Architectural Record praised the nation`s first fresh water aquarium as a "cathedral of conservation." This dramatic aquarium on the river in downtown Chattanooga focuses on the ecology and biological diversity of the Tennessee River, from its origins in the Appalachian Mountains to its outlet in the Mississippi Delta of Louisiana. This is the first major aquarium to focus on the habitats and life of America`s inland waters. The aquarium was conceived, sited and designed to be a catalyst of downtown waterfront redevelopment, and is the focal attraction at Ross`s Landing, a mixed-use complex master planned by CambridgeSeven. Glass pyramids at the top of the building reveal glimpses of wild habitats within. The aquarium`s exhibit content features a multi-level river otter exhibit as well as freshwater habitats with three major exhibits; a mountain cove forest with a trout stream, a “lake” section of the river between dams near Chattanooga, and a cypress swamp of the Mississippi Delta. A fourth area displays animals and habitats of other rivers of the world. The aquarium features magnificent views of the Tennessee River, flowing by the building. An outdoor plaza and park provide varied gathering spaces for visitors and residents. The exhibit has proved to be a profound economic redevelopment catalyst for the region.

Opened, 1992