Situated in the rolling hills of the Tennessee Valley and on the banks of the Tennessee River, the small city of Chattanooga, Tennessee holds delights for children of all ages. From the highly acclaimed Tennessee Aquarium to the stone citadel of Rock City, there are activities that surround the beautiful landscape.
Chattanooga’s history is as well rounded as the city itself. Originally a railroad town, it was made famous by the song, Chattanooga Choo Choo. Today, the Choo Choo depot is a converted hotel right in downtown. Overnight stays can be had in an actual railway car, and there are several restaurants on the property.
Not far away from this delight, step into the water world of the Tennessee Aquarium and the recent new shark addition. There is much to see and do here.
Of particular historic significance is the Trail of Tears exhibit and play area down the side of the aquarium which has recently re-opened after extensive renovation by the city.
Down the street is The Creative Discovery Museum, where the River Play exhibit provides hands on learning for youngsters visiting the area.
The IMAX Theatre holds a visual presentation like no other at the crossways between the Aquarium and the Creative Discovery Museum.
Situated behind both venues and on a large ride is BellSouth Park, which is home to the minor league team, The Chattanooga Lookouts, and where a fun evening can be spent.
All around downtown, there are many eateries, ranging from the inexpensive to the pricy. Big River Grille is a favorite as is the very bohemian Pickle Barrel where the cool and hip crowd sit in a corner shaped building. It has been in existence for a very long time. I used to go on dates there. This is not a hoity-toity place. It appears rough around the edges but that is part of the charm. The food is incredible.
Up the hill from the Tennessee Aquarium is the Walking Bridge that will take you over to the Hunter Museum of American Art side via a glass bridge. It also has had extensive renovation.
Nearby and over the bridge is the Hunter Museum of American Art, which houses a priceless collection of classical and modern American Art. It is situated on the bluff that is known as the Bluff View Arts District, which is full of wonderful and romantic restaurants and galleries and shops. There you can take in the distinct view of the city of Chattanooga and the Tennessee River. There are several romantic Chattanooga hotels as well.
A short drive will take you to the foot of Lookout Mountain, where an incline can take you up the mountain to a fairyland delight at Rock City. Made famous by the Rock City Barns proclaiming “See Rock City”, it continues to fascinate today with its age-old rock formations and elf delights. There are several nice hotels on Lookout Mountain, which is technically in Georgia. There has been a never-ending state line dispute in this area of the South.
Down the mountain is the fabulous Ruby Falls in a cavern that will take you to the center of the cave and amaze you with the falls at the end of it.
Also not far way is the Tennessee Railroad Museum. Take a ride on a train.
Day or evening, the Southern Belle churns along the Tennessee River and is quite the excursion to cap off a trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Seasonal events include the Riverbend Festival, which is held yearly for a week and a half in June. Big name acts in the past have included almost any name that has ever been famous. Music of all genres is included-whatever your pleasure.
Lodging is all around the city. Children get the effect of a much larger city with the friendliness and security of a small southern town. The city is full of activities for children, including the Chattanooga Zoo in Warner Park. There is no place like Chattanooga. I have enjoyed being an “almost native,” as I live just thirty minutes or so below downtown Chattanooga in Northwest Georgia. Rarely a week goes by that we are not in Chattanooga.