Monday, January 14, 2013

Tennessee Aquarium FOR LIFE (2013)

Good morning!

Guys! What an exciting weekend it's been! If you missed Photo Friday, make sure and check out one of the best Flickr stream finds of all time-- the woman in the pictures has identified herself as Maria Daddino, and was kind enough to pop over to the original post and comment back on everyone's comments! A real life brush with one of our vintage photo celebrities! Isn't the internet amazing? :) You can see more about what she's up to today on the Facebook page for her book, Maria's Duck Tales: Wildlife Stories From My Garden. Thanks for dropping by, Maria!

Friday early afternoon, as promised, Matthew and I headed down to Chattanooga to see the Tennessee Aquarium for his belated birthday celebration. It was crazy fun! We drove down to grey, grey skies, hit up an incredible vegetarian restaurant called Sluggo's (Rae from Say It Ain't So suggested it, and when I say incredible, I mean i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e...), and proceeded to the aquarium. After shelling out $9 to park and an ungodly amount of money to the ticketing agent to admit both of us to the actual facility, I was starting to feel a penurious pang of regret. Should we have stayed home and just watched a ding dang screensaver, thus saving us from the exorbitant cost of seeing fish in real life?

Matthew with his real family
My mom, veteran of many, many family vacations to crawling-with-other-people's-kids historical and educational tourist attractions, kept saying in response to our planned trip, "Oh, I hope when you go there's hardly any people there" and "It's a Friday afternoon post-summer, so I bet there won't be any people there" and "Maybe if you drive down early there won't be so many people there". Me: "Enough with the 'hope there aren't any people there'! I'm sure there will be some people there! I'm sure it will be fine!" Little did I know, in my exasperation, that my mom's prayer did not go unheeded, and we saw maaaaybe four people who didn't work there the entire three hours we were there. Oh my goodness! It was one of the most amazing, amazing feelings to wander around the exhibits  like you were in this enormous, silent, abandoned building with three stories worth of marine life in it! Spooky? Oh yes. AWESOME? Oh yes.

Speaking of screensavers, how unreal does our proximity to some of this wildlife seem?

(Ladies, hasn't he got the cutest profile?) We saw all kinds of jellyfish, from ones the size of a quarter to ones this big. It really makes you curious as to how things as disparate as humans and jellyfish can live on the same planet. Seriously! Think about how weird these things are!

OH MY GOD, I AM SO CLOSE TO A SHARK RIGHT NOW. I looked right in its souless eye! I did! So did Matthew! We must have spent thirty minutes looking at this one enormous, three story saltwater tank. The guide said the sharks are kept well fed, and that's the reason they don't eat, uh, every other thing in the tank. I think it's out of the goodness of their hearts. J/k, they have no hearts, it's because they're full of shark pizza and shark beer. Otherwise, it would be sharkageddon up in this piece.

(My best friend the) SEA TURTLE!!!!
The aquarium people lowered a weighted tray of broccoli down on a rope and this guy ate it-- definitely a highlight. I really loved how the animals would come right up to the glass.
I'm acting like I'm really into this, but truth be told, I hated looking at the giant crabs mouths more than I think I have hated anything outside of a nightmare. Have you seen a giant crab's mouth? It's a bunch of wiggling, weird, things-like-fingers....I don't even want to talk about it! There is nothing as scary in space as things we already apparently have here on earth.
Matthew looks like a hologram in this picture, but it's just something to do with the lighting. Or his presence in outer space. DON'T LOOK AT ITS MOUTH, BABU! DO NOT!
An American Alligator!
The one thought running through my mind was "oh my God, if this thing so much as blinks at me, I am probably going to run screaming from this fine establishment." I was THAT close!

Some weird turtle!
Matthew loved how much these looked like dinosaurs or something out of one of his Japanese cartoons. Aren't they just little pals?

And Sting Rays!
I wasn't going to touch one of these, but one came right up to the surface, like a puppy wanting to get its head scratched! I couldn't believe it.

IT WAS THE NEATEST AND BEST TRIP OF ALL TIME. I can't wait to go back and check out everything else in Chattanooga! Happy birthday, Bab!

