thrillsgillschills_logoAfraid of tarantulas, snakes or sharks? Then you may or may not want to check out the Tennessee Aquarium special emphasis on “animals that have gotten a bad rap because of popular animal myths or Hollywood blockbusters” this month.

The Aquarium’s new Animal Encounter Specialists will be working hard to debunk the ‘bad boy’ or ‘killer’ reputations of some of the most misunderstood creatures on Earth.

Traditionally frightening creatures will be brought out into the open areas of the Aquarium for the brave and/or fearless to get up close and personal. Doing this “allows people to come in contact with animals they are afraid of in a safe manner,” says Clarissa Schneider, one of three full-time animal encounter specialists on staff.

Schneider points out that guest’s reactions vary from creeped-out to cucumber cool. Some will walk right up to the animal and even ask to hold it. Others will hide their eyes and won’t let their children touch it.

When talking with guests about creepy crawlies such as millipedes, scorpions, or spiders, the specialists try to bust those myths that make people afraid. “We try to let everyone know these animals play an important role in nature, but we also caution children that while it’s fine to touch the snake here, they should avoid touching them in the wild,” Schneider says.

Throughout October, guests will be entertained by “Thrills, Gills and Chills” themed keeper talks, costumed divers and special feedings at the Tennessee Aquarium designed to bring you up close to nature’s most feared and often most misunderstood animals.

In addition to the creatures featured, the IMAX 3D feature movie is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Two other IMAX 3D offerings, Under the Sea 3D and African Adventure 3D, promise to create some hair-raising moments.

And, if you’re’ brave enough, stop by the Aquarium on October 30, from 6:30 to 9:30pm for the Aqua-Scarium Halloween Party. Come in costume and celebrate Halloween with the wild ones at the Aquarium — stinging jellies, bizarre seahorses, squirming octopus and toothy sharks.

Pricing for the Aqua-Scarium Halloween Party:
Member: $4 per person, Adult or Child (3-12)
Non-Member: $25/Adult; $19/Child (3-12)
Non-member price includes Aquarium admission

Thrills, Gills & Chills Daily Schedule:

10:30am Pumpkins & Penguins Ocean Journey,
Keeper talk in Penguins’ Rock
11:00am Scaredy Cat-Fish River Journey,
Costumed divers in Nickajack Lake
11:00 &
11:30am
Bite Fright Dive Show Ocean Journey,
Secret Reef
1:30pm Jaws & Claws Ocean Journey,
Animal feedings in Boneless Beauties
1:45pm Pumpkins & Penguins Ocean Journey, Keeper talk in Penguins’ Rock
2:00 &
2:30pm
Bite Fright Dive Show Ocean Journey,
Secret Reef
2:00pm Divers Delight River Journey,
Costumed divers in Gulf of Mexico
3:00pm Swamp Things River Journey,
Keeper talk in the Delta Swamp

 

Otters Trick or Treat at the Tennessee Aquarium