Looking for a quick trip with the family before school starts back? Short road trips that won’t break the pre-back to school bank are the way to go! We recently had the privilege of checking out the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park on behalf of Chattanooga Mom’s Blog and think it’s the perfect destination for your last minute adventures.
Knoxville is somewhere we’ve obviously been before, either when passing through to get to the Smoky Mountains, or as a day trip for a Vols football game. I’ll admit though, it’s never been a place I thought of for a family weekend away. We found tons of activities, yummy food, and sites to see –lots within a short walk from the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park!
We drove up on a Friday afternoon and were greeted by the super friendly staff of the hotel. They offered several recommendations on what to see, where to go, and what to eat. After checking out our (very roomy!) accommodations, we took a short walk to Market Square. There we enjoyed street performers, the fountains, a casual dinner, and dessert before heading back to the hotel for some much needed downtime. I am generally a real stickler for cleanliness in hotels, and I couldn’t find a single thing to complain about in this department. The building has been well kept and nicely updated. The efforts that they have gone to be environmentally friendly are impressive as well (in order to activate the lights and adjust the thermostat, a room key must be inserted, thus saving energy when no one is around!).
After a few hours of sleep (toddlers, man), C and I went to breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, Windows on the Park while daddy caught a few extra snoozes. The breakfast buffet was casual, but delicious, including eggs, waffles, bacon, fresh fruit and yogurt. After a bite there, we decided to check out the coffee shop across the hall, Fair Grounds. I had a latte, on par with my daily routine at home, and C had a strawberry banana smoothie that he slurped right down!
Next we ventured to Zoo Knoxville (a quick 5-10 minute drive from Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park). If you guys haven’t been, you must check it out. Chattanooga Zoo members get half price tickets, and it’s definitely worth the trip. Feeding the giraffes was C’s favorite by far, but I’m sure he would have LOVED the splash pad if he hadn’t conveniently been looking the other direction when we passed by (don’t be like me; be a good mom, be prepared.)
After a few hours of exploring the zoo, we headed back to explore what the Holiday Inn boasts to be “the best back yard in Knoxville.” World’s Fair Park was the place to be when we visited, and I feel pretty confident that their schedule stays full. There is a playground and some HUGE chlorinated fountains on one side of the park. Open green ways make up the rest of the park. When we were visiting, the Bark in the Park and Big Kahuna Wing festivals were in full swing. Luckily for me, pregnancy cravings (or maybe more appropriately, aversions) lined up and we ate wings while C snoozed in the stroller until we couldn’t stand the heat any longer. Before dinner we took a dip in the refreshing indoor pool at the hotel (surprisingly not stuffy and humid like most indoor pools) — probably C’s favorite activity of the whole weekend.
Dinner at Windows on the Park was delicious. After being in the heat all day, no one was ready for a super heavy meal, but we had a little taste of many items on the menu. My favorite was the tomato basil bisque, and Lee enjoyed the Reuben while C devoured some mac and cheese. They had a nice craft and local beer selection (you’ll have to ask Lee about that), and the wine list was quite tempting. We were served a most delicious dessert by the chef himself — think chocolate ganache, Benton’s bacon, bourbon, and creamy dreaminess all in one…I’m still salivating over that one.
We headed back early Sunday morning for Cousin E’s baptism. As difficult as it is to drag our little family out in the morning, Holiday Inn made check out a breeze. Too bad they couldn’t have helped Lee pack…maybe he wouldn’t have left his cell phone and realized 20 miles down the road.
Our little trip to Knoxville was so enjoyable, we’ve added it to our list of getaways, along with Atlanta and Nashville. Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park seems to be the best option for accommodations — kiddo friendly and right in the middle of everything, to boot. I’m sure they’d love to see some of our readers, so let them know CMB sent you!
Disclosure: I received two nights’ accommodations and some delicious meals in exchange for this review, however, all opinions and thoughts are my own.