Family Fun in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga is a hidden gem surrounded by the beautiful rolling hills of the Tennessee Valley. It is most notably known for attractions like Rock City and the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, but there is so much more to this family friendly city. Here’s our list of fun things to do in Chattanooga, Tennessee with kids.
Nature lovers will love:
Immerse yourself in an underwater ecosphere and learn about the creatures that inhabit rivers and oceans around the world. The Tennessee Aquarium was ranked #4 in the world for aquariums. If that’s not a reason to visit, I don’t know what is.
A breathtaking, 145-foot waterfall located more than 1,000 feet underground, Ruby Falls is something every visitor to Chattanooga has to visit at least once.
Once you visit Ruby Falls, travel up Lookout Mountain and visit the iconic Rock City. Here you can wander through natural gardens and bizarre rock formations and will eventually end at Lover’s Leap, where you can see seven states on a clear day.
The beautiful 130-acre facility of Audubon Acres is not to be missed by nature lovers! The rich diversity of plant and animal life make every visit here new and exciting. I recommend visiting in the spring and fall for the best experience.
Adventurous families will love:
Ever wanted to fly? The mountains surrounding the Chattanooga area are perfect for soaring. The thermals that rise along the mountains allow you to hang over ridges and valleys for miles. Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding offers solo and tandem gliding as well as expert instruction.
Chattanooga is home to two beautiful rivers (the Ocoee and the Hiwassee) that will take you on an unforgettable whitewater adventure. There are more than a dozen rafting companies to choose from, but I highly recommend the experienced professionals at Big Frog Expeditions.
Take a nail-biting one-mile ride at a 72% incline up Lookout Mountain in a turn of the century rail car. While at the top of the Incline Railway you can enjoy some homemade fudge from the gift shop or explore the history of Pointe Park.
High Point Rock Climbing
Embrace your inner monkey and scale the walls in one of the nation’s largest climbing gyms at High Point Rock Climbing. Children will love the kid’s climbing area (complete with giraffes and dinosaur bones to climb), and adults can challenge themselves on the indoor and outdoor walls.
History buffs will love:
Built in 1908, this historic inn was once the terminal station for the Southern Railway line. After near demolition and close to $4 million in restoration, the Chattanooga Choo-Choo is once again bustling with visitors. While here, you can spend the night in beautifully restored authentic sleeper cars, tour the rose gardens or take an educational trolley ride.
Tennessee Valley Railway Museum
Step back in time on this moving history museum. Relive a time in Tennessee when riding the rails was a way of life at the Tennessee Valley Railway Museum. Choose from several different railway adventures, ranging in length from 1-7 hours!
Battles For Chattanooga Museum
Located at the entrance of Point Park (site of the pivotal Civil War conflict Battle above the Clouds), the Battles for Chattanooga Museum engages you in the climatic battles fought here in 1863. Spectacular recreations and an extensive relic and weapons collection draw you into the battles and allow you experience what it must have been like 130 years ago.
Tip: The Lookout Mountain attractions (Ruby Falls, Rock City, Incline Railway and Battles for Chattanooga Museum) offer several combo ticket options that can save you money on admission costs if you know you’ll be doing several of these.
Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park
The oldest and largest of America’s Civil War parks, Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park (NMP), preserves the sites of two major battles of the Civil War: the Battle of Chickamauga and the Chattanooga Campaign. The Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center includes extensive exhibits, including the Fuller Gun Collection.
Artsy families will love:
Hunter Museum of American Art
Situated on a bluff overlooking the Tennessee River, the Hunter Museum of American Art features collections and artists from the Colonial period to the present day. Their diverse collection will have something to please every member of your family. For extra fun, download a guide to the Hunter Museum designed especially for kids.
Bluff View Art District
This historic neighborhood stretches 1 1/2 blocks and is filled with art galleries, cafes, gardens and plazas all designed with art appreciation and education in mind. While you enjoying the Bluff View Art District, stroll through River Gallery’s Sculpture Gardens, grab some fresh baked artisan bread from Chattanooga’s oldest bakery and take in the breathtaking views of the Tennessee River and Downtown Chattanooga.
Chattanooga Theatre Centre
Visit one of the nation’s oldest, largest, continuously running community theaters. From Broadway-style musicals and dynamic dramas to side-splitting comedies and delightful children’s plays, there is something for everybody to enjoy at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre.
Where to stay in Chattanooga
Hilton Garden Inn Chattanooga Downtown is located in the heart of downtown two blocks from the Tennessee Aquarium and directly next door to the Creative Discovery Children’s Museum. It is extremely convenient to the FREE electric shuttle that takes you throughout downtown Chattanooga, so you don’t have to worry about transportation. See all of the Hilton Worldwide hotels in Chattanooga.
As you can see Chattanooga has a delightful mix of art, history and adventure that will please every member of your family! We love all of the fun things to do in Chattanooga and know that you will too.
Thank you to the Chattanooga CVB for hosting us on this amazing trip. Some parts of our visit were complimentary so I could give you the inside scoop, however all opinions are my own.
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