Tennessee Aquarium

The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga is, simply put: Awesome!  I have only been once before many years ago after it first opened and it has already doubled in size.  It is located on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The Aquarium is split into 2 sections, The River Journey and The Ocean Journey.  Each part is housed in a separate building.

At the Top of River Journey
At the Top of River Journey

We started with the River Journey.  The inside of the building greets you with a very long escalator that takes you to the top of the structure where you are met by playful river otters.  This is the top and the start of the giant tank that goes all the way down four levels.  The center of the building has ramps that descend to each level so that forty feet of water is visible.  At each level there are exhibits on each side that are independent of the main tanks.  All the exhibits here are from a typical local stream or lake, everything from fish to snakes to alligators.

Jarrett and Kaylyn Trying to Pet Sharks and Rays
Jarrett and Kaylyn Trying to Pet Sharks and Rays

The second building is the Ocean Journey and again you start at the top where you can pet sting rays and sharks and visit the live butterfly room.  I had not been in this part before.

It is well worth the money and trip.  It was $26.95 each and for $8.00 more we just bought a family membership…..just in case!

 

26.95

Hanging with the Beach Boys

Anybody who knew me growing up knew I loved The Beach Boys.  I still love their music, but I really got into their great harmonies of the late sixties and into the seventies.  Many of my friends through my teenage years suffered through the music and going to their concerts with me.  I would guess I have seen the Beach Boys live no less than 20 times.  I had all their albums and along with the great harmonies there was some very bizarre stuff mixed in.

Continue reading Hanging with the Beach Boys

Chatting with Reba

In the summer of 1988, I was preparing to go to Australia and had to pick my dad up at the airport.  I was there early and took a seat and spotted a very cute redheaded woman who looked vaguely familiar.  I kept looking and realized it was Reba McEntire.  Reba was real big in the late eighties and having lived in Nashville for a while I learned not to be intrusive however, this was Reba.  The other thing that was very noticeable with the country stars in the eighties was that there never were any big entourage or bodyguards.  In fact Reba was sitting by herself just like all the other passengers.

I decided to say hi and ask for an autograph.  I introduced myself and  apologized for bothering her.  She smiled, informed me she was bored and invited me to sit and chat for a bit.  I suddenly became star struck and shy which is not like me as I have been backstage at many concerts and gatherings.

The only part of the conversation I remember was telling her about moving to Australia and how excited she was for me.  She told me she had toured all over the world and had not yet been to OZ.  She was pushing to be part of an Australian tour that included Kenny Rogers and others.

This lady was so down to earth and friendly that I felt I was talking to a long lost friend.  It really was a special moment and she is as much of a hoot in real life as she is on TV….

Reba McEntire
Reba McEntire

Afrikan Dreamland

In the mid eighties, I worked for a small paper in Nashville called, The Metro, taking photographs of concerts and musicians.  The Metro consisted of mostly college students hoping to get a career in the writing and newspaper business.  Me, I just wanted free tickets to awesome concerts.  I really never have wanted to do photography professionally.  I was on staff for a few years and was exposed to a bunch of music I never would have gone to see on my own.  One band was Afrikan Dreamland.

 

Aashid Himons
Aashid Himons

Aashid Himons was the leader and founder of Afrikan Dreamland.  He was from West Virginia and had been involved in music all his life.  Afrikan Dreamland combined reggae, blues, rock and electronic music and I remember really enjoying their music.  After the show I got to chat with Aashid for a bit and he told me a little about the Rastafarian culture and his music.  I recall a very warm and polite person that I really enjoyed talking too.  I was bummed to hear of his passing in 2011.

See Rock City

Best Advertising Campaign
Best Advertising Campaign

I remember vividly as a kid always seeing the barns all over the United States that said “See Rock City.”  Over the last 30 years I have been probably a dozen times and it always seem to get a bit better.

Horned Owl, Rock City
Horned Owl, Rock City

It had been about 10 years since my last visit and they have added a bunch of new stuff including a restaurant and a bird show.  The bird show was awesome and all the birds there have been hurt or are unable to be returned to the wild for some reason or another.  We got to see a Bald Eagle up close and also a Horned Owl.

Rock City was built in the early 1900’s as a garden and is a fairly easy hike through the paths, rocks, gardens and Gnomes.

If you are ever near Chattanooga it is well worth the stop!