When I say that there is so much to do in Chattanooga, I mean it! It really seems like Chattanooga that has it all. There are a number of things to do outdoors, great museums, and amazing restaurants. And when it comes to family-friendly there is so much to do in Chattanooga with kids!
Fun Things In Chattanooga To Do With Kids
From the aquarium to indoor climbing, your little ones will make amazing memories next time you head to Chattanooga for a family vacation. Here are some of our favorite things to do for family-friendly fun!
Chances are you’ve seen the roadside “See Rock City” barns. Rock City is so incredibly unique! There really isn’t anything else like it in the country so no first-time trip to Chattanooga is complete without visiting Rock City.
For kids, Rock City is full of fun and exploration. Around every corner and down every path, there is a natural wonder. Through caverns and across the Swing-a-Long Bridge, a 180-foot suspension bridge that sways gently, your family will make some amazing memories.
We went when I was 10 years old and to this day, I still remember how excited I was that whole day. The waterfall was so cool but seeing seven states from a single spot was the coolest thing to me! I don’t think I stopped talking about it for years. This is one of those fun things to do in Chattanooga with kids that can also serve as an educational opportunity!
Ruby Falls is worth the hype! When you visit, you’ll descent 620 feet into the earth by elevator and walk half-mile through Lookout Mountain’s cave system. These caves were formed more than 30 million years ago! When you get to the show-stopping Ruby Falls, your mouth will drop. This 145-foot underground waterfall is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. The lighting and music make the whole experience really amazing.
Known as “America’s Most Amazing Mile,” the Incline Railway is one of our favorite things to do in Chattanooga with kids! This funicular railway takes you up the side of Lookout Mountain and reaches an incline of 72.7% making it the steepest in the world!
The Tennessee Aquarium is one of the most loved and visited attractions in Chattanooga. There are two buildings, freshwater and saltwater, that make up the aquarium. Each one is filled with amazing creatures and educational exhibits. While visiting you will see sharks, butterflies, lemurs, penguins, stingrays, and alligators. If your kids love animals, consider doing a Backstage Pass. These tours provide you with a behind-the-scenes look of the aquarium and private animal encounters.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
What says family fun more than a train ride?! If you have little ones who love Thomas the Train, this will be one of their favorite places to visit. The Tennessee Valley Railroad has historic trains that are designed to be a moving museum. There are a number of scheduled rides throughout the year that will fit any family. From Thomas the Train to North Pole Santa Express, there is a train ride for every family. And if you are lucky enough to get away from the kiddos one night, there are even romantic dinner rides for a perfect date!
OTHER READING: Perfect Romantic Weekend in Chattanooga
Songbirds Guitar Museum
For music lovers, Songbirds Guitar Museum is a must! The museum has a stunning collection of rare and vintage guitars unlike any other. At Songbird, you can experience American history through a musical lens of amazing exhibits. Each exhibit includes the cultural and historical significance of the period. Exploring music history at Songbird is fun and educational. From gospel and blues to Motown and Rock n Roll, this museum brings to life the impact music has had. With over 300 classic American instruments, this is one place your family can explore history in a fun way.
Creative Discovery Museum
Chattanooga is home to one of the best children’s museums in the country. If you have younger children, you definitely want to make sure you spend some time at the Creative Discovery Museum. There are so many hands-on exhibits, art lessons, science experiments, and other traveling exhibits that will engage their curiosity and mind. This is one of the best things to do in Chattanooga with kids!
Moonpie General Store + Chattanooga Bakery
Moonpie General Store and Chattanooga Bakery hold a special place in Americana. So when you are ready for a sweet snack, stop by with the family! The bakery was founded in 1902 and was part of the Mountain City Milling Company. Moonpies come into play in 1919 when a bakery salesman set out to find a good snack for coal miners. What came from this? A statement of the working man’s lunch! In the 1930s, Moonpies were a staple in Southern lunches. Since then, they have been sent to troops overseas as a taste from home and are the official snack cake of NASCAR.
Hands down one of the best views, this is also one of the most fun things to do in Chattanooga with kids for family photos. Just keep in mind that if you have smaller children, there are no fences. If you have older kiddos and want to get some hiking in, check out the 1.5-mile trail from Cravens House to Sunset Rock.
Walnut Street Bridge
Walnut Street Bridge will lead you to amazing things to discover in town. It is the longest pedestrian bridge in the country which makes it one of those super fun things to do in Chattanooga with kids. It is also a great opportunity for a family photo!
Right by Walnut Street Bridge you will find Coolidge Park. This urban oasis is known for its interactive fountains that kids love! This splash pad is perfect to way to cool off during your day of exploration.
And if its a cold or rainy day out, fear not! Coolidge Park has an adorable indoor antique carousel that is perfect! This antique carousel was built in 1897, it has since been restored, providing you a nice indoor option for fun.
IMAX 3D Theater
One of my favorite things as a kid was going to see IMAX 3D movies. I remember the first one I saw was about Antarctica at the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis. It was one of the coolest experiences, ever, and I still remember how in awe I was. That was like 20 years ago, so I can only imagine how much technology has improved. My personal experiences aside, this is a great option for things to do in Chattanooga with kids on rainy days. It is right across from the Tennessee Aquarium making it an easy add on for a fun day.
OTHER READING: 4 Day Itinerary for a Family Weekend in Chattanooga
High Point Climbing and Fitness
This 30,000 square foot indoor and outdoor climbing center is so much fun! There are walls and sections for kids as young as three years old. This is a great option for days when the weather is less than ideal. It is also a great option for families that love being adventurous together.
Clumpies is a Chattanooga must. But be warned, in the summer the lines can be out the door and around the building. There are a few locations around town so keep an eye out in NorthShore, St. Elmo, as well as on Lookout Mountain. The flavors are amazing and I promise, your family will love it.
Lula Lake Land Trust
This is one of those things on our list of things to do in Chattanooga with kids where timing is crucial. The Lula Lake Land Trust is privately owned but opens to the public twice a month. There are two gorgeous waterfalls on the property and hiking to see them is easy.
If your trip is the first or last weekend of the month, I highly recommend spending some time out there! Make sure you pick up a map so you don’t get turned around! Tickets are free but there is a suggested $15 donation per car to help maintain the land.
I love the idea of teaching young ones about history and The Passage is a perfect way to introduce the kids to the Trail of Tears and Native history. This interactive memorial provides an easy way for families to talk about a really tragic and horrific part of American History.
The Passage marks the starting point of the Trail of Tears, the journey that forced the removal of the Cherokee tribes from Ross’ Landing in Chattanooga to Oklahoma. This horrific journey marks a dark part of history and about 4000 Cherokees died before reaching their new “home” in Oklahoma.
This outdoor memorial includes seven six-foot disks that tell the story of the seven clans of the Cherokee Nation and other elements of their culture. The most emotional part of the monument is the “weeping wall” that represents the pain and tears the Cherokee shed as they were pushed away from their homeland.
Raccoon Mountain Caverns
If you are a family of adventures looking to really explore, Raccoon Mountain Caverns is the perfect place. With 5.5 miles of discovered passages and one of the most geologically active caverns in the southern U.S, you are sure to have a memorable day. There are a number of different tour options too. From the kid-friendly “Crystal Palace Walking Tour” to the “Wild Cave Expedition” tours, this is one super cool way to spend the day!
There are so many great things to do in Chattanooga with kids that if you and your family haven’t been already, you should! From educational museums to fun outdoor activities your family will make memories that will last a lifetime.