Aquarium Tennessee Explorer will stop river runs

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Tennessee Aquarium is docking their Tennessee Explorer boat.

The high speed, waterjet-propelled craft has run for nine years now along the Tennessee River.

The Aquarium offered trips into the River gorge and other special excursions.

But only 4% of Aquarium visitors ever bought a ticket (a 2 hour trip cost $32 for one adult).

“After developing a new strategic plan and carefully evaluating the Aquarium’s resources, we have decided to stop operating the boat,” says Aquarium president and CEO Keith Sanford.

“We are proud of our captains and crew who have consistently delivered a safe and exceptional passenger experience.”

The River Gorge Explorer will continue to operate through January 15th, which takes it through the Sandhill Crane Cruises.

Then they will sell it.

“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.”

Instead, The Aquarium will focus on three new core goals:

– 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

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