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December 09, 2023

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SCUBA Claus dives in River Giants.

Tennessee Aquarium’s Holidays Under the Peaks Begins Nov 27

SCUBA Claus dives on weekends leading up to Christmas! Plus, an eel-illuminated holiday tree, the IMAX 3D Theater’s annual PJs and Polar Express event and more.

The arrival of the holidays brings all-new levels of joy and wonder to explore at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. The Aquarium’s annual Holidays Under the Peaks celebration begins Monday, Nov. 27.

This year’s offerings include:

  • seasonal trimmings to the Aquarium’s exhibits and galleries
  • weekly themed programming
  • the return of a beloved family favorite film
  • photo ops with a beloved elf of especially jolly persuasion

After a long year of preparing a world’s worth of toys for the Big Night, Scuba Santa is once again taking time to visit the Aquarium and take a dip in some of its largest exhibits. Donning his fins and SCUBA gear, St. Nick will make weekend dives in the River Journey building’s River Giants and Tennessee River exhibits. These special events will occur at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays leading up to Christmas, except Sunday, Dec. 24.

Guests who want to get closer to Santa under drier circumstances will get additional opportunities to sidle up and pass on their holiday wishes this year. Photos with Santa with a festive backdrop of wintry trees will be available for guests to pre-purchase from Nov. 24 – Nov. 26 and Dec. 15 – Dec. 24.

While exploring the River and Ocean Journey building galleries during Holidays Under the Peaks, guests will also encounter educators eager to bring them closer to the natural world through themed animal encounters and interactive experiences. You might meet a Chocolate Chip Sea Star during “holiday treats” week or learn about where an Eastern Box Turtle lives in the coldest months during “home for the holidays” week.

In the Rivers of the World gallery, the Aquarium’s resident c-eel-ebrity Electric Eel, Miguel Wattson, will once again delight guests with a special light display near his exhibit that illuminates in response to his bioelectric discharges.

Across the street at the IMAX 3D Theater, a holiday celebration at the Aquarium would only be complete after taking in a screening of The Polar Express 3D. This modern holiday classic will be shown daily from Friday, Nov. 24, through Tuesday, Dec. 26 (except Christmas Day – Monday, Dec. 25). Families looking for an extra-special experience can don their favorite pair of PJs and sip hot cocoa for an early screening of the film during the annual PJs and Polar event at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16.

Learn more about the holidays at Tennessee Aquarium at




About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.