Chattanooga businesses and tourist attractions welcome Hurricane Florence evacuees

Evacuees from Hurricane Florence enjoy a day at the aquarium in an effort to take their minds off of what they left behind. (Image: Tennessee Aquarium)

As Hurricane Florence nears the coastal Carolinas, residents are packing their cars and rolling into the scenic city where discounts and deals abound.

The Tennessee Aquarium is offering half priced tickets for the aquarium as well as the IMAX theater through Friday, September 21.

"It's a stressful time for them, we know that the aquarium can be a nice stress reliever," Thom Benson, communications director for the Tennessee Aquarium says.

Rock City is also opening its arms to evacuees with up to two free child admission tickets with the purchase of each adult ticket made with a North Carolina, South Carolina, or Virginia license.

Wilmington evacuee Amanda Norton says deals like this "help a lot."

Norton and her five kids piled into the car for the eleven hour drive to Chattanooga to escape the path of Florence while her husband stays behind in Wilmington to "guard the house."

After arriving in the Scenic City, Norton and her kids stopped into the Aquarium for a little distraction.

She says "as long as your family is safe and everyone is healthy, I don't care about your home or the materialistic things because it's the family that makes the home."

Lilly Cahoe and her husband Matthew Whit had the same idea.

The two evacuated from their military base in South Carolina and are now taking refuge in Ooltewah, Tennessee.

On Thursday, they stopped by the Tennessee Aquarium for a distraction of their own.

"It's nice to be able to kind of relax a little bit because, like I said, we don't know what Florence is going to do, we don't know what it's bringing, hopefully it won't be too bad, but you never know," Cahoe told NewsChannel 9.

Like Norton and her family, Cahoe and her husband are prepared to stay through Sunday and hope to return to an untouched home after Florence moves out of their respective hometowns.

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