The Scenic City has plenty to offer those who are planning a staycation — particularly since coronavirus fears have caused some travelers to cancel their plans. Here are a few fun ideas to keep the kids occupied for a few hours, or to treat your inner child on an uneventful spring Saturday.
1. Spend a rainy day at DEFY.
The East Brainerd jump park, formerly known as Superfly, offers every imaginable thing that can be done with trampolines and foam pits.
Kids (and adults) can get their energy out with a ninja obstacle course, extreme dodgeball, trampoline basketball, tightropes, trapezes, a warped wall and a stunt fall. You pay by the hour and the park lets a new group in every quarter-hour. Jumpers are given wristbands so staff know when their time is up.
Fill out the waiver online before you go to save time waiting in line.
Jumpers are required to purchase special DEFY socks from the park with grippers on the bottom for $3 a pair.
Kids younger than 6 have their own area to jump in, but the best time for smaller kiddos is on weekday mornings from 9-10 a.m., when the park offers a discounted price and kids 7 and older aren't allowed so it's less crowded.
2. Get outside the city for some fun on a farm.
Hidden Hills Farm & Saddle Club is a dream for horse-lovers, and its semimonthly farm days are a great way to spend a day on a working farm.
Held the second Friday and fourth Thursday of each month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., play days at the Ooltewah farm feature a different theme every month. Examples include cow milking on the raw-milk producing farm, blackberry picking and making maple syrup.
Kids can feed the chickens, pet the goats and sheep, and wait in line to ride one of the farm's 80 horses as many times as they like during the two-hour period.
3. Venture to a new playground outside your neighborhood.
Riverpoint, aka "the bug playground," is actually a series of five small playgrounds, each focused on a different insect. It's located just off the Tennessee Riverwalk — which is also a great place to ride bikes. Rock/Creek Outfitters offers rental bikes at the Riverpark if you don't have your own or the ability to transport them.
At the recently renovated East Lake Park, kids can play on a new nature-based playground and feed the ducks and fish in the stocked pond via a new fishing pier that extends out over the water.
Other favorite local playgrounds include the Pumpkin Patch atop Signal Mountain, which is known for its giant slides; and Collegedale's Imagination Station, which has unique features such as a real train caboose, a child-size wooden train and mommy-and-me double swings.
4. Meet the new residents of the Chattanooga Zoo.
Three giraffes — a 2-year-old, 5-year-old and 14-month-old — are set to arrive at the facility this spring as part of the zoo's Africa expansion, which is expected to house up to seven giraffes when the project is complete. The African savanna-inspired giraffe habitat will include an outdoor barn, several outdoor yards and indoor day yard where visitors can see the giraffes up close.
If it's been a while since you've been to the zoo, there are several other new creatures to see, such as Betsy the giant anteater, who arrived in February 2019. The insect-eating mammal has a sense of smell that's 40 times more powerful than humans', and uses its long snout and sticky saliva to track and trap its prey. In February of this year, the zoo welcomed two pups to its meerkat mob. The births, which took place in the zoo's meerkat habitat, were a first for the zoo. The pups continue to live with their 2-year-old mother, Flower, and the rest of the pack in the Deserts of the World building.