Chattanooga is a fascinating place of many faces. It exists at the crossroads of past, present and future, at the vanguard of science and culture. Chattanooga will challenge, amuse, entertain and enrich your world.
Chattanooga is well known for The Chattanooga Choo Choo. The Chattanooga Choo Choo is a train, a song, and a 24 acre hospitality and entertainment complex centered in historic Terminal Station. Chattanooga originally rose to prominence primarily because of its role as a transportation hub. By the 1960s, rail travel was superseded by the convenience of automobile and air travel, and in August 1970, the last train rolled through Terminal Station. Thanks to forward-looking community investors, however, the Station has been redeveloped as a hotel, shopping, restaurant, entertainment complex, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
The Tennessee Aquarium has been listed as one of the top aquariums in the country by TripAdvisor. Boasting a giant IMAX theatre, and installations detailing ecosystems as diverse as an Appalachian mountaintop and coral reefs, the Aquarium will become a favorite stop, one you will return to again and again over the years.
Similarly, the Chattanooga Zoo will entertain, but also endeavor to educate. Boasting several internationally-themed exhibits, the Zoo takes seriously its mandate to house its animals as humanely and authentically as possible. Visitors to the Zoo will marvel at such incredible animals as snow leopards, cougars and red pandas, and come away with a new desire to preserve the natural world we share with all creatures.
It is perhaps ironic that the most seemingly tragic events can contain within them the seeds of inspired greatness. As the world watched the Challenger shuttle disintegrate in January 1986, few could have imagined that non-profit Challenger Centers would one day inspire students in their thousands to explore the exciting worlds of math, science and technology. Like similar Centers nationwide, the Challenger Center at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is a living testimony to the dream of the Challenger Crew to continually extend the boundaries of human knowledge.
The Creative Discovery Museum could be said to be dedicated to the proposition that the best learning comes at the tips of our fingers. The Museum encourages children and the similarly young-at-heart to get down and dirty in their many and varied exhibits and activities.
Chattanooga was known as “the gateway to the deep south” and played a key strategic role in the Civil War. In 1890 the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park was established to preserve and commemorate the battlefields around Chattanooga. The Battles for Chattanooga Electric Map and Museum displays a spectacular three-dimensional electronic map detailing the crucial battles of Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain, battles that effectively spelled the beginning of the end of the Confederacy.
The Chattanooga History Center is dedicated to the mission of keeping alive the deep historic links between people, land and the river. Hosting a wide collection of artifacts, the Center also runs tours exposing visitors to the mysteries, glories and tragedies of the local past.
The Chattanooga National Cemetery was established after the decisive battle of Lookout Mountain, and by 1870 held the remains of over 13,000 deceased soldiers. Interestingly, the interred include 78 German POWs from the Second World War.
Additional places you will want to visit include:
Have you ever been on a train ride? Don't miss traveling back in time to Missionary Ridge or Chickamauga, GA on the Tennessee Valley Railroad. While traveling by railway, you can enjoy dinner on board a restored 1924 dining car.
The Incline Railway is another site you don't want to miss. Known as one of Chattanooga's most unique attractions since 1895, the Incline Railway is the steepest passanger railway in the world. The trolley-style railcar will carry you to breathtaking views over Lookout Mountain via a 72.7% grade of track. Atop Lookout Mountain you will have the opportunity to view points of Civil War interest and gift shops.
Exploring the Tennessee River on the famous and historic Chattanooga Riverboat is a must-do for your list. The Chattanooga Riverboat, known as the Southern Belle, provides daytime sightseeing tours, lunch cruises, and sunset dinner cruises. The RiverBoat is perfect for a romantic dinner for two or sightseeing with the family.
Perhaps your taste extends more to the cosmopolitan pleasures of the senses. The Bluff View Art District is a gastronomic treasure house perched on limestone bluffs above the river with a tremendous view over the city. After a lunch of handmade pasta and impeccably prepared locally grown produce, take a stroll to the Hunter Museum of American Art. The Museum’s collection is housed in a colonial era mansion and adjoining contemporary building and is widely acknowledged as one of the finest in the country.
Rumour has it that some good whisky comes out of Tennessee. You might want to take a couple tours and see for yourself. The George A. Dickel Distillery and Jack Daniels is located just a 1 1/2 hours north of Chattanooga.
Also, just a short drive North of Chattanooga is the Mayfield Dairy Farm and The Lost Sea. At Mayfield, you can take tours of the dairy and see how some of your favorite Mayfield products are made. Don't forget to sample the ice cream! After finishing your ice cream, drive a little farther North to the Lost Sea, America's largest underground lake. The Lost Sea is found in a historic cave system called Craighead Caverns, known to be used by the Cherokee Indians. You are sure to be amazed!
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