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


The Road To Atlanta From Parts South And West

Flying in and out of Atlanta can be a pleasure if you plan well and possibly consider a stay at one of the large hotel complexes which ring the airport’s perimeter. Lots of travelers from the Southeast plan their trips around flying in and out of the U.S.’s busiest airport, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International. Making your experience match the convenience, timetable ... (click for more)

October Brings Fall Fun Throughout Tennessee

Ongoing Jonesborough –   Tour Tennessee’s Oldest Town , downtown Jonesborough,  11 a.m. every Monday ,  Wednesday ,  Friday  and  Saturday  starting from the International Storytelling Center. Chattanooga –  Mammoths, saber tooth tigers and more prehistoric animals are stars of “ Titans of the Ice Age 3D ” playing now at the ... (click for more)

Chickamauga Lock To Reopen As Soon As Next Thursday

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District  plans to reopen Chickamauga Lock to all navigation traffic as early as next Thursday. An inspection of the upper gate anchorage and a repair plan were completed today. Chickamauga Lock closed on Monday after a routine inspection revealed a crack in the anchorage of the upper gate. Lt. Col. John Hudson, commander ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex That Brought $3 Million Profit Exempt From Most Taxes Until 2022 Under PILOT

A downtown Chattanooga apartment complex that recently was sold at a $3 million profit is exempt from most property taxes through 2022 under a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement.   No payment of school taxes was included in the deal for Walnut Commons at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way.   The only taxes due on the property for the next eight ... (click for more)

A Vote For Education Is Critical In Tennessee

In a state where just 28 percent of eighth graders are proficient in math and 33 percent are proficient in reading according to national assessments, education is deserving of more attention in 2014 elections. Across the country, more parents are making informed decisions about their child’s education, but for Volunteer State parents without resources, choices are difficult to come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saban: ‘Ratings Don’t Matter’

When the first College Football Playoff rankings were released earlier this week, Alabama football coach Nick Saban got it right on the button when he shrugged, “I don't even care, to be honest with you." "To me, none of it matters, What does it matter?” he laughed at the Tide’s No. 6 ranking. “I mean, it only matters where you end up at the end. So what matters to us is how ... (click for more)