The second part of our day in Chattanooga involved going to the Bluff View Art District and the Tennessee Aquarium.
A large part of the Bluff View Art District is the Hunter Museum of American Art. Perched on an 80-foot bluff on the edge of the Tennessee River, the Hunter Museum offers stunning views of the river and the surrounding mountains. The building itself represents three distinct architectural stages: the original 1904 classical revival mansion designed by Abram Garfield which has housed the museum since its opening in 1952, a brutalist addition built in 1975, and a 2005 addition designed by Randall Stout which now serves as the entrance to the museum. (Wikipedia)
|This view is from across the river looking back toward the bluff.|
You can see the three stages of the building with the original part
behind the industrial looking brutalist addition in the middle.
Here's another view of the museum and part of the Tennessee Riverwalk which stretches for 13 miles along the southern shore of the Tennessee River. You can walk, jog or bike along the Riverwalk which also includes "...a wonderful collection of picnic areas, playgrounds, fishing piers, river and stream overlooks, wetlands, rowing centers..." (Downtown Chattanooga)
With the 2005 expansion, the Hunter Museum extended toward downtown. The Ruth S. and A. William Holmberg Pedestrian Bridge provides a connection to the nearby Walnut Street Bridge and riverfront attractions. The glass bridge allows pedestrians to cross over Riverside Drive. Check out this super cool time lapse video of the bridge looking toward the Aquarium.
|It's a little hard to see unless you click on the photo but you can see a white car driving under the bridge.|
Within the beautiful Bluff View Art District is the River Gallery Sculpture Garden. Opened in May 1993 it's located on a two-acre outdoor space overlooking the Tennessee River.
The Sculpture Garden features a formal garden, meditation area, and an informal garden with a recycling mountain stream. I love this view of the garden overlooking the river.
I can't find a name for this piece but [A] decided it was his three ladies.
After leaving the Bluff View Art District we headed over to the Tennessee Aquarium. It's made up of two buildings, the River Journey and the Ocean Journey. They are home to more than 12,000 animals including fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds, penguins, butterflies, and more. (Wikipedia).
The Aquarium, designed by architect Peter Chermayeff, opened in 1992 and consisted of just the River Journey building. When it opened it was the largest freshwater aquarium in the world.
Chattanooga's civic leaders wanted an attraction similar to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the pyramid-topped aquatic museum Mr. Chermayeff designed 15 years before. But he recommended that instead of cloning Baltimore's showpiece, which offers a global view of marine life, the Chattanoogans focus on the ecosystems of the Tennessee River Valley and create America's first major institution devoted primarily to freshwater habitats.
|This is inside the River Journey's glass pyramid roof.|
While the suggestion appealed to the group's regional pride, the Chattanoogans had their doubts. Freshwater fish are less colorful than the exotic salt water fish. What would be the showstopper? The response from Mr. Chermayeff and his firm was to make the entire building the showstopper -- Chattanooga's "very own, home-grown cathedral of conservation," as Mayor Roberts described it.
The $45 million building also features many design trademarks similar to Maryland's aquarium -- rooftop pyramids, a one-way circulation path, back-lit graphics and fish-themed art work by Ivan Chermayeff, Peter's older brother (The Baltimore Sun). Below is a photo of the one-way circulation path. You take an escalator up to the top floor and then follow a continuous ramp down to the ground floor, passing tank after tank of beautiful aquatic plants and animals.
This is an example of one type of cool fish-themed artwork in the Aquarium. These fish are actually just a silver reflective material but when the sunshine floods in through the glass top pyramid, it reflects off the fish and turns them into rainbow colors. [K] would love this.
A new addition to the facility, Ocean Journey, opened in April 2005, and contains a total of 700,000 gallons. This facility includes more hands on displays, such as a small shark and ray touch tank, large macaws, and a butterfly garden.
The largest tank in the Aquarium is the "Secret Reef", which contains 500,000 and features species such as sand tiger sharks and bonnetheads.
|This is the closest I'd like [A] to ever come to a shark, cage or no cage.|
Other sections include the "Boneless Beauties" gallery, where guests can see invertebrates like jellyfish, cuttlefish, giant Pacific octopuses, and Japanese spider crabs.
An even newer 16,000 gallon exhibit with Macaroni penguins and Gentoo penguins opened on May 3, 2007. (Wikipedia)
I really love aquariums and will go whenever there's one in a town where we're visiting. The Tennessee Aquarium did not disappoint. We also watched an IMAX movie while there about the Galapagos Islands which was very interesting as well. If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit.