Chattanooga Engineers Club

ASME Tour - TN Aquarium

  • 16 Mar 2023
  • 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
  • 1 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN

ASME Chattanooga inviting CEC to a joint event.

Behind the scenes tour of the Tennessee Aquarium

The Tennessee Aquarium was designed to serve as a cornerstone for redevelopment in downtown Chattanooga by reconnecting the city with the Tennessee River. 

Development of the aquarium and the adjoining Ross's Landing Park, part of the Tennessee Riverpark project, was funded by a combination of nonprofit, public, and private individual supporters. The site selected for the aquarium was a group of abandoned warehouses at the foot of Chattanooga's Broad Street, which was acquired for $4.5 million by the RiverCity Company, a nonprofit development agency created in 1986 to implement the Tennessee Riverpark Master Plan, and later deeded to the aquarium. The park received public funds, but the $45 million needed to construct the aquarium was raised privately.

Construction began in November 1988, and the aquarium opened to the public on May 1, 1992. In 1995 the aquarium broke ground on a $14 million IMAX center on land adjacent to Ross's Landing Park, containing an educational facility and offices as well as the IMAX theater. This expansion opened in 1996.

The Tennessee Aquarium was the first element of Chattanooga's downtown revitalization plans to begin operation, preceding hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues. Community leaders credit it with beginning to improve residents' perceptions of the downtown and riverfront districts, as well as attracting tourist traffic. Initial estimates of the aquarium's economic impact predicted $750 million in direct and indirect contributions to the local economy; by 2012, more than $2 billion in additional investments had been made in Chattanooga's downtown, and the aquarium was widely acknowledged as the linchpin of this redevelopment process. A 2014 study done for the aquarium by the University of Tennessee Center for Sustainable Business and Development concluded that its annual economic impact is an estimated $101.3 million and over 1000 jobs.

Tour is limited in attendance, the first 20 to RSVP ( will receive behind the scenes tour ticket.

Please only RSVP if you for sure can attend the aquarium tour.


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