Tennessee adventure

We recently observed the one-year anniversary of our move to Georgia.  My, how time flies!  Aside from the occasional movie excursion, we’ve done very little to check out the sights and sounds of the South.  It sure doesn’t help that everything is do darn expensive.

Six Flags Over Georgia?  Ticket deals start at $30 per person, give or take a few bucks depending on what specials are going on at the time.  Same goes for the White Water park.  Price isn’t the only prohibiting factor: with two young children and a pregnant wife, a day of roller coaster rides won’t be in the realm of family fun possibilities for a good long while.

Zoo Atlanta?  Try $18 per adult, or $13 per child.  We like looking at a bunch of domesticated “wild” animals lumbering around an artificial environment as much as the next person, but that’s just way too much to pay to spend a few hours sweating under the Georgia sun.

What about the world-famous Georgia Aquarium?  Tickets cost $26 per adult and $19.50 per child.  Annual memberships cost $65 per adult and $48 per child.  Additionally, the fact that it is so famous means that the crowds can be fairly oppressive, so it can be hard for young children to get that up-close-and-personal view of the marine wildlife.

So, based on some advice we had received from a few friends we decided to avoid the crowds in downtown Atlanta and drive 80 miles north to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to check out the somewhat less-renowned yet less-crowded Tennessee Aquarium.  Tickets were $20/$13, but the cost of admission could be applied to the price of a one-year membership at $100 per family.  On July 26 we packed up Annie and the kids and took the trip north.

Things got started interestingly enough after we purchased our tickets.  We made our way to the first exhibit (some type of pygmy crocodile) and Jonathan made his way to the half-height glass barrier to get a closer look.  Suddenly a somewhat large-ish and exasperated woman grabbed his left arm and pulled him back, scolding “Don’t get so close.”

Cassia was standing directly behind Jonathan and witnessed this with a mixture of shock and perplexity.  I, of course, was already moving on to the next area (I know a “warm-up exhibit” when I see it).  A few moments later, this same woman grabbed Jonathan again by the left arm — much more forcibly this time — and said, “C’mon, let’s go.”  Jonathan, surprised and scared by this sudden show of force from a stranger, tried to pull his arm back.  The woman responded by pulling hm even more strongly.

At this point Cassia placed both hands on Jonathan’s shoulders and said, “This one’s mine.” The other woman immediately let go.  Turns out Jonathan looked fairly similar to her own son in a red t-shirt!  She quickly apologized and made a hasty exit.  Jonathan was quite shaken by the experience and hung closely to Mom for the next little while.

Wow.  “Welcome to Tennessee.  Please check your children at the door.”  Our move to the South resulted in a lot of firsts for us — here was our first attempted kidnapping.  :)

Jonathan and Emma check out the sting rays and sharks in a shallow open aquarium. Petting of the animals was allowed here, as the sharks were fairly benign and the rays have their stingers trimmed regularly. A few of the rays have acclimated to begging for attention like household dogs - it was quite funny to watch.

Jonathan and Emma check out the sting rays and sharks in a shallow open aquarium. Petting of the animals was allowed here, as the sharks were fairly benign and the rays have their stingers trimmed regularly. A few of the rays have acclimated to begging for attention like household dogs - it was quite funny to watch.

Jonathan takes on the jellies. Major props to "Finding Nemo" for giving us a basic introduction to several species of ocean life - it really ramped up Jonathan's interest.

Jonathan takes on the jellies. Major props to "Finding Nemo" for giving us a basic introduction to several species of ocean life - it really ramped up Jonathan's interest.

One of the fun features of several of the tanks was a built-in "bubble" that enabled the children to appear as if they were actually inside the tank. Priceless mugging for the camera by the young 'uns.

One of the fun features of several of the tanks was a built-in "bubble" that enabled the children to appear as if they were actually inside the tank. Priceless mugging for the camera by the young 'uns.

Let me out!

Let me out!

Nemo is found at last.

Nemo is found at last.

Another petting exhibit. Emma wanted so badly to touch the fish, but the fish were only occasionally interested in being touched. When her hand finally did graze the surface of a fish's scales, she quickly recoiled in surprise. Annie and Jonathan were considerably less timid.

Another petting exhibit. Emma wanted so badly to touch the fish, but the fish were only occasionally interested in being touched. When her hand finally did graze the surface of a fish's scales, she quickly recoiled in surprise. Annie and Jonathan were considerably less timid.

After the aquarium visit we went a few blocks to the east to the Children’s Discovery Museum.  We didn’t get nearly the same number of pictures here, but the children clearly had a blast.  “Children’s museum” is a pleasant euphemism for “indoor playground,” so we were happy to let them loose and do whatever they wanted.

The special exhibit on the second floor of the museum was dedicated to Clifford the Big Red Dog and

Giddy up!

Giddy up!

Jonathan checks out a fun necktie loom that children could use to practice basic weaving skills.

Jonathan checks out a fun necktie loom that children could use to practice basic weaving skills.

Jonathan also enjoyed playing with magnetic shapes on a light board.  He constructed a nice little house, despite some “help” from Emma.



We were sufficiently impressed with both attractions such that we purchased annual memberships to both.  We even paid a little extra for a membership to the children’s museum that also granted us free admission to a nationwide network of other children’s museums, including Imagine It! in downtown Atlanta.  Jonathan and I took a trip there (“on the bus”) on August 7 to celebrate a full month of potty-trainedness.  It was a good thing we bought our membership in Tennessee: admission to the Atlanta museum is — predictably — much more expensive.

One Response to “Tennessee adventure”

  1. Hehe! That was a fun trip, I hope you enjoyed it as much as i did.

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