CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – After operating on the Tennessee River for more than nine years, cruise operations aboard the River Gorge Explorer will be ending in January, announced Tennessee Aquarium.
No one had seen a high-speed, waterjet-propelled vessel operating on an inland waterway before the River Gorge Explorer first docked in Chattanooga in the summer of 2008. And while adding the River Gorge Explorer to the Tennessee Aquarium’s operations was an ambitious project, only four percent of the Tennessee Aquarium’s visitors were reached through this experience.
“It has been a pleasure to oversee the day-to-day operations of the River Gorge Explorer and to have spent so much time on the water with our guests,” said Captain Pete Hosemann. “While I’ll miss piloting this vessel, I do understand the Aquarium’s desire to change direction.”
The Tennessee Aquarium has mapped out a new course for the organization that’s focused on three core areas:
- Science education programs within the aquarium and IMAX Theater
- Conservation science to better understand and protect freshwater ecosystems and the animals that depend upon them
- Continued investments in the aquarium’s overall experience so it remains a top driver for Chattanooga tourism
The River Gorge Explorer will continue operations through Jan. 15, 2018 when the Sandhill Crane Cruises conclude. The Aquarium will then seek a buyer for the vessel.
“We are grateful for the community support and sponsors who made it possible for us to offer this experience,” Sanford said.
About the Tennessee Aquarium
The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder, appreciation and protection of water and all life that it sustains. Admission is $29.95 per adult and $18.95 per child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium conservation programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $11.95 per adult and $9.95 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $37.95 for adults and $26.95 for children. Excursions aboard the new River Gorge Explorer depart daily into “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon.” Cruise tickets are $32.00 per adult and $24.50 per child (3-12). Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.tnaqua.org or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities.
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