Chattanooga goes by many nicknames— the Scenic City, Gig City, Chattavegas, River City— but really Kid City should be added to the list. There are so many kid attractions in Chattanooga it’s one of the easiest places in the southeast to plan a family vacation. There’s more than we can reasonably list here, so we created a handy map of the top ten Chattanooga kids attractions that will keep everyone entertained, from the littlest to the biggest.
- Lake Winnie: We like to think no list of Chattanooga kids attractions would be complete without Lake Winnie, the South’s favorite family amusement park. We’ve been delighting families for almost 95 years with over 40 rides like the classic Boat Chute, Cannon Ball Roller Coaster, Ferris Wheel and Antique Cars. SoakYa water park brings new waves of fun to park guests with over 5 acres of splashtacular excitement for every age.
- Paddle Boarding with L2 Outside: The Chattanooga riverfront is one of the city’s biggest assets, lined with parks, the river walk, and fun neighborhoods to explore. But the river itself is a wonderful playground and offers great vantage points of some of Chattanooga’s prettiest scenery. Kids will love renting a stand-up paddle or kayak and getting a chance to see the bluffs under the Hunter Museum, the Passage commemorating the Cherokee history of Ross’s Landing, and the Tennessee Aquarium. If you prefer a guided experience, L2 Outside also offers stunning sunset tours that show off nature’s technicolor glow.
- Renaissance Park: Coolidge Park is definitely fun for all ages, with its bright carousel and open filed for throwing a frisbee. But neighboring Renaissance Park is an extra fun Chattanooga kid attraction, with big angular hills that look straight out of a Dr. Seuss book where you can go sledding in any weather. Bring a chunk of cardboard and try this fun slip and slide for yourself.
- The Tennessee Aquarium: No list of Chattanooga kids’s attractions is complete without mention of the Tennessee Aquarium. The main exhibit is a unique tour of river ecosystems that trace the Tennessee Valley’s streams from the top of mountains down into valleys, gorges, and lakes, and eventually on to the sea. There is a second Aquarium building that, in a more traditional fashion, outlines a saltwater ecosystem. You’ll see penguins, sharks, parrots, and more along the way, and can also visit the Aquarium’s IMAX 3D Theater in the neighborhood to complete your educational experience.
- The Pumpkin Patch Playground: There are a number of great playgrounds on the list of Chattanooga kid attractions, but one of the best is the recently renovated Pumpkin Patch Playground. In addition to the usual slides and swings you find on playgrounds, the Pumpkin Patch also boats a tepee, small slides for tiny tots, themed playhouses, and big slides built into hillsides. There’s also the “Pumpkin Patch Express” train, a lemonade stand, Lincoln Log towers to play hide and seek in, and two cozy swings. The Pumpkin Patch also picked up on two of the biggest trends in play right now, with a gaga ball court and a small climbing wall, making this a must-see stop for cutting edge kids.
- Lula Lake Land Trust: One of the prettiest places to go hiking in Chattanooga that’s not too challenging for little legs is Lula Lake Land Trust. This Chattanooga kids attraction (and, let’s face it, everyone attraction) is open to the public on the first and last Saturdays of each month from December through April and first and last weekends from May through November. Walk down to the upper and lower falls, a trip of about 3.2 miles taken as a loop, is best punctuated with a classic family picnic.
- Creative Discovery Museum: You won’t want to miss the Creative Discovery Museum. With exhibits for tots from toddlers to twelve years old, the Creative Discovery Museum is full of tactile, experiential zones that let kids play house, experience how water flows through a room-size contraption, try their hand at paleontology, and learn about trains.
- Chattanooga Zoo: Few kids attractions in Chattanooga are quite so perfectly family-friendly as the Chattanooga Zoo, where you can see critters of all sorts from chimpanzees to red pandas to camels you can ride. There’s also a wealth of family-friendly activities, including teddy bear checkups and Harry Potter-themed fun days when you and your kids can learn about the Care of Magical Creatures and Fantastic Beasts.
- Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum: who doesn’t love the yesteryear whimsy of an old-timey steam train? Take a trip back in time to when Chattanooga was known as one of the great train towns of the southeast through songs like Glenn Miller’s jazz classic “The Chattanooga Choo Choo.” There are three main trips ranging from an hour to a full day, making it easy to pick the best one for the age and attention span of all your little railroad conductors.
- Chattanooga Ducks: Another way to experience the Tennessee River first hand is to hop into one of the former military vehicles known as a DUCK and enjoy the thrill of watching the driver plunge straight into the water. The amphibious trucks turn into boats once they’re away from the shore, and the captains have great stories about Chattanooga and its history to share. A morning or afternoon spent paddling around with the Duck crew will definitely be one for the memory books!
- International Towing and Recovery Museum: If you’ve got a tot who loves cars, trucks, Hot Wheels, and any kind of vehicle, you’re in luck. One of the most unique Chattanooga kid attractions is dedicated to an obscure piece of the city’s history— that Chattanooga is the place where tow trucks were invented in 1916 by Ernest Holmes, Sr. Kids of all ages will love seeing examples of tow trucks from the past hundred years of rescuing wrecks.
- Hunter Museum of Art: Partially in the grandest of the old mansions where wealthy Chattanoogans once lived overlooking the Tennessee River, the Hunter Museum is now a multi-building complex with an extensive collection of historic and modern American Art. They have regular Family Fun Days when the exhibits and activities are free to all kids 17 and under and just $15 per non-member adult. Talk about a Chattanooga kids attraction.
Thank you for taking the time to read our latest blog post on the top 12 things to do with your children in the Chattanooga area. While all of the options listed above are great choices, we feel that Lake Winnepesaukah offers the best kid friendly attractions in the Chattanooga area. If you would like to learn more about Lake Winnie and the kid friendly attractions we have to offer, please visit our main website today!