I’m a mom of a 2.5 year old and stepmom to a 13 year old. I love working as a team member of Chattanooga Vacation Rentals for so many reasons, and one of the perks is that I can work from home with my toddler in tow. That being said, when I get done with a shift, she is ready to get out of the house and burn off some energy, so I am constantly looking for fun, kid friendly activities. Chattanooga is the perfect place for families, because there is a wide variety of events and activities for kids of all ages.
Rock City is an amazing display of some of Lookout Mountain’s most beautiful natural creations. With huge rock formations, beautiful trails, and amazing views of the valley, Rock City is a popular tourist attraction for very good reason. One of my favorite parts of Rock City is the Rock City Raptors program. During certain months of the year Rock City partners with Wings To Soar, a non-profit organization that cares for non-releasable birds of prey. Wings to Soar brings birds of prey to Rock City to perform bird shows that will both educate and entertain. These shows are wonderful for kids of all ages (and us adults too). They bring birds through the audience so that you can see them up close, and they teach you interesting facts about each of the birds. At one point, they even fly some of the birds right over your head! The presentation is funny and touching, and it will leave you and your kids inspired to help care for our planet and protect these magnificent birds!
Cloudland Canyon State Park
Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia, has some beautiful views of the canyon, large waterfalls, and a great playground. The trails down to the waterfalls can be difficult for small children, so when I’m with my toddler, I prefer to go on the Sitton’s Gulch Trail. This is a trail that is at the base of Lookout Mountain (still part of the state park), but it is less busy, the trails are easier, and it is in the shade of the canopy that follows along a creek. There is a short 10 minutes walk (at a toddler’s pace) to the first place where you can get close to the water.
Coolidge Park in the summer months has an interactive play fountain perfect for the kiddos to cool off on hot summer days. If you don’t want to get wet, there are walking trails along the Tennessee River and a carousel in the park. My favorite activity is to stop into shops along Frazier Avenue and walk across the pedestrian Walnut Street Bridge which crosses over the Tennessee River. On the other side of the bridge is an ice cream shop (treats for the kids) and the Bluff View art district which features Rembrandt’s Coffee Shop (treats for you parents), Tony’s Pastaria, the Hunter Museum, Bluff View Bakery, and Back Inn Cafe and a very cool sculpture garden.
The Tennessee Aquarium
The Tennessee Aquarium is a must see for Chattanooga visitors. The Aquarium can easily fill a day if you like to take your time. There are two parts to the Aquarium, River Journey and Ocean Journey. There is a wide variety of aquatic life, but some of the favorites are otters, penguins, sharks, touch pools, and the butterfly exhibit where you walk among butterflies in a beautiful tropical landscape. They also recently opened a new exhibit hall, Island Life, featuring Vancouver Island, Madagascar, and an Indo-Pacific Reef. As a former volunteer at The Tennessee Aquarium in the penguin exhibit, I can tell you, the Aquarium is top notch and takes excellent care of their animals.
The Chattanooga Zoo
The Chattanooga Zoo is great fun. It’s not so big that you have to spend all day there, so it’s easy to manage in an afternoon. My toddler’s favorite element is that they have a petting area where you can interact with goats and a pot belly pig. Peacocks and chickens roam about the zoo freely and the zoo frequently has events or keeper chats, so check their website for special events.
Creative Discovery Museum
Another great kid activity is the Creative Discovery Museum. They have wonderful interactive play areas for kids of all ages. With a specialized toddler room and an 18-month and under section, you can let your little ones play freely with similarly ages kids. If your kiddos love dinosaurs, there is a sand pit to dig up fossils, or a musically inclined child can explore musical instruments from around the world. They frequently have hands-on art programs, where your child can paint, sculpt, or create a work of art to take home. There’s something for everyone at the Creative Discovery Museum.
When you are out and about, you know you will get hungry, and it’s best to stop and eat before anyone gets hangry (guilty). Some of my favorite restaurants to take my kiddos to are Taco Mamacita (their food comes out quickly and they have a delicious menu to choose from). As a side note, their margaritas are amazing (why not, you are on vacation). If your kids love hot dogs, Good Dog is a very fun place near Coolidge Park! For adults, they have a nice selection of gourmet accouterments and their veggie dogs are some of the best I have ever had. Clyde’s on Main serves popcorn while you wait for your meal and some of the tables are old pin ball machines which the kiddos find very cool.
You are sure to find some fun activities in the Chattanooga area. This is not to mention all the kid friendly seasonal events Chattanooga has to offer like Nightfall (live music in Miller Park), Ballet in the Park, Chattanooga Public Library events, and many many more. I highly suggest you keep an eye on our blog as we try to highlight specific events when they are upcoming. We hope to host you and your family in our scenic city, and as always, we at Chattanooga Vacation Rentals are focused on helping make sure you have an excellent vacation, so let us know how we can help you make some wonderful memories!