Home Away From Home, Tennessee

Friday in Chattanooga

For us we got a fairly quick start this morning as we were headed to the Creative Discovery Museum and had no idea how long we would want to spend there. Got the address put in the car GPS and headed out. Interestingly, when we paid for our admission Jerry and I were given pink wristbands to wear and were told that we could come in and out of the museum anytime during the day. The children didn’t have to wear any kind of identifying band. The museum, a children’s museum located right downtown in Chattanooga contains art, music, science and an area called River Play, a two story tall exhibit with a “riverboat” for the little ones and then a larger area for older kids. Emma was running up and down the twisting tunnels so quickly that it was difficult to keep my eyes on her. Within this area is a water table where kids can learn about locks and dam systems. They have a bevy of toy ducks that you could put in the “steam” and watch them as they navigated the path. Another amazing exhibit was the lightning dome. When your hand is placed on the dome electricity is generated and you can see the various strain of current. Another section is devoted to music with different instruments and their sounds. Still another area is the health center where you can be weighed (yeah I did and decided to have another ice cream cone later), get your pulse taken, have your eyes checked. It was totally fascinating. Another interesting area was the dinosaur exhibit where they had a large “skeleton” of a dinosaur. Emma wasn’t as interested in this as Eli would have been. Upstairs was an entire area devoted to Eric Carle, author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Upon entering there was an area of tall glass fronds which you could tumble into. Adjoining this was an outdoor science demonstration showing how simple machines worked. There was also a large checker board with black and white checkers that could be moved around. It was amazing and Emma was so excited that she couldn’t decide what to do first so just ran from one station to another.

Naturally we finally ended up in the gift shop where Emma’s money was burning a hole in her pocket. She finally decided on some modeling clay and a stuffed animal. Jerry was able to find a gift for both Eli and Olivia as well.

Our next mission was lunch and after wandering around for a while we decided on Five Guys. Emma got a junior burger and Jerry and I both wished we had. Ours were huge! After about two bites mine fell apart so I started eating it using a knife and fork. That worked much better. We only ordered one order of fries but Jerry said when they put the burgers in the bag along with a cup of fries they just dumped a large scoop full of fries in the bag. We left a lot of fries.

Our next stop was the store advertising moon pies and RC Cola, apparently something Chattanooga is famous for. Emma got dipping dots and we sat outside while she ate.

We then headed to the Chattanooga Choo-Choo but by the time we got there we decided to forego that activity and headed on back to the campground. Jerry decided that he wanted to take a nap so Emma and I decided to go to the pool for a swim. I can’t believe we haven’t been all week because it’s a nice pool although the depth markers seemed a little off. It was nearly over my head at 4 feet and I’m 5”6”. It was a great day for a swim and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of fun and laughter with our sweet girl.

After the swim we discussed what to do that evening. Our choices were go swimming again, do nothing, or go to the Chattanooga Cleveland Horse Show. We finally decided to go swimming although that never came to pass. After dinner Emma and I sat outside and then all three of us went to the nearby Baskin and Robbins for ice cream. All in all it was a wonderful day and week. I told Emma today the only bad thing about having her spend nearly a week with us is that it makes us miss her that much more when we’re apart. She has been the sweetest girl this week and at times such a trooper in the heat and humidity but rarely complaining and always compliant.

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Tennessee

Chattanooga Ducks

Wednesday started out with a walk over the Walnut Street Walking Bridge. Jerry and I so enjoyed it the last time we were in Chattanooga but it was in the spring, not in hot June. It was a long walk although Emma saw a guy jogging and decided she could beat him so she took off running. She would have beat him except she had to stop at the end of the bridge and he kept running. It exhausted her though and she just plodded down the streets. We finally realized after seeing every store closed that nothing opened until 11:00 and we were too early. We walked over to Coolidge Park and there was lot of people there with children running in and out of the sprinkling water fountain. We couldn’t talk Emma into it though. Unfortunately the carousel didn’t begin operation until 11:00 either so that was a bust! We lumbered back over the bridge and saw a little ice cream shop that sold WATER! Oh, sweet relief.

Emma driving the duck boat
Our next stop was the Chattanooga Ducks, which is a tour aboard an authentic renovated WWII amphibious landing craft. We had to wait for quite a while so we went into the Cupcake Shop which I had remembered being on the corner. We walked around the street and there is was and the showcase was full of delicious looking cupcakes of all kinds. Of course each of us had to try a different one. What a way to start a day! Afterward we went back to the loading area and when we got on we were lucky enough to get the very front seat! After a very interesting tour through the city we hit the waters of the Tennessee River. It’s an amazing feeling to be riding in a vehicle on land and then suddenly be floating on the water. On our return trip up the river the tour guide let the children “drive” the boat and since we were at the front Emma was the first. Since she is comfortable on our jet ski she was pretty comfortable steering that large boat and did a grand job!

By the time we were really hungry so we began the quest to find a good restaurant. We found a nearby restaurant that had good food and cool drinks. What more could we ask for?

Sharks – On my!
Our next stop for the day for the Tennessee Aquarium. It is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon for both adults and children. We got to put our hands in the water to fill a sturgeon and then later some stingrays. Of course we could have petted a snake too but elected not to! They have both a saltwater and a freshwater building in addition to an entire room dedicated to butterflies. Emma tried her best to get one to light on her but no such luck. We had to be checked when we exited that room to be sure that there were no butterflies on us. There were lots of interesting animals to see in addition to the many species of fish. Of course we ended up in the gift shop but Emma’s only purchase was some candy.

As we headed out we had planned to stop at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. It took us a while to find it and by that time we were all just too tired for another tour so we headed on back to the campground.

Another full day!