'Thrills, Gills, Chills' At Tennessee Aquarium

Cue the scary organ music….October brings a month of Thrills, Gills and Chills to the Tennessee Aquarium. This year’s celebration focuses on the chilling aspects of the predator / prey relationships in the natural world.

At Penguins’ Rock for example, visitors can witness the gentoo and macaroni penguins popping out of the water while swimming at an amazingly high rate of speed. “They will pop out of the water like porpoises,” says penguin keeper Amy Graves.

“This confuses predators like orcas or leopard seals that might be chasing them. As they porpoise in and out of the water they appear and disappear from a predator’s view.” That might not seem scary until you consider being chased by something that’s more than 10 feet in length weighing close to 750 pounds. You can see video of a charging leopard seal with its sharp teeth inside the penguin gallery.

Thrills, Gills & Chills also features fearsome sharks and barracudas with “bad boy” reputations. Visitors will uncover the real facts about the Aquarium’s most notorious animals, such as moray eels, piranha, alligators, crocodiles, anacondas and sharks. Plus, check out the costumed divers each day. You might see a comic book hero or a mermaid swimming and feeding some of their fishy friends. Special dives and gallery programs will also focus on the myths and mysteries of some of the most feared animals on earth.

At the IMAX 3D Theater you’ll meet the most chilling creatures the world has ever known when “Sea Monsters 3D” premiers on October 5th. “Sea Monsters 3D” places you face-to-face with long-necked plesiosaurs, ferocious flippered crocodiles, fierce sharks, and the most dangerous sea monsters of all, the mosasaurs. Modern day Thrills, Gills and Chills can be enjoyed in breath-taking IMAX realism as sand tiger sharks, squids and eels swim eerily close while viewing “Deep Sea".

Enjoy the fun during October with these daily events:

Thrills, Gills & Chills Schedule: FREE with Aquarium admission

10:30 AM – Pumpkins & Penguins
Ocean Journey, Keeper talk in Penguins’ Rock

11 AM - Scaredy Cat-Fish
River Journey, Costumed divers in Nickajack Lake

11 & 11:30 AM – Bite Fright Dive Show
Ocean Journey, Secret Reef

1:30 PM – Jaws & Claws
Ocean Journey, Animal feedings in Boneless Beauties

1:45 PM – Pumpkins & Penguins
Ocean Journey, Keeper talk in Penguins’ Rock

2:00 PM – Bite Fright Dive Show
Ocean Journey, Secret Reef

2:00 PM – Divers Delight
River Journey, Costumed divers in Gulf of Mexico

2:30 PM – Bite Fright Dive Show
Ocean Journey, Secret Reef

3:00 PM – Swamp Things
River Journey, Keeper talk in the Delta Swamp

4:00 PM – Jeepers Keepers
River Journey, Piranha & “prehistoric” fish feeding in Rivers of the World

On October 26, celebrate the season in spook-tacular fashion by dressing up in your Halloween costume at the “Sea Monsters” Halloween Party. All of the amazing creatures will be joined by costumed divers while you trick or treat, hear storytellers spin tales of ancient “sea monster” predators whose living counterparts lurk in Aquarium waters, and even play games for fun and prizes. It’s the perfect FIN-ish to a month of ….(scary organ music)….”Thrills, Gills and Chills!” -- www.tnaqua.org

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