Nestled in the Tennessee Mountains, Chattanooga is a such a great family-friendly city to visit. Whether it’s just a weekend getaway or a family vacation, Chattanooga, Tennessee has a lot to offer active families. From the Tennessee Aquarium to breathtaking Ruby Falls, Chattanooga is sure to make a fan out of you.
When you are driving along the interstate between Atlanta and Nashville, don’t miss Chattanooga. It is worth a stop, even if just for dinner or lunch at Big River Grille & Brewing Works. It’s located downtown near the Tennessee Aquarium, and they have the most amazing steak tacos! My son and I have made countless weekend trips to Chattanooga. It’s so easy to get to from Georgia and offers a lot of family entertainment. We usually stay downtown at the Courtyard by Marriott, but have also stayed at the more affordable Sleep Inn which is conveniently located near the interstate, a large mall, and lots of restaurants.
5 FUN things to do in Chattanooga, Tennessee:
Spend a day at Tennessee Aquarium.
Located directly on the beautiful Tennessee River, the Tennessee Aquarium is home to over 320 different species of freshwater fish along with penguins, sharks, river otters, alligators and tons more. The aquarium is housed in two buildings: the River Journey takes you through the aquarium’s fresh water exhibit, and the Ocean Journey which provides a glimpse of amazing saltwater inhabitants.
Kids will love Stingray Bay, the stingray touch tank with more than 100 feet of shoreline where they can interact with and pet several different species. The butterfly garden is another must see exhibit. Enter this enchanting atrium full of butterflies from all over the world. If you stand still and are quiet you may even get to hold one! Other must see exhibits at the Tennessee Aquarium include Penguins Rock, Jellies: Living Art, Secret Reef, River Giants, and Tropical Cove, just to name a few. My son and I both love the jelly fish the most!
Explore the Creative Discovery Museum.
Located just steps from the Tennessee Aquarium downtown, and known to be one of the top children’s museums in the country, the Creative Discovery Museum allows kids to fully immerse themselves in art, history, science, and more. Make learning come alive with this interactive and entertaining children’s museum. With a giant indoor climbing structure, water play areas, a huge exhibit devoted to music and fine arts, and a separate play area for the littlest visitors, Chattanooga’s Creative Discovery Museum has all the features that make a top-notch children’s museum.
Get up and personal with the animals at the Chattanooga Zoo.
The Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park is a 13-acre zoological park located in Warner Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee. If you are expecting something the scale of the Atlanta Zoo you might be disappointed. This very nice little zoo is an affordable way to spend the afternoon, and the exhibits bring animals up close to visitors. Kids will love to exploring the Gombe Forest and getting to meet a chimpanzee and hang around Corcovado Jungle for monkey business. My son and I always have a nice time at the Chattanooga Zoo.
Ride the Inclined Railway up to Lookout Mountain.
The Incline Railway is one of the steepest passenger railways in the nation and will take you one mile straight up Lookout Mountain on a cable railway. The steep ride is quite thrilling and offers a stunning view of Chattanooga on the way up. Kids will enjoy seeing the mechanics of the rail cars on the way up and learning about how the railway operates.
At the top of Lookout Mountain, is Point Park, a park commemorating the Civil War “Battle Above the Clouds.” Point Park is home to several monuments dedicated to the memory of those soldiers who fought that battle on both sides of the war, and offers breathtaking views overlooking Chattanooga.
Be awed by Ruby Falls.
From the top of Lookout Mountain, you can head down to the entrance of Ruby Falls, the site of a must see natural wonder. A breathtaking 145-foot underground waterfall located 260 feet below ground and over 1,120 feet below the surface of Lookout Mountain.
Take a 60 minute cave tour, a half-mile walk through the caverns to the falls and see some amazing rock formations along the way. I don’t recommend this attraction for very small children or anyone who gets uncomfortable in dark places, and it is definitely not an attraction to take a stroller to. Ruby Falls is something everyone should get to experience at least once.
These 5 fun things to do in Chattanooga, Tennessee are just a small sampling of the many exciting and fun activities in the area. I think I’ll have to follow up with another post soon to share more. Also, if your family enjoys geocaching as much as mine does you’ll be blown away by all the great caches in the Chattanooga area. Until next time…