Preparing A Feast For The Beasts At The Tennessee Aquarium

Monday, November 19, 2012 - by Thom Benson
Chattanooga Chuck, the Tennessee Aquarium’s groundhog, enjoys a traditional Thanksgiving treat – sweet potatoes.
Chattanooga Chuck, the Tennessee Aquarium’s groundhog, enjoys a traditional Thanksgiving treat – sweet potatoes.
- photo by Tennessee Aquarium

Imagine preparing a huge Thanksgiving feast every day. Staff and volunteers at the Tennessee Aquarium create specialized diets for more than 10,000 animals daily. There are two kitchens where Aquarium “chefs” spend long hours bringing all of the ingredients together. Most of the food is restaurant quality, and in some cases, it’s enhanced with nutritional supplements to ensure each animal receives a varied and well-balanced diet.

Whether it’s giant stingrays from Australia or a veggie loving green sea turtle, animal experts provide flavorful dishes that are tailored for each species.

Like many of you, Chattanooga Chuck - the Aquarium’s groundhog - loves sweet potatoes. But haute cuisine for fish, frogs and birds is much different than what you’d see alongside turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.

The numbers for the Aquarium’s daily gourmet feast for the beasts are rather staggering. Seahorses for example, are fed three times each day. Collectively, they eat more than 2 million tiny shrimp each year.

Here’s a sample of what’s on the Aquarium’s annual grocery list:

832,000 meal worms for birds

5,616 heads of romaine lettuce for turtles and fish

5,184 pounds of squid for sharks and other fish

40,000 crickets for frogs, salamanders and newts

10,800 pounds of capelin fish for penguins

3,000 night crawlers for turtles and amphibians

2,000 shrimp for cuttlefish

681 pounds of grapes and 200 pounds of macadamia nuts for the macaws

1,056 oranges for butterflies

More than 5,000 mice and rats for reptiles and owls

The Aquarium is thankful for the dedicated volunteers who help prepare food and feed the animals throughout the year. If you’d like to learn more about animal care and help feed some of the animals, the Aquarium offers a Backstage Pass experience which allows guests an opportunity to go behind the scenes. http://www.tnaqua.org/PlanYourVisit/BackstagePass.aspx


Governor Haslam And Tennessee Tourism Commissioner Kevin Triplett Close Out 2016 Governor's Conference

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett addressed industry professionals on Friday during the 2016 Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism in Chattanooga. Both brought words of appreciation and congratulations to industry members for another record-breaking year of growth, referencing economic impact numbers ... (click for more)

Tennessee Tourism Round Up: Must-Attend Fall Festivals

Tennessee’s upcoming tourism news is consolidated for your convenience below. For a complete list of Tennessee events, visit  tnvacation.com/calendar . Sept. 23-24 Tullahoma –  The annual  41A Music & Arts Festival  has music and entertainment, food and gift vendors in downtown Tullahoma. Sept. 23-25 Union City – ... (click for more)

DA Pinkston Files Petition To Declare 2 Gangs A Public Nuisance

District Attorney General Neal Pinkston filed a petition on Monday asking that two Chattanooga gangs, the Gangster Disciples and the Grape Street Crips, and their members be declared public nuisances. General Pinkston is also "asking that injunctive relief be given to the law-abiding residents of East Lake by establishing a Safety Zone that covers most of their neighborhood." ... (click for more)

2 Boaters Die In Suspected Carbon Monoxide Poisoning On Chickamauga Lake

Two boaters and their pet were pronounced dead at the scene of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning on Chickamauga Lake.  Kristy D. James and Mike L. Richardson of Chattanooga were reported missing to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office earlier in the day by a concerned family member. The boaters had not been heard from since Saturday. Tennessee Wildlife Resources ... (click for more)

Of Course Gangs Are A Public Nuisance

Now, I don't know it all.  Beginning with my parents, folks of all sorts have been actively pointing out my ignorance for more than seven decades now.  So I'm well aware that I don't know it all.  In recent months I've begun to develop an appreciation for the local work of Mr. Neal Pinkston; I've been impressed with several things he's been doing in his official ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Arnold Palmer’s Greatness

This is hardly meant to be flippant but I’d be willing to bet I’ve been in the presence of more great people than anyone you know. I’ve never ranked them, or ever dared to wonder who was the greatest, such as Muhammad Ali or Elvis Presley, but there are two traits that those who reach the highest pinnacle have in common. First, not a one of them was any good at what made them famous ... (click for more)