Penguins in the Tennessee Aquarium double as dancers. Photo by Christine Tibbetts, Blended Family TravelingMom

Penguins in the Tennessee Aquarium double as dancers. Photo by Christine Tibbetts, Blended Family TravelingMom

Join the kids on spring break. Chattanooga designed a family friendly version of the legendary revelry and theirs is right for children, grandparents and every age in between.

I checked out 14 family travel options in this city of mountains on the Tennessee River. Chattanooga calls this Spring Break Safari.

First: Download the booklet  about special events and prizes from Mar. 14 – Apr. 19.

This is a scavenger hunt too with clues. The kids can take photos as answers, show them at each location and receive a small prize.

At the Hunter Museum of American Art, that translates to a little box of watercolor paints.

Chattanooga icons like See Rock City might make families think “Been there, done that,” but the Spring Break Safari propelled me to look in new ways, outside the admission gates and inside, for the complete adventures.

Hobby and Career Adventures

Each Chattanooga location allows kids to consider themselves as site-specific career or hobby specialists — Art Explorer, Conductor, Human Abilities Inventor, Rock Climber and more.

The Creative Discovery Museum invites children to engages in all sorts of art and science. Photo by Christine Tibbetts, BlendedFamily TravelingMom

The Creative Discovery Museum invites children to engage in all sorts of art and science. Photo by Christine Tibbetts, BlendedFamily TravelingMom

Here are some of the 14 options for a diverse and interesting family spring break:

  • Creative Discovery Museum Gives new meaning to Albert Einstein’s declaration that play is the highest form of research. Engaging interactive science, art, cooking, research truly designed for every age.
  • Tennesse Aquarium Two buildings, an IMAX theater and a River Gorge Explorer boat. Kids become High-Tech Animal Trackers here during Spring Break Safari
  • Ruby Falls Caves can be visited but none like this one 1,100 feet inside Lookout Mountain. Most cave options are big rooms but this provides a meandering path to a 45-foot waterfall. On top is a Zipstream adventure, zipline with 30 features.
  • High Point Climbing feels more like a business than a natural wonder but wonderful it is right in the middle of downtown Chattanooga. Even little babies were playing, and preschoolers and tweens all safely outfitted, trained and supervised for high adventure.
  • Rock City Gardens adds special ticketed event options to their Spring Break Safari: a Sword Fighting Academy, High Tea with Alice in Wonderland and Fairy Tale Nights.
  • Chattanooga Zoo Outside the gate is a carousel with 30 animals, all rare and endangered species, each hand-carved. Inside are red pandas, cottontop tamarins, a coati, a red hyrax plus buffalo, monkeys, camels and more.
  • Tennessee Valley Railroad Perfect short ride to introduce the kids to train travel, watch an engine turned on the roundtable and peer into a massive train restoration workshop. 55 minutes on the Missionary Ridge Local.
The Chattanooga Choo Choo invites play, and the Tennessee Valley Railroad provides rides. Photo by Christine Tibbetts, Blended Family TravelingMom

The Chattanooga Choo Choo invites play, and the Tennessee Valley Railroad provides rides. Photo by Christine Tibbetts, Blended Family TravelingMom

 

Scavenger Hunt Clues Can Be Silly

Some scavenger hunt questions will require careful looking but not all. Like this: “When is it OK for a train to run over a car?” (As the train crosses a bridge.)

Be ready for clever technology when you get to the Aquarium; after all the electric eel living here has his own Twitter account (@ElectricMiguel).

Rock City Gardens celebrate fairytales all year, with special events during Spring Break Safari. Photo by Christine Tibbetts, Blended Family TravelingMom

Rock City Gardens celebrate fairytales all year, with special events during Spring Break Safari. Photo by Christine Tibbetts, Blended Family TravelingMom

Encourage the kids to explore a career concept in all 14 places; Ruby Falls required a new vocabulary word for me—speleologist. Seems spelunkers explore caves, belly crawling required. Speleologists are cave scholars