Two of the most fearful words in a parent’s language – school’s out! And to top it off, school is out for an entire week! What?! But, this spring break, don’t let fear instantly creep into your mind. Instead, take advantage of the opportunities around our great Chattanooga area if you decide to stay-cate this spring break. There is PLENTY to do!
Spring Break in Chattanooga
Living in Chattanooga, TN, truly is a blessing. Mountains, the river, caves, fountains, carousels, and much more are located right here in our amazing hometown. The sad part is we rarely have a moment to stop and enjoy them because we are too busy keeping up with work, school, after-school activities, dinner, homework…the list goes on and on. However, remember that week you were just freaking out about? Yeah, the “spring break” one? Well, here is your chance to enjoy all that Chattanooga has to offer since the kids are out on break for ONE week!
Now, all you have to do is decide where to begin!
You Don’t Have to Leave Town to Go on a Safari
Nope! All you need to do is live in or around the Chattanooga area – and you do! For the last several years, multiple attractions have come together to provide a great adventure in the “Chattanooga Spring Break Safari & Scavenger Hunt.” For 2017, the event will be held from March 10 – April 9, and you and your family can participate at any time. All you need to do is either download a guide or pick up one at any of the participating locations. Then, use the guide to explore the new places, find the answers to questions, and snap some pictures of your family at the locations. Share these pictures with an attendant, and receive a prize at each location!
The participating places are:
• Bluff View Art District
• Chattanooga Zoo
• Chattanooga/NorthShore District
• Chattanooga/Riverfront District
• Creative Discovery Museum
• Hunter Museum of American Art
• Rock City
• Ruby Falls
• Southern Belle Riverboat
• Tennessee Aquarium
• Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
Take a Break from “Spring Break”!
There is going to be a time where you want to rest your feet from a busy day touring around downtown Chattanooga. Fortunately, downtown has tons of hotels, including the historic Chattanooga Choo-Choo, which is very near the Main Street area. Within easy walking distance from there, you can visit Niedlov’s for pastries and coffee, Bluegrass Grill for a breakfast to die for, or Alleia for a knock-your-socks-off Italian dinner (if your kids are older/teens).
I love the location of the Courtyard by Marriott, which is next door to the Creative Discovery Museum and down the street from the Aquarium, with AT&T Field, where Chattanooga’s minor-league baseball team plays, in its backyard. For lunch, walk toward the river and you will find The Blue Plate, a kid-friendly diner-type restaurant with excellent burgers, chips, and fried green tomatoes, as well as other Southern favorites. It’s not far to Big River Grille, either, a local favorite with American favorites with a twist — like my favorite Hazelnut-Crusted Chicken with sun-dried cherry sauce.
Exploring the Great Outdoors
Weather permitting, the months of March and April are usually the best time to find an outdoor spot to enjoy in Chattanooga.
Here are some ideas for getting fresh air while taking it what the Scenic City has to offer:
Stroll or bike along the Riverwalk. The ten-mile long concrete path goes all the way from the Chickamauga Dam to downtown Chattanooga, near Ross’s Landing. Pick a stretch and take a walk. The section at 4301 Amnicola Highway also has a big playground, picnic shelters with grills, and plenty of green space for running around. (Just a note that if you brought your family pet along with you, no dogs are allowed on most parts of the Riverwalk.)
Take in a Lookouts game. And not just any game, but opening day! On Thursday, April 6, the Lookouts’ season begins at AT&T field against the Mobile BayBears. Then, the minor-league baseball team will play home games April 17-26. Tickets are $3-9 for individuals and can be purchased online or at the field.
Check out a local playground. Chattanooga is filled with wonderful play structures, including many at Vandergriff Park in Hixson, the Pumpkin Patch on Signal Mountain, and Riverview Park near downtown. A listing of all local park facilities can be seen on the Chattanooga government site.
Of course, many of the attractions on the Spring Break Safari are outdoors as well: exploring neighborhoods, Rock City, the zoo, and more.
When Weather Is the Enemy
Eat waffles of insane greatness at Aretha Frankenstein’s, a well-known Chattanooga establishment. This is a must, if I say-so myself!
Run around the Creative Discovery Museum or Tennessee Aquarium; or take a more polite walk inside the Hunter Museum or the International Towing & Recovery Museum. Stretch some muscles by climbing at High Point or bouncing at The Jump Park or Superfly Extreme.
Or, if you are feeling adventurous, book a game at Breakout Chattanooga! See how fast you can solve mysteries in order to beat the 60-minute deadline to escape.
Chattanooga Events from March 13 to April 17
“National Geographic’s Monster Fish: In Search of the Last River Giants” continues until April 27th at the Tennessee Aquarium.
Dreams come to life at Rock City’s newest spring event, Fairytale Nights! Starting March 24th and ending April 16th, don’t miss this chance to follow Jack as he ventures off the beanstalk or help Little Red Riding Hood avoid the Big Bad Wolf!
Rock City’s Shamrock City Irish festival is included with regular admission March 11 and 12 and March 18 and 19.
We all need a hug some times, and bunnies are no exception. Fun for all ages, Hug-a-Bunny Day is a spring celebration at the Chattanooga Zoo on April 14th and 15th. Included with admission, participants can also do crafts, meet characters, and pet lots of sweet bunnies!
The Easter Bunny Train departs from Grand Junction at various times throughout the day from April 1st to April 15th. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s ride features a bunny trail to meet the Easter Bunny, storytelling, coloring pages, games, goody bags, and more!
The Easter Bunny Breakfast or Lunch Cruise on the Southern Belle Riverboat is April 15th at 9:30am or April 16th at 1pm. Tickets include a delicious meal, a visit with the Easter bunny, live entertainment, and more.