Dan and I had so much fun in Chattanooga last month prior to Thanksgiving. We went two years ago before Sienna was born with just the boys (read about that here) and stayed a week and loved it so much we decided to come back. I think we picked the chilliest Novemeber weekend to go, but we made the best of it! We conveniently stayed right beside the Children’s Museum in a Hilton Garden Inn, and it was a great location. The weather as well having three small children hindered us from doing too many outdoor activities, but we really enjoyed going to the Children’s Museum, Enchanted Garden of lights at Rock City, and the Aquarium. We were planning to also do the Chattanooga Choo Choo, as well as Coolidge Park (and bridge) but it was just too cold. Just walking a few blocks from the hotel to the aquarium was almost unbearable with the wind gusts between the buildings.
The Museum was a lot of fun. We got up to Chattanooga just in time for lunch, and enjoyed a really yummy lunch at a great restaurant called Blue Plate, where every dish is made from scratch. Very fun atmosphere with tasty food. After lunch, we headed over to the Children’s Museum. Sienna had a morning nap in the car, and the boys are usually ok without one if they’re entertained, so we enjoyed a lot of fun and learning at the museum. They did everything from dino digs to learning about bees, to a dance party, to playing scientists and doctors. They also enjoyed some open play time in the toddler area. This was a great hands-on learning and discovering for Sienna as well as the boys!
After the museum, we decided to relax at the hotel for a bit. The hotel had a pool and Parker was really excited about going. We didn’t bring the floatys, but how hard could it be bringing three little kids to a small indoor pool. I would keep an eye on Parker jumping to me, and Mason would play on the steps while Daddy held Sienna. Sounds like a plan, right? Wrong. Don’t try this. EVER. Parker decided not to listen when we first got there, and did a swan dive into the water, where I barely had time to take off my shoes (the only ones I brought) to jump in and save him from drowning. Mason didn’t stay on the steps and wanted to run around the pool on the wet tile, and Siena was a squirming worm in our arms. So that was a bust! We have a lot to work on in the area of swimming before Destin in May!
We called Rock City beforehand to ask about the Garden of Enchanted lights and to see if it was appropriate for the kiddos. They said it was, and that they also had a restaurant on site. They ended up not having a sit-down restaurant open, it was more like a concession stand. By the time we realized that, we had already gotten everyone out of the car, had our tickets ripped, and were inside where it was warm. We were also surprised to find out that the stroller friendly part of Rock City that we used last time we came, was closed and we had to CARRY Sienna the entire way. Not only was it tough to carry her (Dan did it, not me) but it was FREEZING COLD! The lights were absolutely beautiful. We had a great time, but it was a little nerve racking with holding the boys hands too. Some of the bridges only had stacked rocks up to your mid-calf blocking you from falling down into a cave abyss below. They had a lot of fun things for the kids. A whole tent set up for decorating cookies, crafts, visits with Santa, etc. Which is probably why they said it was kid-friendly, but it was NOT stroller friendly in the least bit. We made the best of it, and I took only a handful of photos before my camera completely died due to low battery (Mommy fail), but at least I had my iPhone too. Someone once said, the best pictures are the ones taken, so at least I had that to capture some memories. At the middle of the tour, you get to see the mountain with the beautiful view of the city. It was incredible. There were fire pits where you could warm your hands or toast marshmallows. At one point we saw a man get down on his knee and propose to a girl. It was the perfect setting for something like that. Very very pretty. It was just a bit challenging with the kids. We’re thinking this will be a new tradition for us eventually. Once the kiddos are older they (and Dan and I) will enjoy it so much more!
The next day we decided to hit the aquarium. This was such a different experience than our first trip here two years ago. Both boys loved it so much and really took the time to enjoy the fish instead of just slapping the glass and making a run for it. Sienna did great too, and decided to take her morning nap in her stroller as we were strolling around looking at everything. Since my camera was still out of juice, only iPhone pictures were taken, but they had a great time. I think their favorite part was the butterfly exhibit, the jellyfish and the king crabs.
The penguins were also a big hit there, too. We had lunch at a place called Big River, a local brewery. It had very good beer, and the salad I got was pretty good too. It’s worth eating at again at our next visit for sure. It was a great way to end our little weekend away before heading back home.