Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Tourists for the day

When the alarm clock beeped at 9:30 yesterday morning I didn't grumble under my breath - and not one expletive popped into my head. I rolled out of bed and hopped into the shower.

Jim and I had the day off together and decided to be tourists in our own city for the day. So, we made plans to visit the Tennessee Aquarium and its new Ocean Journey building, which was very cool.

Apparently, we weren't the only ones with the same idea. Thinking Monday morning would be a great time to avoid the real tourists, our eyes nearly popped out of our heads when we got up to the aquarium entrance. I swear to you - there were at least 300 kids of all ages running buck wild in their matching school T-shirts while weary chapparones just watched as the chaos unfolded.

Unfazed, we got our tickets and proceeded into the building ... But much to our surprise, the madness didn't stop outside - children were coming out of the woodwork - on all levels of the building, feverishly running from one exhibit to the next, oooooing and aaaaaahhhing at all the fish, reptiles and birds.

So, Jim and I crammed into the sea of children and got a kick out of both the gorgeous (and sometimes frightening) creatures. No, not the kids ... the fish!

Hundreds of gallons of water and thousands of fish later, we wound up in the butterfly exhibit of Ocean Journey. I know you really wouldn't expect butterflies at an aquarium, but I was beside myself at how beautiful they were.

All sorts of butterflies from exotic locations fluttered around the greenery, and it was gorgeous. At that point, Jim and I had outrun a large group of children, so we had that area to ourself, which allowed us to take lots of pictures. It was wonderful!

By that time, we were pretty much through the aquarium and decided to head over to the Bluff View Art District to gatch a glipse of the Hunter Museum's new addition. Along the way we walked through the sculpture garden and over the glass bridge, which was kind of unnerving but cool at the same time.

The Hunter looks incredible, but I do have to agree that the modern addition and the Southern architecture of the original building look bizarre together. We didn't get a chance to go in yesterday, so that'll have to be another day of touristy fun.

After that, we walked back to Ross's Landing where we'd parked our car and headed home for a night of cooking out and talking about all we saw that afternoon.

A good day.