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Friday, November 20, 2015

Chattanooga, Tennessee: Family Activities

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Chattanooga, Tennessee: Family Activities
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living

Recently, my family visited Chattanooga, Tennessee. We live approximately two and one-half hours from the city and visit there from time to time, but our visits are usually short and restricted to only activities that will fit into a short weekend. This year, we needed a family friendly vacation within a short distance from home so we decided to spend an entire week in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We found Chattanooga to be an incredibly family friendly place to visit. Residents there have spent a great deal of time, money, and efforts to improve the city’s previously neglected areas. Parks, bridges, and shopping venues have been added to the city’s attractions and older attractions have been well-kept and improved. Chattanooga, Tennessee is a perfect place to spend quality with the most special people on earth, family.

Chattanooga, Tennessee Family Activities

Chattanooga Lookouts Minor League Baseball Game


While visiting Chattanooga, be sure to take in a baseball game. The Chattanooga Lookouts’ is the local minor league baseball team and the stadium is located within walking distance from the Tennessee Aquarium and Imax Theater. The tickets are well priced and the stadium is rarely crowded. The mascots put on a great show and you never know who might show up to surprise the fans. When my family attended the game, we were entertained by the famous San Diego Chicken. A minor league baseball game is an inexpensive way to entertain a family and add to the experience of a Chattanooga vacation.

Baseball Game
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living

 Dinner Aboard The Southern Belle


The Tennessee River offers several opportunities for family fun along the Chattanooga shores. One unique experience is a meal, lunch or dinner, aboard the Riverboat The “Southern Belle”. Once a family boards the boat, they are guided to their assigned seats. After all passengers have boarded, dinner is served buffet style. An attendant will ask a few tables at a time to begin the line. The last few tables to be served must practice a bit of patience; however, the boat is small so this method of service does seem to be the best option. Passengers are offered several desserts to finish the meal. Once dinner is over, passengers may remain below, in the dining room for relaxation, dancing, and singing. Others may spend the remainder of the tour above deck while enjoying the beautiful Chattanooga evening. The dinner tours run about two hours long and provide another unique experience along the Tennessee River.

Dinner Cruise
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living

 The Tennessee Aquarium


The Tennessee Aquarium offers a world of aquatic exploration for all ages. Visitors will find the Ocean Journey Building just as pleasing as The River Journey Building. Both experiences are sure to be remembered as a vacation favorite as families view the world of sharks, sea horses, sting ray, jellyfish, aquatic plants, and much more. Watch for divers as they interact with the animals and maintain the tank. Be sure to visit the Aquarium’s Butterfly Garden. Visitors may obtain a chart which features photographs and descriptions of various types of butterflies. Then, they are encouraged to move about the room and discover all the varieties of the beautiful creatures and the plants among which they live. Butterflies are fragile creatures so please encourage gentleness and respect for the butterflies and their habitat.

 The Tennessee Aquarium


Tennessee Aquarium
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living

 The Butterfly Garden


Butterfly Garden
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living

Chattanooga’s North Shore


Across the bridge from Downtown Chattanooga, visit the North Shore shopping district. This older section of town has been given a new look with the addition of Coolidge Park and renovated shops. Coolidge Park offers a walkway alongside the Tennessee River which includes a small, but usually uncrowded water play area and carousel. Along the sidewalks are engraved footprints that teach steps to dances such as the Waltz, the Cha-Cha, and the Twist. The first two shops were stocked with finer items such as jewelry, paintings, and collectibles. Further down the street, visit River City Apparel for affordable clothing such as dresses, blouses, and accessories. For the more artistic visitors, step inside Art Creations for a large variety of art supplies such as brushes, canvases, paints, easels, and various other necessities. Prices are more than reasonable and artists are bound to leave the store well supplied for their next project.

North Shore
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living
North Shore
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living
Chattanooga, Tennessee: Family Activities
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living

The Tennessee Riverpark


Chattanooga visitors must take a stroll or bicycle ride along the Tennessee Riverpark. The Riverpark provides miles of walkway alongside the beautiful Tennessee River. Along the way, you will find rest areas complete with pic-nic tables and stationary charcoal grills, trash receptacles, clean restrooms, and mile markers. Walkers and bicycle riders enjoy a variety of atmosphere including tree covered shaded areas, sunny areas beside the waters, straightaways and curves, all adorned with trees and flowering plants. An individual or a family might choose to walk the entire distance or choose to walk only a short distance as we chose to do with our family. Park your vehicle in a number of marked parking lots along the way, walk a mile or two, and then return to your vehicle. Couples might enjoy a nice romantic evening walk. Families with young children can easily stroll infants and toddlers along in their strollers. Students from Chattanooga colleges and universities often find a nice place to study along the trail. Visitors are allowed to fish as well. The park prohibits skateboards, swimming, alcoholic beverages, and reckless behavior. The park is enjoyed by individuals and families of all ages.

The Tennessee Riverpark


Tennessee Riverpark
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living

The River Gorge Explorer


Another “must do” while visiting Chattanooga, Tennessee is the River Gorge Explorer boat ride. The River Gorge Explorer is a Tennessee Aquarium activity which proves to be one of Chattanooga’s most exciting adventures. The boat carries its passengers approximately sixteen miles down the Tennessee River while featuring both fast and slow rides along the river. The boat slows for other boaters, docks, and barges; then speeds up for a bit. Once the boat enters the gorge, passengers are allowed to enjoy several minutes above deck while enjoying the Chattanooga sunshine as the boat remains at a slower pace. A tour guide interacts with passengers while identifying various wildlife along the way. The ride lasts approximately two hours.

Tennessee Aquarium Boat Ride
Image Credit:  Abundant Family Living
Read more about places to visit in Chattanooga, Tennessee here.

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