Thursday, April 20, 2017

Welcome to Chattanooga

We got to visit Chattanooga, TN a couple of weeks ago and it was lovely!  Have you ever been there?

Kevin always goes to a conference in the Spring so it's fun to go along when we can.  He's sweet to invite us to come along because going to a conference alone would be quiet and relaxing.  He did all the planning and made sure to pick out a hotel where everything would be walkable for us during the days.  I packed our double stroller and the ergo so we were set for our adventures.  The 6 hour road trip was really doable and the kids smiled or slept for the majority of it.  

We stayed at the Holiday Inn downtown and it was very nice, new and clean.  The best thing about our room was that it had a divider.  Fletcher was able to sleep and nap in a separate room.  Olive doesn't nap anymore so this was so nice to have two separate spaces.  The rooms have kitchenettes and that came in very handy since we were there for a few days.

Essentials for exploring: backpack, jackets, ergo and comfy shoes for all.  We took the stroller out for bigger adventures and just walked in the mornings.

Kevin headed to campus to go to his conference.  A few of his students came down for the conference, too.  He was presenting on his research and they were doing the same.  It was fun to see him doing a job he loves so much.

was one of our first stops.  It's a shop with TONS of candy, sodas, root beer and fun things to look at.  We stopped in here every day to get a little treat.

I didn't know that Chattanooga was the home of the Moon Pie so it was fun to learn more about them.  I'd never tried one so I picked up the original flavor of chocolate and a vanilla one.  The chocolate one tasted like a soft s'more and was pretty yummy.

We had heard wonderful things about this aquarium so it was exciting to plan a trip.  It is pricey to get in, but I'd say it was worth it.  We did not pay for anything extra like shows or river trips and there was tons to see.  We were there for over two hours and probably could have stayed longer if the kids were older.  You can get very close to all of the exhibits and there are so many creatures to see.  I've never seen anything like this place.

 We went to The Ocean Journey first and it was lovely.  They had touch tanks where you could touch sting rays.  It's all been recently remodeled and is very nice.  They had a butterfly garden, penguins, amazing jellyfish displays and tanks that were stories tall.  It was very impressive.

The River Journey was amazing, too.  Some people told me it was better than the Ocean, but we loved the ocean more.  The otters were so fun to watch.  They are such silly creatures.  We saw turtles, alligators, river monsters, frogs and Olive insisted on touching a snake here.  TONS to see in the four levels of this building.  The place was really stroller friendly, too.

 The Aquarium is right along the Tennessee River so we went for a stroll afterwards.  It was extremely windy that day so we snacked, strolled and went on our way.

We did take out for our meals several times because it was easier.  We did Chilis to go, Five Guys and Penn Station and then had picnics in our room.  I brought along some of the kid's favorite foods so it was fun to eat and relax a bit.  Fletcher normally sits in a high chair for his meals so it was a little tricky to get him to not crawl all over the food.

Our hotel was right across the street from Cupcake Kitchen so I knew we had to visit.  It's a tiny place, but they do have seating inside.  I planned for us to get cupcakes to go and it worked out great.  We picked 4 different flavors and they were really tasty.  I'm dying to try to recreate the Banana Cream Pie cupcake!!

This Children's Museum was AMAZING!  It's the most hands on, interactive museum I've ever been to.  There are so many different areas for the kids to build, explore, imagine, create and experiment.  We spent 3 hours here and didn't even get to everything.  There were things for both kids to do and enjoy and it was a pretty stroller friendly place.  It was crowded the day we were there, but we made it work.  Fun Fact: You get $2 off/ticket if you show your ticket stubs from the Aquarium.  Since I knew this fact we headed to the Aquarium first.

They had a sewing station and Olive was so eager to make something.  Fletcher was hungry and wanting held so I gave him a bottle and a snack while Olive and I designed a pillow for her dolls.  She first wanted to make a cactus like the ones on the table, but we didn't have time for that.  There were needles, thread, stuffing, fabric, etc.  I think the two of us could have spend the day in this one spot.  We brought her pillow home for her dolls and now she's asking to make more.

Build your own parachute station where the kids got to experiment with the wind tunnel.  Kids before us had made the parachutes and Olive was thrilled to launch them.  All things like this get thrown away at the end of the day and the new visitors start from scratch the next day.  Fletcher really enjoyed this station, too.  The museum has lots of volunteers that are going around helping, tidying up and managing the stations.

