School is out, shorts and tank tops are donned, and a thin glaze of yellow is covering every surface in the city. This can only mean one thing: Summer has finally come to the Tennessee Valley!
Soon the choruses of, “I’m bored!” will grace the ears of moms and dads all across Chattanooga. What’s a parent to do? No worries, we’ve come up with 10 things to do in Chattanooga for under $10! Summer fun doesn’t have to break the bank. See for yourself!
1. Coolidge Park
- Bring a picnic lunch (take advantage of the many grills placed throughout the park!), a blanket, and have a nice lunch outside.
- When the kiddos get a little too warm, send them over to the fountains to cool off and frolic!
- Take a ride on the carousel. It was originally built in 1894 and restored many years later to the state in which it is today. It boasts 52 beautiful, hand-carved animals and a calliope organ.
- Seek out one of the many shaved ice trucks that are usually stationed near the parking lots. You can definitely score a small cup for about $1.50. The carousel is open year-round, with special summertime hours (see below).
Monday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1:00 to 6:30 p.m.
FREE kids 2 and under
$1.00 for ages 2 and up.
Prices are good for one ride on the carousel.
2. Tennessee Aquarium
You may not think “free” when you think of an attraction like the Tennessee Aquarium, but one of the coolest parts of the design of the building is the area surrounding it.
- Let your kids splash and play all around the aquarium in the little “rivers” and on the “waterfall steps”.
- After your little fish have had their fill of water play, grab a cold treat – there are usually vendors set up near the exit of the building with Dippin’ Dots (which are usually around $3.75 for a small cup) and other refreshments!
3. Chattanooga Choo Choo
Model Railroad Museum
If your little one is a train lover, they undoubtedly get a huge kick out of seeing the big trains at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. But did you know that inside, there is a model train museum? Some features of the train museum include:
- A miniature model of Chattanooga and the Cumberland Mountain country.
- A self-guided tour, allowing you to take in all 174 feet of length and 33 feet of width (widest point) at your leisure.
- Older kids and history buffs alike will revel in learning the history of Chattanooga trains.
Sunday – Friday 1:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Saturday 10:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M.
$3.00 ages 3-12
$5.00 ages 12 and up
4. Chester Frost Park
- Have a picnic (they have grills for cooking out).
- Play on the playground.
- Bring beach toys and swimsuits, and let the kids play in the sand and go for a swim!
- There are plenty of shady trees for lounging under with a great book, and a ton of grassy and sandy space for the kids to run and play.
5. First Things First Movies in the Park
Each summer season for the past 12 years, First Things First has presented Movies in the Park. “The Park” is Coolidge Park and the movies… Well, those are pretty self-explanatory.
- For its 2014 season, Movies in the Park brings a new family-friendly movie to an outdoor screen in Coolidge Park every Saturday in July beginning July 6th, 2014.
- Pack up some snacks, blankets, and lawn chairs. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!
July 12th, July 19th, July 26th from 8:30 P.M. – 11:00 P.M.
6. Nightfall Concert Series
Nightfall is a free summer concert series that takes place every Friday night from May 2nd through August 29th beginning at 7:00 P.M.
- The environment is very fun, energetic, and best of all both child and pet friendly!
- Kids will love dancing the night away to awesome live music, and will get a kick out of seeing all of the motorcycles parked along Market Street.
- Snag some shaved ice or a cold drink at one of the nearby vendor booths.
- Enjoy the many acts in the 2014 lineup; including Lydia Loveless, London Souls, or local band Decibella!
7. The Chattanooga Lookouts
For a fun and affordable night out, try the Chattanooga Lookouts!
- Kids will delight in the fun of watching the baseball game, as well as the funny characters that often make appearances in between innings.
- Family seating is available in the First Tennessee Family Section (no beer allowed).
- Have your little ones join the Little Lookouts – they have two levels of membership and one of them is free! With the free membership, children receive a membership card, admission to all Sunday games, and a post-game autograph session with players and coaches on August 11th.
Vary by game, check here for a schedule
Price (varies by seat):
$3.00 – $9.00 children 7-12
$5.00 – $9.00 12 and up
$3.00 – $9.00 seniors (55 and up)
8. Warner Park Outdoor Pool and Spray Park
- The spray park has features that squirt, spray, rain, and sprinkle as well as a large, floating obstacle course over the deep end of the pool!
- In addition to open play time, the pool offers Teen Nights, Family Nights, swimming lessons, and more.
Both pool and spray park are open daily from 12:30 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.,
Spray Park hours continue Monday – Thursday from 5:15 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.
FREE for children ages 2 and under
$2.00 children ages 3-13
$3.00 ages 14 and over
9. The Chattanooga Zoo
Take your wild things to the Chattanooga Zoo and let them monkey around for an afternoon (get it? Monkey around?)!
- Take a camel ride, peek at a parrot, chat with a chimpanzee, or get silly with the spider monkeys!
- The zoo has a ton of great exhibits, a petting zoo, and even a small carousel (additional fees apply for carousel rides).
Check this out – Local Fare has a great deal for the Chattanooga Zoo right now:
10% off the price of a family zoo membership
Daily from 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
FREE children ages 2 and under
$5.95 children ages 3-12
$8.95 ages 12 and up
$6.95 seniors (65 and up)
10. The Pumpkin Patch
Last but certainly not least on our list is the Pumpkin Patch playground on Signal Mountain. If you haven’t been to the Pumpkin Patch, you are missing out! This playground is seriously awesome, and is one of the most unique play places you will find in Chattanooga.
- Even when the temperatures are blazing, playtime is comfortable at the Patch thanks to the fact that the playground is nestled in the woods and offers plenty of shade.
- Kids will love the multitude of slides, and there is even a gigantic one that parents will get a thrill from!
- The Pumpkin Patch has bridges to romp across, tire-towers to climb, sandboxes to play in, and each section of the playground has a design and name that is inspired by Chattanooga landmarks and features.
- There are plenty of picnic tables and a pavilion with restrooms, so pack up a lunch and spend the afternoon playing at the Pumpkin Patch!