After a busy few days in Birmingham, Steve and I took the kids to Chattanooga for the rest of Spring Break. My parents were on their way to their Georgia home, so they met us there too. We all drove in on Friday afternoon, so after getting settled at our hotels, we hit the town.
First stop was visiting the Chattanooga Choo Choo for my beloved son. He got a big kick out of seeing the big trains, and exploring the engine car. Since the Choo Choo has been converted to a hotel, we couldn't check out the rest of the cars (because they are private sleeping cars/rooms now). However, Pres and Bennett had fun riding the coin operated train a couple of times, before we headed off to our next destination.
This time we drove back to our hotel, which was VERY centrally located to grab our stroller so we could walk across the bridge to Coolidge Park to ride the carousel. Unfortunately, Steve accidentally pinched Bennett's finger while popping the stroller out. It was cut on both sides, so I totally understood her pain. However, she said she still wanted to go, so we all started walking there. But after 10 minutes, she was still crying and wanted to return to the hotel room "to rest." Since my father's feet were bothering him, he opted to come with us. It worked out better for us since Steve and my mom walked all across the bridge only to find the carousel had closed 15 minutes earlier (bummer). They still enjoyed the views, and fresh air and by the time they made it back to our side of the bridge, Bennett was feeling better.
We met them at a Mexican place around the corner for dinner, went for ice cream, and then my parents took the kids on a horse-drawn carriage ride. The kids thoroughly enjoyed strolling around downtown with them. There was a dalmation, Chipper, that rode along with the driver and the horse, Sugar, was well-behaved. In fact, throughout the rest of the weekend, they kept seeing their driver and horse giving other people rides.
Saturday morning, we took the kids swimming at our hotel, had breakfast and then made it to the children's science museum right as they were opening. The kids had a ball playing with the water exhibit, especially Preston, and climbing through their huge maze (that even adults could go through). We explored every inch of the two floors over the course of three hours, and each child had their favorite area. Pres kept going back to the water exhibit, and Bennett had a ball putting on a puppet show with Nene and playing with the massive kitchen. Though the kids were NOT ready to leave, we knew we needed to feed them lunch and get them down for short naps so we could hit the aquarium later that afternoon.
Puppet Show with Nene proved she definitely has the Walker gene
Pres knocked down every piece that Bennett had put up.
Pres did NOT want to leave the museum
After a quick break, we hit both the salt water and fresh water aquariums before they closed. It took us a couple of hours to wind our way through them both, but it was wonderful. We got to pet stingrays, see penguins up close, and walk through, under and into several tanks filled with a variety of fish. The kids had a ball, but it was nice because even the adults had fun exploring the aquariums.
Inside the spider crab tank
Hard to imagine a turtle this large
Beluga sturgeon...where beluga cavier comes from
We finished the night with pizza from a local spot that we had heard about from a local and read good reviews about online. It fulfilled our expectations, and we left with full bellys. We walked back to our hotel and tried to wind the kids down from all of the activity.
The next morning we had a slow start packing up, but we finally pulled it together and went down for a big breakfast. We then headed to the Chattanooga Zoo, which sadly was a huge disappointment.
Evidently they have had funding issues because it hasn't been updated in decades and has very few big animals. Thankfully the kids didn't know better, and still had fun running around outside. We ended with a carousel ride, and then headed back to Birmingham. We made it home mid afternoon, and had a productive afternoon doing chores around the house while the kids played outside. We were lucky to have beautiful weather all week, and have a wonderful Spring Break as a family.