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Kid-friendly activities in Chattanooga

We’re highlighting the best kid-friendly activities that Chattanooga, TN has to offer — complete with art classes, animal encounters, and outdoor fun.

NOOGAtoday | Rock City

Rock City is celebrating 90 years of serving families + visitors.

Photo provided by Rock City Gardens

Table of Contents

We’re not kiddin’ around. From major attractions like the Tennessee Aquarium to hidden gems like the Duck Boat tour, there’s something in the Scenic City for children of all ages.

You’ll have no trouble entertaining the youngsters with this list of 26 kid-friendly activities.

NOOGAtoday | Creative Discovery Museum

Kiddos can create their own works of art in CDM’s ArtSpace exhibit.

Photo by NOOGAtoday

🎨 All about the arts

Creative Discovery Museum, 321 Chestnut St. | 🎟️ Family memberships available
Kiddos can explore immersive, hands-on activities. Kids will remember the Tennessee RiverPlay exhibit.

Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View Ave. | 🎟️ Children receive free admission
Come out to the museum’s Sunday Studio + Throwback Thursday events for interactive games, activities, live music, and more. Kids will remember making art alongside prolific works of art.

Scenic City Clay Arts, 1271 Market St.
Roll up your sleeves and make a clay project to take home — check out the youth and family classes or sign up for summer camp. Kids will remember getting messy in the studio.

Chattanooga Public Library, various locations | 🎟️ Free admission with library card
Check out the library’s event page for weekly kid + teen activities like art therapy, Full Steam Ahead, Teen Fandom, and more. Kids will remember that having fun isn’t hard when you have a library card.

Chattanooga Theatre Center, 400 River St.
Whether your child wants to be a performer or an audience member, CTC has seasonal youth productions your child can enjoy — the next one is “Finding Nemo, Jr.” Kids will remember the laughs from the crowd.

SPLASH Youth Arts Workshop, 1200 Grove St.
SPLASH offers free year-round art workshops for urban youth in the Chattanooga area + a huge youth arts festival in the summer. Kids will remember creating art in a safe space.

NOOGAtoday | Reflection Riding

Explore Chattanooga’s native plant and widlife at Reflection Riding.

Photo by NOOGAtoday

🌳 Great outdoors

Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, 400 Garden Rd. | 🎟️ Family memberships available
Take the kiddos to Reflection Riding for educational activities while out in nature. Summer camp sign-ups are also open to members. Kids will remember meeting the center’s birds of prey.

Outdoor Chattanooga, 200 River St.
With countless programs, family-oriented events, workshops, and more, your kids will get to interact with the outdoors. Kids will remember climbing up the Walnut Wall (located in Coolidge Park).

Audubon Acres, 900 N. Sanctuary Rd. | 🎟️ Family memberships available
Kids can participate in educational programs that highlight local nature and wildlife, go on guided hikes, get in the water to explore the ecosystem, and more. Kids will remember identifying local wildlife.

Southern Belle Riverboat, 151 Riverfront Pkwy.
Kids can join in on the fun while taking a sightseeing cruise along the Tennessee River. Kids will remember eating at the dinner buffet while listening to some history of the surrounding area.

Lula Lake Land Trust, 5000 Lula Lake Rd.
Head to Lula Lake on one of the Public Access Days for guided hikes, biking trails, and learning about conservation efforts. Kids will remember hiking to the beautiful waterfall.

NOOGAtoday | Aquarium lemurs

Spend the afternoon with the aquarium’s furry and finned friends.

Photo by Doug Strickland via Tennessee Aquarium

🦁 Animal encounters

Chattanooga Zoo, 301 N. Holtzclaw Ave. | 🎟️ Family memberships available
See the zoo’s residents, join in on educational opportunities like the “Kits & Cubs” program, or sign up for one of the zoo camps. Kids will remember Paxton the alpaca.

Tennessee Aquarium, 1 Broad St. | 🎟️ Family memberships available
Spend the day with the penguins and river otters in the aquarium’s River Journey and Ocean Journey buildings. Kids will remember the butterfly garden.

Rock City Gardens, 1400 Patten Rd.
Visit Rock City’s raptors for a birds of prey show while you explore the rest of the gardens, caves, and trails. Kids will remember getting up close to falcons, owls, and eagles.

