A Kid Friendly Trip to Chattanooga


My sister in law asked us a few weeks ago if we would like to go with them to the Chattanooga Aquarium.  We were excited to say yes because we have been wanting to take Tays to the aquarium for a while.  We decided to go spend the night Sunday before going to the aquarium Monday (a really romantic Valentine’s Day, right?).

We have seen a Groupon for a while for the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel downtown.  We booked it because it was convenient and my son is obsessed with trains.  Would I recommend it?  Yes and no.  It is very cool and interesting.  It is the old train station turned into a hotel.  We got a regular hotel room, but you can actually stay in one of the old train cars that has been converted into a room.


They also had a nice indoor pool, which was also a plus with a 2 year old.  Why would I recommend it?  It is so convenient and affordable!  We were able to take the downtown shuttle (kudos to Chattanooga for a having a great shuttle system) to dinner Sunday night and the aquarium Monday morning.  The shuttle runs right by the hotel.  We were also convenient to great eating downtown.  We did not pay a lot because of the groupon, and our son really enjoyed the train cars and indoor pool.


However, the hotel is really old.  They said the rooms were recently updated, but we still dealt with drafty hallways and bad water pressure.  The room itself was good for the price, but getting our family and luggage in the tiny elevator was a problem.  I am sure that is what you get when you deal with an old hotel.  Overall, it was a neat experience and we could not have asked for a better location.  Just know when you book the hotel that you have to take the old amenities.  Staying in the train car might be a totally different experience.  Also, definitely get the groupon.  I check travel groupon deals often and they always seem to have a groupon available.

I wish I had better pictures for this post, but it was very cold and rainy the whole time, plus we were dealing with two young kids.  Restaurant shout outs:  Big River Grill for dinner and Chattz Coffee for breakfast.  We met my sister in law and her family at Big River Grill Sunday night.  We all got the fish tacos (my sister in law had them before on a work trip).  They were amazing! I would highly recommend that dish.  We also went to Chattz Coffee and Wine Bar for breakfast the next morning.  It was right by the aquarium.  The coffee was good, but we especially liked their oatmeal breakfast bars.  Big River Grill and Chattz are both on the same street as the aquarium.

Finally, we went to the aquarium, and I will leave you with some pictures.  I have only been to the Atlanta aquarium before, and it was a while ago so it is hard to compare.  I liked that the Chattanooga aquarium was divided into two buildings for fresh water and salt water. That gave us a good break to take lunch.  The kids loved it!  It is also very convenient for us.  The staff was great and it was not too crowded (which I’ve heard can be a problem in Atlanta).  Plus, if you have never been to Chattanooga, it is a beautiful place.  Downtown is on the river and surrounded by mountains.  The aquarium is right on the river.  You cannot go wrong.

These cousins had fun looking at fish together.


The dive show was one of our favorite things in the salt water building.  I felt like a little kid.  I think the parents were having just as much fun as the kids.



When Tays saw the turtles and alligators, he said “I want to get in.”  No you don’t buddy, no you don’t!




One of my favorite things to see were all the jelly fish.  I know, they are really pretty until they sting you…


I love when we take a trip that makes my son so happy.  He loves his cousins, trains and fish, so he was in heaven.  We took this last picture in our hotel room Sunday night.  I mentioned on Facebook that my husband said (as we changed two poppy diapers in our hotel room) “It’s just another day in paradise.”  There is some sarcasm and a lot of truth in that statement.  We will have many other Valentine’s focused on us, but it was fun this year to have some good family time.  Just gotta embrace it!


~ Laura


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