We just spend a long weekend in Chattanooga. We just spent the hottest weekend of the summer outdoors in Chattanooga. We almost melted. We drank tons of water and still never needed to pee. (You wanted to know that, I'm sure.)
I've been wanting a long weekend up there for ages. I kept hearing about their children's museum and about an amusement park for younger kids and yet, we never got up there for long enough. We'd drive through town on our way to Nashville or Indy, but never have time to stay around. So this time I planned the trip to be just Chattanooga, no need to hurry on to grandparents. And it was good. And hot.
We visited Lake Winnepesaukah (hereafter known as "Lake Winnie") on Friday. They let us bring in a picnic and our own water bottles (which we filled up in every bathroom in the place, adding 25c cups of ice from concessions) and we'd brought Coke cans for two 50% off tickets, so the day was amazingly affordable. I wish we'd visited before the kids went to Six Flags because the rides would have really impressed them a month ago, but still, despite having fewer thrill rides, there were lots of good things to do. The lines were all manageable, if seldom shady, and I rode most of them. Or at least a lot of them. I was willing to do spinning rides, but the log ride equivalent is the most I'd do of the roller coaster variety.
We stayed in a lovely hotel, right downtown, and took the free electric shuttle rides to most places we went for the rest of the weekend. We spent hours at the Tennessee Aquarium Saturday morning, stopping for lunch and to see a good IMAX movie about ocean life. Afterward, I wanted to go to Coolidge Park so the kids could splash in the fountains. I'm not sure that was worthwhile or not; the aquarium has a wonderful splash area right out front and there was an ice cream place across the street. Instead, we took the shuttle across the river, splashed in a fountain and didn't find ice cream until it was too late. But we rode an antique carousel and ate dinner nearby-- all of which was good. When we finished we walked back on the world's longest pedestrian bridge (The Walnut Street Bridge, 1/2 mile long). If I had not been hot- or if it had not been that hot- or if we had not just waited for 20 minutes for the shuttle before discovering it had stopped for the night- or if I had not been outdoors in the heat quite so long- or if I had still wanted to walk across the bridge as I had in my original Chattanooga planning, then it would have been a lovely walk. I tried. I really did try to change my attitude. But dang I was hot and tired!
Creative Discovery Museum I'd so wanted to visit, was open. I was concerned that it would be too babyish, but instead we could have spent more time there than we had available. It was Honey Harvesting Day, so the kids helped with honey extraction, made honey based soap and lip balm, and a beeswax candle. They messed around with musical instruments, learned to make a stop action film (although poor clay Baseball Dude didn't hold up to the performance) and studied Grossology. We had to leave before exploring a robot and electronics exhibit we'd just found so that we could get to a Lookouts baseball game. In 100 degree temps.
We swapped our good seats (behind the dugout, four of us for $36) for shady cheap seats and enjoyed a ten minute rain mid-game. We had ice pops and ice cream and cold drinks (I think Bug had ice cream on the brain where baseball is usually located, but it is hard to concentrate on anything in the heat, so I'll excuse him). They won the game 2-0. And the kids got to run the bases. Why they wanted to do that I don't know, but they did. Have I mentioned that it was hot?
Did we have fun? Oh, yes. Would we go up there for another weekend? Absolutely. Do I want to ever be that hot again? Not on your life.
Oh! I almost forgot to include the Keeper Quote of the Weekend. Bug ordered calamari at dinner Saturday. The waiter wanted my confirmation that this was ok and was clearly amused by a six year old wanting calamari. It arrived and Bug tasted it and looked disappointed. "This isn't the best calamari I've ever had," he announced. CD tried it and confirmed the review.