"Laugh Tracker" gauges kids' interest in Tennessee attractions

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Image: WTVC

Tennessee tourism officials have created a new study based on laughter. A device called a "Laugh Tracker" gauged an attraction's success by the amount of laughs recorded.

The Tennessee Aquarium was one of five places in Chattanooga a part of the study.

Kids like Simeon Little and Savannah May like to learn and have fun at the same time.

"I like touching the stingrays," Little said. "They're slimy."

"I like that we get to see a lot of different creatures," May said.

Plenty of others are getting that experience at the aquarium.

It is one of the 40 places included in a state-wide study to see where kids enjoy visiting.

"I like butterflies," May said. "I like to watch them fly."

The Tennessee Department of Tourism Development tracked how much kids laughed and their excitement through technology during the month of May.

A main attraction at the aquarium is touching the stingrays. says the aquarium gathered 31 laughs per hour and more than 136 moments of excitement, as measured by laughs and heart rate.

Cindy Todd is the Vice President and Chief marketing officer at the aquarium.

Finding out what kids enjoy is the emphasis of the study.

"[We see] when a butterfly lands on mom's head, touching a lake sturgeon," Todd said. "We see the laughter and the 'oohhs and aahhs.'

As well as making memories that will last.

"I'm doing things that I've never done before," Little said. "Interacting with the species is really cool."

More than 200 kids were surveyed and officials tracked them for more than 450 hours.

Officials recorded 36,000 laughs and the data will be evaluated over the next three months.