River Gorge Explorer wins certificate of excellence

Posted on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm

River Gorge ExplorerChattanooga – The Tennessee Aquarium’s River Gorge Explorer recently earned the 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.

This designation places the River Gorge Explorer among the top ten percent businesses on Trip Advisor. The award is given to businesses that consistently earn high ratings from TripAdvisor travelers. “We are committed to providing every passenger with an entertaining and educational experience,” said Captain Pete Hosemann. “So we’re thrilled that our guests want to tell others about their trips with us.” 

The River Gorge Explorer, a 70 passenger catamaran – and the first of its kind in the Southeast – transports guests downstream into “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon”, the Tennessee River Gorge. This scenic waterway is home to a remarkable array of plants and animals. 

Aquarium naturalists, like John Dever, lead each excursion pointing out wildlife and historic points of interest along the way. “Right now there are five active Osprey nests along the cruise route,” said Dever. “One has three chicks so our passengers get a good look at them and the fishing and feeding behaviors of the parents.” Birdwatchers enjoy comparing the different fishing strategies used by Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons and Ospreys. 

Dever also reports seeing a lot of hawks recently. He notes that Bald Eagles nest in the Gorge and are spotted on about half of the summer excursions. Kids enjoy learning about these animals and their natural habitat in the Gorge. They can earn “Eagle Eye” stickers and view the sights through real binoculars. 

Since coming to Chattanooga in 2008, the River Gorge Explorer has carried more than 144,000 passengers and traveled nearly 100,000 miles. The boat is scheduled to make its 3,500th trip early this summer. 

Early reservations are recommended and can be made online at: tnaqua.org/RiverGorgeExplorer.

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