Naughty Cat Cafe, 3742 Tennessee Ave.
Kiddos 11+ can spend some time with over 30 adoptable cats. Kids will remember cuddling up and playing with adorable cats.

🧠 Educational activities

Tennessee Valley Railroad, 4119 Cromwell Rd. | 🎟️ Family annual passes available
Visit the museum or take one of the many themed train rides available. Kids will remember eating dinner while traveling through the Tennessee Valley.

Chattanooga Duck Boat Tour, 151 Riverfront Pkwy.
Take a narrated tour on land and water while learning about the authentic WWII Duck Boat and Chattanooga’s history. Kids will remember plunging into the Tennessee River.

Chickamauga & Chattanooga Military Park, 110 Point Park Rd.
Learn Civil War history and about local military landmarks during ranger-guided programs. Kids can also hike or run the nearby trails, paddle in the waterways, volunteer at the park, and more. Kids will remember seeing the historical cannons.

Songbirds Museum, 206 W. Main St.
Learn about the history of music in Chattanooga + influential artists at this interactive museum. Kids will remember trying out the interactive machinery and guitars.

National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, 2 W. Aquarium Way | 🎟️ Family membership available
Learn about the history of the Medal of Honor + those who have received the award — especially those with ties to Chattanooga. Kids will remember the interactive maps and directories.


See a screening of “Blue Whales: Return of the Giants 3D” at the IMAX.

Photo by Phillip Colla provided by the Tennessee Aquarium

🎳 Indoor adventures

IMAX Theater, 201 Chestnut St.
Check out the Tennessee Aquarium’s nature + educational films, or watch some of your favorite upcoming films. Kids will remember seeing their favorite sea creatures and animals on the big screen.

Chattanooga Pinball Museum, 409 Broad St.
Admission allows you to have unlimited play on all the operating games + machines while learning about their history. Kids will remember the museum’s huge pinball machine collection — there are well over 50.

Spare Time Chattanooga, 5518 Brainerd Rd.
Hit the lanes for bowling, play a game of laser tag, choose from tons of arcade games, or try out an escape room. Kids will remember classic games like Skee-Ball to the latest virtual reality games.

🎢 Thrill-seeking fun

High Point Climbing & Fitness, 219 Broad St.
Head to the Kid Zone for climbing walls and features with auto belays + top routes. Kids 5-14 can also participate in rock climbing camps. Kids will remember jumping from building to building at the tower jump.

Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, 3917 St. Elmo Ave.
If you’re willing to brace the heights, the incline is one of Lookout Mountain’s most popular attractions. Kids will remember the views of the city from the very top of the railway.

Ruby Falls, 1720 S. Scenic Hwy.
Journey down below the surface for cave adventures + for children ages 5+, make it even more exciting by taking a Lantern Tour. Head above ground for High Point ZIP adventures through the mountains. Kids will remember climbing up the 40-ft tower.

🧃 Be prepared

Shop some of our favorite kid-friendly essentials to keep the whole family happy, hydrated, and ready to make memories.

  • Owala Kids Insulated Stainless Steel Tumbler | This tumbler has a spill-resistant straw (yes, that’s a thing) and is top-rack dishwasher safe.
  • Bentgo Kids 5-Compartment Lunch Box | Pack snacks for kids in a popular Bentgo box that’s BPA-free and dishwasher safe.
  • Nintendo Switch | You just can’t beat a handheld gaming device for keeping kids quiet, happy, and entertained during car rides around town.
  • Hap Tim Travel Backpack | Keep everything in a backpack that’s got good padding on the straps, plenty of compartments, a wide mouth opening, and a rain-resistant exterior.
  • Kids sketch pad | Kids can sketch, take notes, and feel connected to their adventures with a sketchbook meant to inspire creativity.
  • Disposable cameras | Kids will have a ton of fun + stay entertained by taking their own pictures of what they see during your adventures.
  • KeepGoing Travel First Aid Kit for Kids | Be prepared for minor scrapes or bruises that could slow your day down — this kit contains 60 pieces of essential first aid supplies.
  • Sunscreen stick | Have a portable sunscreen stick handy for outdoor adventures.
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