, Ring-tailed Lemurs
July (Oceania): Eastern Fiddler Rays, Australian Snake-necked Turtles, Indo-Pacific reef fish
August (Europe): Russian Sturgeon, spotted Brown Trout
September (Antarctica): Gentoo, Macaroni Penguins

The adventures continue across the street with two films at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater.

With Into America’s Wild 3D, audiences take a tour of America’s back country, from the wave-whipped coves of the Pacific Coast’s Kelp Highway to the golden splendor of Utah’s Pando Aspen Grove and the lush sprawl of the Appalachian Trail.

Whether it’s paddling through glacial waters, running alongside wild horses or ziplining across canyons, viewers will experience the beauty of the American wilderness as never seen before. This film is narrated by Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman.

In Turtle Odyssey 3D, audiences cross thousands of miles to visit the crystalline waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Here, in the largest living structure on Earth, a tiny Green Sea Turtle hatchling named Bungee sets off on an epic voyage into a world brimming with ocean life. As viewers follow along on this turtle trek, they’ll take in stunning views of incredible creatures, from enormous Manta Rays to expertly camouflaged Giant Cuttlefish. Academy Award winner Russel Crowe narrates.

IMAX ticket prices and additional information may be found here.

In the interest of providing a stress-free, safe escape for all visitors, the Aquarium continues to emphasize stringent health protocols throughout its campus, including mask requirements for guests ages five and up, timed-entry ticketing and capacity limits.

In December, the Aquarium also installed a dramatically upgraded air-circulation and purification system that features highly effective ultraviolet-C filtration. For more information on these measures, click here.

The Tennessee Aquarium’s hours of operation are currently 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EST)

From April 2 to 11, the Aquarium will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EST)

Due to capacity limits, tickets must be purchased online in advance.

If you plan to explore more of the city, check out Visit Chattanooga for information about upcoming events and other attractions.

If you prefer to support the Aquarium’s efforts virtually and enjoy some great music, the “All Together For Animals” concert will stream on March 31.

This virtual concert fundraising event is designed to support accredited zoos and aquariums that are still recovering from closures caused by the pandemic.

You will see performances by some of today’s top country artists. Brad Paisley, Old Dominion, Ashley McBryde, Wynonna, Riley Green, Jessie James Decker, Shy Carter, and others have graciously agreed to perform to help the Tennessee Aquarium and more than 200 other accredited zoos and aquariums.

You can enjoy the show for a $30 contribution – half of each ticket sold via this link – will directly benefit the Tennessee Aquarium.