When we go to Opry Mills we always have to stop by and see the fish at the Aquarium restaurant. Growing up my family had a 55 gallon fresh water tank and I watched my Mom clean it and balance the chemicals on a regular basis. I've wondered what it takes to maintain the giant tanks at the restaurant. Recently, we discovered there is a way to find out. You can take a tour of the Aquariums and learn about the fish, their care and more with the staff Marine Biologist!
There are a few different tour options you can choose from. We did the “Exclusive Behind the Scenes” tour which is $10/person. It was about an hour long and the kids got to ask as many questions as they could along the way. You start with an introduction to the fish in the main tank. Most of them have names and backstories. We also learned how the restaurant coped with the 2010 flood.
You then are guided behind the scenes to the maze of piping that is needed to keep the tanks clean and the salt balanced. It was loud but we were able to hear how the different processes work. There are also signs through the room with more details. The kids got to touch star fish and play with a lobster that is new to the Aquarium. He will be kept in quarantine for several weeks before he is added to the main exhibit.
We ventured upstairs to peak in the window of the laboratory and see a baby guitarfish (one of only a few ever born in captivity) also in quarantine.
The last stop is the catwalk over the aquarium. Divers go into the tank daily to clean and maintain the tank and we got to see all the gear and diving platform. You could also see the fish from the top, which is a different experience than what you see in the restaurant.
Family Fun Facts
Call (615) 514-3474 to book a tour
Behind the Scenes tour ($7/person):
- 20 minute tour
- Guided tour with the Staff Biologist
- Learn and see the inner workings of the Aquarium
- View the tanks from above
- Limit of 10 people per tour
Exclusive Behind the Scenes tour ($10/person):
- One hour tour
- Meet with a Biologist
- Learn about the fish and the importance of oceans
- See the inner workings of the Aquarium
- Geared for all ages and a minimum of 10 people per tour
Marine Biologist for a Day ($35/child ages 8 to 12, $40/child ages 13 and Up):
Spend a Friday or Saturday with the Aquarium staff and see what its like to be a Marine Biologist. Use microscopes to investigate the water and aquatic life. Dissect a squid and watch a dive show. You must have a minimum of 5 guests (This would make a really fun birthday party!) and lunch is included.