There were all these stations with tons of materials to create.  They had shelves of examples, tape and so many supplies.  We taped, stacked and just had fun building.  Everything was make and take if you wanted it to be.

Clay station was fun for everyone except when Fletcher popped some in his mouth!

The art exhibits were really neat.  So many things to touch and design - flower walls, stamping, braiding, tracing, painting, still life, puzzles and more.  The picture on the right was a room filled with paint chip cards and tape.  The kids could fold anything they wanted and tape it to the walls.  Some papers had messages and others didn't.  Olive loved taping things to the walls.

The theater was tons of fun.  Olive put on a puppet show and it was hilarious.  She then went for the capes and headed straight for the stage.  There were spotlights, props and backdrops the kids could change and put on a play of their own.

The Dinosaur Area was really interesting.  The dino dig sand pit was fun for the kids.  There were fossils, facts and rocks to check out.  

 There was a huge life sized King and Queen exhibit featured while we were there.  Olive knows nothing about playing chess, but loved moving the chess pieces around and climbing through the castle.  I bet this would be tons of fun for bigger kids.

We headed outside to do some more learning and the bubble station was her favorite.  The small machine centers weren't the best for younger kids.  They had a giant checkers game that she would have liked to play if it wasn't so crowded.

The doctor's office was a favorite spot.  She gave check ups, looked at xrays and we visited this spot several times.

Fletcher was happy to ride along and get out at the baby friendly exhibits.  He especially loved the music exhibits with instruments and fun interactive activities.

We'd happily go back to this place.  It was really affordable and amazing at all the things they had to offer.  We didn't make it to several of the exhibits so you could easily spend the day there.

We ended up with a coupon for BOGO pizza at Mellow Mushroom so we all ate dinner there the last night.  MM pizza is one of my favorites and we hadn't eaten there since we lived in Little Rock.  It was just as delicious as I'd remembered.  And we had the best dinner together.  Both kids had a great time, were really well behaved, LOVED the pizza and watching the chefs toss pizza dough in the kitchen.  It was such a fun night and the perfect way to end our trip.

Overall, Chattanooga was SO MUCH FUN!  We'd happily go back for another visit because there were several things we were hoping to get to do, but didn't have time for - the zoo, the vintage Carousel at Coolidge Park, Rock City, etc.

You should definitely head to Chattanooga, TN if you ever get the chance!!


  1. What a fun trip friend! Once you perfect that banana cream pie you better share the recipe! It looks like it was a really fun city to explore and such a great time of the year to take a little trip. So fun to be able to travel as a family.

  2. I started reading your blog about a month ago & love it! I have a little boy that is 18 months old so can relate to a lot of your posts. After reading about your trip I may consider visiting here. Looks like tons of fun. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. What fun! I love your vacation posts - you guys really know how to scout out all these best places. That children's museum looks amazing. Btw- what is Kevin's field? Is it a science of some sort? I've never asked you before. How neat to get to go along for his trip!

  4. So glad you had a great time!

  5. This post totally makes me want to visit Chattanooga and I don't even have kids! I didn't know there was so much to do there! Loved reading your recap and checking out your pics!

  6. I had no idea that Chattanooga had so much to offer! I'm definitely going to have to plan a trip there in the future!

  7. Chattanooga is a LOT like Greenville! The pictures from downtown look so much like our streets - we even have Mellow Mushroom. It's so sweet of Kevin to make his conference trip into a fun family time! We visited the Chattanooga Aquarium when I was a kid and I remember how much I loved it. Your mirror selfie down by the river is so cute! What a fun post!!

    Whitney @ Come Home For Comfort

  8. Oh my goodness! I want to go visit Chattanooga RIGHT NOW! You guys did so many fun things and it just looks like you had the best time!! I know I already mentioned this to you- but two of my aunts live in Chattanooga!! Now after reading your post and seeing all the fun things there are to do for young families and kids- I am sold! I am planning a vacation to Chattanooga!! So happy you had such a great time and that Kevin of your's is just too sweet! You two make a great team :)

  9. Wow! It looks like y'all had an amazingly fun trip. So many fun things for y'all to do. It was smart of y'all to do supper in some nights. Sometimes going out can be too much work when you have to do it over and over. The play doctors office would have been Jack's favorite. My favorite would have been those cupcakes.

  10. Looks like a fun trip! Mac and I are overly excited that Augusta has two Mellow Mushrooms. The closest one here is in Denver.


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