Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Chattanooga, Tennessee, just a couple of hours’ drive away from most cities in Alabama, is a perfect family get-away offering a plethora of fun and affordable activities for parents and children. To investigate, we sent our roving nine-year-old reporter Holland to Chattanooga during spring break.
The first stop was The Sheraton Read House Hotel, located in the heart of Chattanooga and blocks away from the Tennessee Aquarium, Discovery Children’s Museum, IMAX Theatre, and the Chattanooga Convention Center. The Sheraton Read House is Chattanooga’s only historic hotel and offers 241 newly renovated guest rooms and suites, each boasting its own scene of unspoiled beauty, luxuriously sensible amenities, and Southern charm. Families will enjoy the hotel’s indoor zero-edge pool and in-house restaurant, Porter’s Steakhouse. Porter’s, famous for its sumptuous steaks and coastal cuisine, serves breakfast, lunch and fine dining options daily.
THE SHERATON READ HOUSE HOTEL
827 Broad Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Next our teen reporter and her family jumped on the trolley and headed out to explore. By water, mountain, valley, and rail, Chattanooga offers more than 43 attractions for families to visit. Following are just a few; for more visit www.chattanoogafun.com.
1. Chattanooga African-American Museum & Bessie Smith Hall
Highlighting Bessie Smith, the Empress of the Blues who was born in Chattanooga in 1894, the CAAM has become a recognized educational institution for African-American history.
2. Chattanooga Choo Choo
The Choo Choo complex offers several restaurants, retail stores, a ride aboard an authentic New Orleans trolley, and railroad museum. You can also sleep in a stationary traincar or eat at the Station House, where the servers sing for your supper.
4. Fat Cat Ferry & Water Taxi
Catch the Water Taxi that will take you to either the North or South Shores (depending on where you get on), or the Fat Cat Ferry, which will take you on a cruise along the Riverfront and around Maclellan Island, a bird sanctuary.
5. Incline Railway
Ride straight up the side of Lookout Mountain, called America’s Most Amazing Mile; the 72.7 percent grade offers breathtaking views through the roof and makes it the steepest passenger railway in the world.
6. Lake Winnepesaukah (seasonal attraction)
Family amusement park with over 36 rides, games, food concessions, paddleboats, miniature golf, and picnic areas.
8. Ruby Falls
Located deep within Lookout Mountain, 1,100 feet below the ground, lie water stalagmites, rock formations resembling an elephant’s foot or a plate of steak and potatoes, a 145-foot waterfall, the largest underground commercial waterfall in the world.
9. Southern Belle Riverboat
A 500-passenger riverboat offering lunch and dinner cruises.
10. Tennessee Aquarium
The Tennessee Aquarium takes visitors on a remarkable journey from the mountains to the sea. Discover amazing creatures in natural habitats, like stealthy stingrays, colorful reef fish, and tropical butterflies in the rainforest, or feel stingrays and harmless sharks in the touch pool. In the newest gallery, Penguins’ Rock, see macaroni and gentoo penguins waddle, walk, and dive into the water to rocket past you.