Monday, May 20, 2013

On the Road Again

A couple of weeks ago, Jason and I decided we needed to get out of town for a couple of days and debated about where to go.  It didn't take long to pick Chattanooga for its close proximity to Nashville (two hours!) and long list of family-friendly activities.  

We hit the road early Saturday morning and gave Sophie her first taste of a feature-length movie (Happy Feet - the perfect length for the drive, a happy accident!) so we had a pretty easy drive.  Our first stop was the Tennessee Aquarium, and we knew after talking to some seasoned veterans that the lines can be long, but there are kiosks outside the main box office that offer expedited ticket-buying, so that's what we did.  

Happy Feet!
There are two buildings that make up the Tennessee Aquarium, the River Journey and the Ocean Journey.  We started with the River Journey and spent about an hour walking through those exhibits.  After a couple of hours in the car, Sophie was more excited about running around than looking at the exhibits, but they were really impressive.  There is an IMAX theater on the campus and, between exhibits, we took in a 45-minute film called "Born to be Wild," about orphaned orangutans and elephants, narrated by Morgan Freeman.  Not a dry eye in the group!  

After the IMAX, we headed to Cheeburger for lunch, on the recommendation of some friends with young kids, and it didn't disappoint.  They had lots of veggie options and the kids meals were affordable and came to the table in cute car cut-out boxes.  

Next up was the Ocean Journey, and we all easily picked it as our favorite building.  Penguins, sharks, stingray, jellyfish, seahorses, salt water fish... so many fun things to look at and touch!

We weren't sure where to stay when we planned our trip, and we found a great rate at the Marriott downtown.  However, if we went back, we would consider staying at one of the properties just outside the Aquarium for convenience because there is so much to do in that area and it's really walkable.  We were happy with our hotel, though, and it was just a couple of minutes from everything.   

Since it was Derby weekend, we made sure we were back at the hotel with plenty of time to hit the pool with Sophie and watch the race before heading out to our favorite restaurant in Chattanooga, The Boathouse! We'd been going all day long and Sophie was a trouper without a nap, but she hit the wall toward the end of dinner, announcing "I wanna go night-night now." Can't argue with that!  

We planned to visit Ruby Falls on Sunday before heading back to Nashville, but it was closed due to flooding - something we understand rarely happens.  So, we visited See Rock City instead.  We had the best time!  Sophie loved all the nooks and crannies, bridges, and rock climbing wall.  Overall, lots of fun if your kids are old enough to walk or young enough to be in a sling or carrier, but not stroller-friendly.  

One last stop before heading home was Terminal Brewhouse for lunch, and it was really kid- and adult-friendly!  Probably not a great place to take your kids at night, but perfect for lunchtime.     

We didn't have nearly enough time to do everything people recommended, so a return trip is definitely in the works so we can check out the Creative Discovery Museum, Incline Railway, Ruby Falls, and more outdoor attractions.  It was the perfect getaway and we had such a good time.  

On another note, this is National Vegetarian Week, so if you've thought about trying some new vegetarian recipes, maybe this is the week to give them a shot.  Have a great week!


No comments:

Post a Comment