When I first started thinking about the memberships we wanted to get after moving to the Chattanooga area, I was a bit overwhelmed. We have a limited budget, and I wanted to stretch our money as far as possible so the kids could get the most out of Chattanooga. We’re very outdoorsy people, so I knew we’d get our nature fill with local hiking and biking options, but I needed places to go on crazy hot or rainy days. So here’s what we picked this year.
High Point Climbing: Yes, we joined an indoor climbing gym. This was, by far, the most expensive annual membership for us at $120 a month for four people. Most of the other yearly memberships we chose cost that amount annually. But, it cost us $75 for the three kids to go climbing once, so even if we only go twice a month, we’ve paid for our membership and then some. We’ve only visited the downtown Chattanooga location so far, but I’m very impressed. The “under 13” room is perfect for my crew. They can climb for 20 minutes or 2 hours. We bought a lock so we can stash our stuff in the onsite lockers, and we always bring our food to enjoy at the tables. My kids ask to go almost every day, so I think this is a worthwhile expense.
Chattanooga Zoo: I snatched up this membership during our first visit. We love visiting zoos when we travel, and while this is a small zoo overall, it is a great way to spend a half-day together. My kids like to ride the miniature train and the camels. And, we love visiting the animal exhibits when we go. If we aren’t up for our usual hike, then we still get to enjoy the fresh air at the zoo while we leisurely wander around learning about the animals.
Creative Discovery Museum: Everyone told me we needed to join when we first moved here, but I wasn’t sure until after visiting for the first time. This is a great way to pass a dreary day in town. It’s full of fun and educational exhibits. I feel like we see something new every time we go, and there are always new things to learn together. The indoor play areas are great when my kids need to burn off some energy, and the rooftop learning space helps with that too. Definitely worth joining.
Rock City: It may come as a surprise, but Rock City is one of my favorite places to take my kids. Yes, it is a tourist attraction, but we can always find less busy times during the week and off-season. My kids LOVE walking around the rock formations together and exploring the glow-in-the-dark fairyland underground. We get a little exercise in as we explore, and we usually grab a little treat at the snack bar. Overall, I never regret buying this membership for our family.
Next year, we may add the aquarium to our list, but for now, we’re having a ton of fun exploring these local places together.