We went during spring break, so that may have been most of the crowd problem. The line to get in took about 15 minutes because they check your bags and wand you at security. You also have to stop and take your picture before you go in. I would recommend buying tickets at the kiosks instead of the ticket booth since there was no line there, although you will still have to wait in the security line.
The highlights of the visit were the beluga whales, the otters, the touch pools and the dolphin show. We almost skipped the dolphin show which would have been a mistake. The show itself is a little cheesy (although the 4 year old liked it), but the dolphins and swimmers are amazing. My little girls ooh'd and ahh'd the entire time. Get to the aquarium early to get a good show time or buy your tickets online so you don't have to hang out there for an extra 2 hours just to see the show like we did.
We ate at the cafeteria because we had no choice. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't worth $50 to feed 4 people. Eat before you go if you don't like wasting money on cafeteria food.
In all, I think this aquarium is very good because of the sheer size of the fish they have, but the crowds were a huge negative. The kids had a hard time getting up close to the glass to see things. The flow of traffic in the exhibits did not move well at all in places. For example, I was excited to see the penguins, but they were so crowded and hurried, I barely saw them.
If I had to choose, I would go to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. It's not so crowded, and there are more opportunities for small kids to see the fish up close. My daughter also preferred their touch pool.
FYI, we didn't know where to park, so we ended up in the World of Coca Cola garage, and it was perfect.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.