A rainy day at the Tennessee Aquarium – Chattanooga, TN

My blogging days have just begun. So recently so that I was not here in January to tell you about my 2017 resolutions. One of those new year resolutions has so aptly been named “The 3 Hour Project.” The 3 hour project is our plan to have one new adventure per month for the year of 2017. The only rule? We must travel somewhere within 3 hours of Knoxville, TN. The goal? To pack in as many wonderful, one day adventures as possible this year.

Now, I am a firm believer that rules are meant to be broken. So of course we plan to break the “3 hour” rule a few times this year. We’ve got a pretty awesome trip to Charleston planned for the fall, and our standing reservation at my in law’s in Indiana during hunting season. We may even sneak in a trip to Texas and Arizona, as well. (I kind of love traveling)

We started the resolution in February, because every good resolution-maker knows you need a buffer period. Sorry January! We traveled a mere hour and a half to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Jack and I were so surprised by the change of scenery! The skyline was somewhat industrial looking. There were super crisp, clean lines mixed with really neat, older, architectural buildings. The rain made everything seem a little dreary, also. We agreed it was a good thing we chose an indoor activity that day!

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The TN aquarium is split into three separate buildings – fresh water, salt water and “giant fish.” My husband was in aw of the fresh water fish, pointing out each and every one he wishes that he had caught while fishing. I liked the turtles, because well, they’re cute.The sea dragons and jelly fish are always a favorite of mine, as well.

My very favorite exhibit was the butterfly garden, though! They had these colorful fruit feeders hanging from the trees for the butterflies to enjoy. It inspired me to select a few butterfly-approved plants for our garden bed this spring. I even told Jack that I wanted to make a few fruit treats for the butterflies. He promptly shut that down with the excuse that they would “attract ants”….. but they’re pretty so??

We finished up our aquarium experience by visiting the “giant fish” exhibit. Honestly, I was super disappointed that there were no real fish. Sure, I learned a lot about the giant fish who lived a long, wonderful life, but what’s a giant fish exhibit without a living, breathing, GIANT fish? Oh well… It was still a super neat aquarium, regardless. I’d visit again for the butterflies and the adorable otters!

The rain had mostly cleared up, and we explored downtown Chattanooga a bit before heading back to Knoxville. We got to watch some glass sculptors in action, and grabbed a bite to eat at the Big River Grille & Brewery. I tried the brewer’s cobb salad, and Jack had a Bison burger. Both were fantastic! After walking a few blocks, we found a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop. I have a love/hate relationship with ice cream. I love it, it hates me, I eat it anyway. I’m so glad I did, too! I got a scoop of chocolate fudge brownie and a scoop of coconut seven layer bar. The second flavor can only be found in the shop, and let’s just agree that it’s a good thing my side of town doesn’t have a Ben & Jerry’s shop!

We had a lot of fun in Chattanooga! I wish the weather had been a little sunnier and am still a little hurt over there not being a real giant fish, but we definitely enjoyed our trip. This was the kick off to “The 3 Hour Project,” and I’m perfectly satisfied with the experience! In regards to recommendations for the Chattanooga area, give the aquarium a shot! I think I prefer Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies for the bigger, salt water animals like sharks and sea turtles, but the butterfly garden and jelly fish attractions at the TN Aquarium did not disappoint.

We’ve got another Chattanooga trip planned in a few months to experience Lookout Mountain. I’m really excited for that one! Let me know if you’ve got any must-see recommendations for our next trip there!

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