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Tennessee Aquarium

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Environment, Environmental Education, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Zoos & Aquariums

Mission: The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder, appreciation and protection of water and all life that it sustains. The Tennessee Aquarium is a vital link connecting people to freshwater and the ocean beyond. Our excellent exhibits and dynamic living collection entertain and inform. We celebrate and seek to protect the rich biodiversity of the Southeast. We lead and partner to make a meaningful difference in the economic and environmental well-being of our community.


Tennessee Aquarium Education Services and Programs Offered


1.      Aquarium Educators in the Community – Each year, our educators have a significant impact on communities across the region. The Aquarium’s educators are routinely honored for their work.  

2.      Classroom Programs for School Groups

· Grades K-2 Programs -- Jellyfish Dream, Life Cycles and Animal Adaptations.

· Grades 3-5 Programs -- Build a Jellyfish, Ocean Characteristics, Wonderful Working Wetlands. 

· Grades 6-8 Programs -- Aquarium Jeopardy, Coralopoly, Plankton Power.

· Grades 9-12 Programs -- Seahorse Rescue Mission.

· Lunch and Learn Programs for Students -- programs on Animal Senses (grades K-2), Reptiles (grades 3-5) and Biodiversity (grades 6-8) that are modified for each grade level.

3.      Non-Classroom Programs for School Groups

· Adaptations from A-Z – Tours guided by an Educator.

· AquaGuide – a comprehensive gallery by gallery review for teachers and older students.

· AquaQuest – a self-guided tour with written question and answer followup.

· Behind the Scenes Tour – discover the complexities involved in recreating habitat components for over 10,000 animals.

4.      Opportunities for Teachers

· Aquarium Orientations – workshops and open houses that enhance teaching skills, knowledge and effectiveness for teachers bringing student groups to the Aquarium.

· Teacher Inservices – workshops/classes ranging from half-day to seven-days that focus on science and environmental education in a school or outdoor classroom setting.

· Teacher Resource Lab – videos, discovery boxes and other resources available free of charge to all teaching professionals for use in their classrooms.

5.      Distance Learning – Aquarium educators provide classroom sessions in a live presentation using various program animals. We have served schools across the country from New Jersey to California.

6.      Outreach Programs – For school and community groups, festivals and any other venue, the Aquarium brings science and environmental education programs to the public within a 150-mile radius of the Aquarium. From pre-school to senior citizens, we strive to educate those who cannot make the trip to the Aquarium facility itself.

7.      Home School Programs – Life science classes as well as field trip experiences to local habitats are available for homeschool groups. In addition, we provide discovery boxes on a wide variety of topics for use by homeschool and other groups.

8.      Sleep in the Deep Programs – Groups spend the night in the Undersea Caverns while participating in educational opportunities for people of all ages.

9.      Members Programs – Each year, Aquarium educators offer unique and interesting educational programs for our members from butterfly counts, to guided hikes, to wildflower classes.

10. River Gorge Explorer Programs – taking visitors directly into the Tennessee River Gorge, the Explorer expands education opportunities and conservation experiences for visitors of all backgrounds.


Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 4

My contributing membership to the Tennessee Aquarium is incredibly valuable to me. I know that my membership helps to sustain this organization's strong future. The Aquarium has already done so much for the Southeast, I'm glad to support future endeavors and provide funding for current programs. The Aquarium's work to restore streams and reintroduce imperiled species are both very important programs to me. But what truly inspires a gift from me, is the inspiration that the Aquarium gives to its students and guests. The only way the public will want to work harder to keep our earth clean, healthy and biologically diverse is if they can see these animals/habitats up-close and learn about them in a unique and engaging setting. The Aquarium does an amazing job of doing this.

Review from Guidestar



Rating: 5

The Tennessee Aquarium is amazing for having such a strong educational impact in an entertaining facility. I love that it focuses on freshwater, part of our environment that is so essential and so easily overlooked.

Review from Guidestar



Rating: 5

What I love most about supporting the Tennessee Aquarium: I can visit any day and see firsthand the benefits of giving, by watching scores, if not hundreds, of exuberant young children having a wonderful time learning about science and the environment.

Review from Guidestar



Rating: 5

I am a Tennessee Aquarium donor. This organization has an amazing community impact and does good work in education, conservation and economic development. I am proud to support them.

Review from Guidestar