Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Adventures in Chattanooga

We had many adventures in the HOT and HUMID weather!  We thought we may melt at times, but found lots to do to keep us all cool and happy.  We spent all our mornings with Todd, sightseeing or playing, and the afternoon was just the three of us exploring downtown.

Our hotel was a quick 10 minute walk from the famous Walnut Street Bridge...the LONGEST pedestrian bridge in the WORLD!  It was our pathway from downtown Chattanooga to the North Shore.  After about a 10 minute stroll across the Tennessee River, we cooled off at Coolidge Park.

Coolidge Park was very, very kid friendly...the kiddos played in the water fountain and climbed on the giant animals.  We had a packed lunch or dinner there a couple days and was able to stay COOL.  Allie ran right in and liked to stand in the middle where most of the water sprayed out.  Ayden also jumped right in.  He was even so brave to stick his face right in the fountain.

Another favorite attraction at Coolidge Park was the antique 100-year old carousel.  The kiddos rode on it a number of times during our trip.


We ventured out of the downtown area a couple times to Lookout Mountain.  We made our way to the top of the mountain via train on the steepest railway in the world at a breathtaking 72.7% grade.  We started at the bottom and rode round trip, up and then back down.  At the beginning of our ride, we were leaning more back than upright.  Towards the top of the mountain, we were almost falling forward out of our seats!  It was a STEEP ride!  Ayden was very happy with his fruit snacks and suckers for the 10 minute ride up.

We enjoyed the views at the look out points when we reached the top.  We also were able to see the gears in action pulling the train up and down the side of Lookout Mountain.

We ALL loved the Aquarium in Chattanooga...and it was around the corner from our convenient.  There were two separate buildings to venture through...the River Journey and Ocean Journey.  Along with all the unique fish, sharks and seahorses...we all had the opportunity to touch some fish, stingrays and even SHARKS!!  It was really cool.  Allie was very nervous to touch, but Ayden would have dove in and swam with the sharks if we would have let him.  Another cool thing was the peek-a-boo tanks where we could crawl up into the tank to get an up close view of some of the sea creatures.


At the aquarium plaza, the kiddos were able to cool off in the "river."  Allie and Ayden both liked to walk and climb on the rocks and splash in the water.  Some days the kids played in their clothes (or diaper) and other times we wore our suits.

Also by the aquarium were the water stairs...they were so fun!  Ayden spent most of his time walking up and down as the water rushed across his little feet.  Allie found a friend or two to hang out with.  Ayden wanted Allie to hold his hand (not Momma's) when he walked up and down. He would often yell for her..."AAAAlllliieee!"  They played a bit sweet.



I was very surprised to discover that MOON PIES were originated in Chattanooga!  Who knew?!?  I grew up on Moon Pies.  It must be a southern thing.  Downtown we strolled past the one and only Moon Pie store.  It was filled with Moon Pie paraphernalia, all different kinds of Moon Pies, and even Moon Pie ice cream and milkshakes!  Allie and Ayden both discovered they too like Moon Pies.  Allie's favorite was lemon and salted caramel.  Ayden liked banana the best (I think) and I had a few too many banana ice cream Moon Pie sandwiches.  Delish!!!

We toured the city (and the river) on the Chattanooga Duck Boats for Todd's birthday.  His birthday happen to fall during our trip.  We took the first boat out at 10:00 am...but it was still miserably HOT!  Ayden and Allie sat very well for the hour tour on the Tennessee River.  Jelly beans made the littles very happy.  An air conditioner might have made everyone happy.  We were so very, very HOT!

Our tour started on land...then continued ON the Tennessee river.  The highlight of the tour was entering the river (of course).  And Captain Allie even had the opportunity to drive us!  She did a great job and kept us afloat.

The last two days of our trip were spent at the Children's Museum right next door to our hotel.  The museum was HUGE and there were so many fun things to keep the littles busy, busy, busy!  There was a giant indoor play structure with a wet and wild water area, a doctor's office with all kinds of doctor tools, a music room to play any instrument you'd ever dream of, a dinosaur room to dig for dino bones, the bee alley where we saw REAL BEES in their hives making honey, a playhouse with the best little kitchen and garden, and a super tall tower to climb to get a view of downtown.

This year the feature of the summer was Thomas the Train.  There was an area dedicated to Thomas and his friends.  Allie and Ayden liked making Percy chug by adding coal and water to his engine.  Allie spent hours at the GIANT train table.  The museum was a favorite place for the littles so we decided to go back for a second day.




Our impromptu Chattanooga vacation was a wonderful addition to our summer travels.  We added one more destination to our family list of travels.  I'm so thankful I have the summers off and we can all pick up and go when Todd is called away from home.  We are looking forward to our next surprise vacation...wherever and whenever that might be.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Rock City

Our first adventure in Chattanooga was Rock City on the top of Lookout Mountain.  Rock City is basically just that!  A city made of rocks.

Rocky was there to greet us before we started our adventure.  Allie asked if she could take her picture with Rocky...Ayden wanted nothing to do with him!

We followed the enchanted trail...

...across the Swing-A-Long Bridge...

...past the 100 foot waterfall to Lover's Leap at the top of Lookout Mountain.

Rock City was supposedly built by Gnomes...we spotted them ALL throughout the trail.  At 1700 feet above sea can see pretty far...SEVEN states to be exact.  Ayden got out of the carrier and ran around a bit.  It was really HOT up there.

We enjoyed some lunch up there and the kiddos cooled off with a little treat before we finished our travels through Rock City.

The Fat Man's Squeeze was a pretty tight spot to walk through.  Ayden was on my back and I had to make sure we both fit through.  Allie said her favorite part was the Fairyland Caverns.  She recognized many fairytales there were displayed in the mountain caverns. 

Rock City was a really neat place see.  I'm so glad we all got to experience this magical place together.  It was a great start to our trip!