Chattanooga provides kids with plenty of activities that will keep both their minds and hearts active. Climbers of all ages can scale the city’s outdoor transparent climbing wall at High Point Climbing or pan for fossils and arrowheads on site at Raccoon Mountain.
Train enthusiasts will delight in taking a narrated tour aboard the Chattanooga Choo-Choo or visiting Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s model train layout. Additionally, family fun outdoors includes cave expeditions at Raccoon Mountain and an archeological dig simulated archeology dig at Creative Discovery Museum.
1. Tennessee Aquarium
The Tennessee Aquarium is one of the top Chattanooga attractions for children, featuring two buildings housing freshwater and saltwater exhibits. Here, visitors can get up close and personal with animals such as penguins, macaws, and otters! Additionally, daily animal programs and activities help visitors learn more about its marine life inhabitants.
Check out the new IMAX movie Great Barrier Reef 3D at the aquarium’s state-of-the-art theater! It provides guests with an unforgettable experience as they see animals swim and fly around them, truly immersing them into an underwater world that comes to life on screen.
River Journey and Ocean Journey are must-do attractions at the aquarium. River Journey follows a raindrop as it flows down Tennessee River while Ocean Journey features sharks, stingrays, and adorable penguins – two unforgettable experiences at one stop!
Chattanooga is home to the Creative Discovery Museum, offering children an interactive museum experience where they can pet animals, see science demonstrations and participate in art lessons. Just a short drive from Scenic City Properties’ bluff view homes including St. Elmo and Fort Wood homes.
Chattanooga wouldn’t be complete without visiting Lookout Mountain. A popular family attraction, its popular Incline Railway transports visitors along its mile-long track over its steep slope, providing unparalleled views of Chattanooga and surrounding landscape.
2. Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
Chattanooga provides children and parents alike with plenty of outdoor activities that provide them with plenty of room to release energy. From riverfront games and Lookout Mountain visits, to Raccoon Mountain trails and plenty more natural playgrounds – Chattanooga boasts miles and miles of hiking trails!
The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is an invaluable experience for train lovers and their entire families alike. Home to an impressive array of vintage locomotives – many restored and on display – as well as special Engineer for a Day programs, which give children the chance to try their hands at operating and maintaining the train themselves, it makes an exciting stop in any visit to Knoxville.
At our visit, the kids had a blast climbing on all sorts of trains and inspecting their features. Their favorite place was the roundhouse which houses all of the train engines. Walking around the massive rail yard allowed them to climb aboard old locomotives that have appeared in documentaries, TV shows or movies was particularly intriguing!
At TVR, one of the best activities is taking an excursion train ride! They provide daily trips on Missionary Ridge Local as well as seasonal ones like Chickamauga Turn, North Pole Limited or Hiwassee River Rail Adventure. In addition, there is two-story water play section and an archeological dig – perfect activities for preschoolers to elementary school aged kids!
3. Hamilton Skate Place
Chattanooga is an essential stop on Southeast family road trips, offering kid-friendly activities in its scenic riverfront setting surrounded by mountains. A city that blends outdoor pursuits, historical interest and art with delicious dining and shopping options; Chattanooga makes for a delightful stopover that you won’t want to leave anytime soon!
Hamilton Skate Place is an indoor/outdoor skating space, offering over 40,000 square feet of unique indoor/outdoor skating fun for all ages – featuring two-story skate park, roller rink, dodgeball courts, an arcade, basketball court and bungee bounce – as well as private party options to host birthday celebrations or group outings.
Greater Chattanooga’s many trampoline parks can provide just the extra excitement you’re seeking, from challenging yourself on a ninja course and playing dodgeball to racing against time in a wipeout zone! Additionally, indoor playgrounds and laser tag facilities keep kids occupied for hours!
If the weather allows, take advantage of Chattanooga’s green spaces by biking or hiking up Lookout or Raccoon Mountains, or head to Coolidge Park and ride the antique carousel that has been delighting locals and visitors for 125 years – it only costs one dollar to ride and features 52 hand-carved animals as well as an organ.
4. Rock City
Rock City should be on your family vacation itinerary if outdoor beauty and hiking are priorities for your vacation. Set atop Lookout Mountain, this stunning natural attraction features gorgeous rock formations and winding trails with stunning overlooks and caves atop Lookout Mountain. Children will delight in Mother Goose Village and Fairyland Caverns which feature scenes from beloved fairytales; testing their mettle on tight squeezes such as Fat Man’s Squeeze; strolling along Enchanted Trail; scaling Cavern Castle or zip lining on 700 feet round trip lines – these attractions await at Rock City!
Rock City can become an educational experience for your kids with the aid of free audio tours and interpretive programs that highlight nature’s marvels. At Christmas time, its gardens come alive with sparkling lights at Enchanted Garden of Lights!
Turn a visit to Rock City into an engaging field trip for your homeschooled family by making time for its impressive raptor show and art in the gardens exhibit. Additionally, animal-loving kids may appreciate visiting the zoo where they can feed giraffes at the feeding station before climbing aboard its carousel ride.
If time allows, take a ride on the Incline Railway on your way into downtown Chattanooga and leave your car behind at your hotel when returning for more explorations. Creative Discovery Museum and Tennessee Aquarium are only minutes from where you are staying so you can pack up and head off at any time!