Frozen Wonders: Post-Christmas Fun Abounds at the Tennessee Aquarium

With the last scraps of wrapping paper bagged and the leftovers from the Yuletide feast cooling in Tupperware tubs, it can be easy to mentally close the book on another holiday season.

The Aquarium will be closed on Christmas Day, but the day after Christmas will be cause for renewed celebration thanks to an influx of new wintertime programming that’s sure to make the days leading up to and into the New Year feel merry and bright.

While there won’t be any snowmen brought to life in the River Journey or Ocean Journey buildings, the Aquarium is nevertheless embracing the spirit of winter to enliven the traditional post-Christmas lull.

Guests touring between Dec. 26 and Jan. 5 will experience Frozen Wonders, a pair of free daily programs that explore the fun side to wintertime. This slate of special activities examines what life is like for animals when the mercury plummets.

At 11 a.m. every day, visitors exploring the Mississippi Delta Country gallery will gain new insights into interesting wintertime survival behaviors including hibernation and torpor. Tenrecs, mammals from Madagascar, are an example of creatures that lower their body temperature and metabolic rates while in torpor to conserve energy. Some people may be surprised to learn that some species of tree frogs can survive harsh winter conditions by actually allowing portions of their bodies to freeze. “Brrrribit!”      

penguins in snow

At 2 p.m. near the entrance to the Penguins’ Rock gallery, guests can experience a hands-on activity that demonstrates how blubber insulates and protects certain animals from the effects of swimming in frigid water. With the help of Aquarium educators, they’ll also discover other ways that animals are able to thrive in cold temperatures.

Visitors also will need to keep a (chilly) weather eye out for animals enjoying fun, winter-themed enrichment activities like snow and ice.

And due to his surging popularity, Miguel Wattson, the Aquarium’s Electric Eel, will continue to dazzle guests. Those who gather in the Rivers of the World gallery at 11:15am each day will learn how Miguel’s electrical pulses cause the lights on his tree to twinkle and flash.

electric eel exhibit with Christmas tree

The activities introduced during Frozen Wonders are offered in addition to the normal slate of free Daily Animal Programs. These activities, which are included with admission, offer guests a chance to witness the incredible behaviors and adaptations of many of its residents, including American Alligators, exotic and native animal ambassadors, colorful Panther Chameleons and the many residents of the Secret Reef. A full schedule of Daily Animal Programs is available at: //

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