Seeing all these sea creatures in real life made me think about welcoming one into my home. Is that the dumbest? I was impressed by how many twenties' and thirties' people, from the pages of Popular Mechanics and Popular Science, shared my interest in fashioning a domestic marine habitat. Click on any of the links to go straight to the horse's mouth on how to build these dew-dads and gew-gaws.

Popular Mechanics Apr 1931"Auto Glass Used to Make a Large Aquarium"

Popular Science Nov 1934 "Illuminated Aquarium Set in Bookcase"

Popular Mechanics Oct 1933 "Lamps Inside Copper Cover Heat Aquarium"

Popular Science Sep 1927 "An Aquarium At Low Cost"
Popular Science Jun 1931 "A Unique New Aquarium"

Have you been to any museums or tourist attractions that just knocked your ever loving socks off lately? Taken any short or long trips worth gabbin' about? Which of these aquariums looks the most ambitious or most worth putting in your house? Do tell!

That's all for today, folks; see you tomorrow!


  1. YEAH!!! Also, I would say what you said about sharks is a stereotype, but let's face it. Sharks love shark pizza and shark beer, and we all know it.

    Best Birthday ever!!!!

  2. i always am amazed by jellyfish. how is it even alive?? it is just jelly and strings!
    i used to keep fish, and it is hard work to do it right! i did have somd goldfish for almost ten years though, which made me pretty proud. i like how the last tank looks, though it is way to small for those two fish. you need 10 gallons a piece for goldfish!

    1. Jellyfish make no. DANG. SENSE. None! I kept trying to read about how they eat and reproduce on one placard and I was finally like "This is ridiculous" and walked off in search of otters.

      My sister used to be an ace at keeping goldfish, that is so neat you were able to keep some alive for TEN YEARS. I couldn't keep a PLANT alive that long. How about the one with the pagoda roof? It makes me want to be a more responsible person!

  3. Oh my gosh, I went there last year. Those giant crabs seriously scared me! We got there when they were feeding the sting rays (not the ones you could pet) and they were sliding up the glass walls, it was amazing!

    1. Like a dream, right! I seriously want to go back, stat. Except skip the dang crabs. Yeeks.

  4. Yay! Happy Birthday to your man!

    I love the aquarium! I went for the first time this fall and I loved it. My favorite was the otters. WHY DO THEY HAVE HUMAN HANDS?!

    1. Those otters are out of control. They kept doing little push-offs with their feet on the underwater glass you can view them through and I thought I might die. So cute! Human hands and all!

  5. Oh wow, Maria stopping by that post just about made my Monday!! The magic of the internet, eh? And she's still so pretty and cool-seeming; a true inspiration!

    Looks like a fun time at the aquarium! I know lots of vintage collectors get mad about them, but I fantasize about having one of those "vintage-TV-turned-fishtank" contraptions (like so: I think it would really tie my living room together.

    1. She is SO. COOL. I can't believe she took the time to say hey to all of us! (as we all squeal in unison "It's her! The lady from the pictures! Oh my goodness!" :) )

      I would love to have one of those vintage tv's turned fish tanks...I've never seen one work in real life though, I wonder if the conversion/lighting/etc would be hard? As long as you don't throw away the insides (which are the really irreplaceable parts), I say, why not. Actually, I say: "Someone do this and give it to me when they're done" because I'm too chicken to take a hatchet to one, haha!

  6. My sister lives in Chatt so I have been to the aquarium many times...but I haven't been since they got penguins. I am cheap so I talk myself out of it everytime I drive down. Drag. Also, I love how it looks like the shark is swimming towards the exit sign.

    1. Oh man! I am glad that shark cannot make an exit. The only thing worse than a shark right next to me through six inches of glass would be right next to me in the parking lot! :)

  7. Lisa, you look great with your head popped up through the crab tank. Aren't you being a little...harsh. his mouth parts? A crab's gotta eat.
    What if he blogs about the beehive hairdo he saw Saturday that disturbed his meditations?

    1. Hahahahaha! Touché! Poor crab man...I never did think about his feelings.

  8. Great post, and yes! You do have a great smile!



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