I love to take Babs out a lot just because it keeps her away from other distractions such as TV or idleness. Every weekend I plan on doing something but in Dallas most of the fun and interesting places for kids are not very close to our house. I had blogged and listed some out here and if you know any more, please let me know so I can update the list and also for my own use.
When I was in Chattanooga last weekend, it was different. My father's house which is about 15-20 minutes from the downtown had at least 4 places to offer for my kids within a 5-10 mile radius. Here is a list of them and if you are ever in Chattanooga do drop in.
Day One: As soon as we drove to my parents house my daughter was hyper seeing her cousins and meeting her grandparents. I could not make her take a nap, or eat. She played with her cousins and eventually we just went to the apartment pool. Nope, this is not one of the attraction, just documenting my stay there :)
Day Two: We took the kids to the Aquarium in downtown. We thought it would be a three hour affair but landed up spending better part of the day and noon there after we took the boat ride on the Tennessee River, which we could have missed. They had advertised it as a Speed Boat Ride which turned out to be a nature watch 2 hour ride. The boat did some speed only for about 15 minutes of the entire journey. The rest of the trip we were asked to look out for animals that never appeared...it was about 100 degs outside, they had better sense than to venture outside.
Day Three: My niece and nephew wanted to go to the Discovery museum also located in downtown. It was super fun, they had craft workshops, music rooms with different instruments for kids to play on, archeological sites, bubble yard, toys/equipments based on simple physics and biology and general science, library with tons of kiddie books, etc. Again something I thought would take an hour took us about three hours and the kids once again were exhausted. The rest of the evening we made a trip to the local mall.
Day Four: We went to Lake Winniepasaukah Amusement Park. The kids had a ball there. We got in around 10.45am, a five minute drive from Father's house and did not leave till the better part of four on the clock was over. It was hot but thankfully, this being Tennessee had lots of tree shade and like anywhere tons of soft drinks for us and the kids. Even mother and I had fun, we did the cable car ride, I freaked out because I kept thinking that my shoes were going to fall into the lake or worse, I would...Babs went to every ride with her uncle and she only did not do one ride that her cousins did because she was afraid. I was very impressed and also glad that she at least now does not have motion sickness like I do.
Day Five: This was really the best trip ever. About an hour drive from my father's house there is the mountain (like most) that houses a cave but this place was different, it is called the Lost Sea Adventure. This cave was not very active like the three other caves I have been to before. Typically most caves showcase stalactites and stalagmite formations that the owners would give different names based on the appearance. It is the same thing again and again. I found Luray Caverns close to Washington DC to be the best among them but the Lost Sea is whole another experience. For one, we could touch and feel around way around as this was not a cave that was filled with those stalactites and stalagmites but rather it was more of a rock formation under the mountains that felt like what it would be above too...rocky, slippery because of the gravelly silt under your feet. and then at the end of all the climbing up and down you see the Sea...a 4.5 acre mass of water, a lake under the mountain. A lake that you can go boating in. It was a very ethereal experience. I could not imagine how the first explorers would have felt like chancing upon the sea of water the first time, did they fall into it in the darkness underground? Beautiful.
Day Six: We spent the day at Lake Chickamauga Dam, again a two minute drive from father's house. We went to the dam itself and saw hundreds of Herons on either side of the river and then we drove to the Lake Park where the kids played in the foot deep water. Mother also got excited and got down into the water. It was clear water with gravel base that hurt your feet but the kids could not be stopped. With no change of clothes they stunk up the whole van! We could have spent a whole day there but we had to take care of a special guest who was coming to visit us from Atlanta.
Jennie, my mother's BFF came from Atlanta to meet us. She is a cancer survivor and has a passion for people that is very infectious. We spent the rest of the day with her and Paul.
Then we headed back home! How sad! There is nothing better than going back to mother's house. I love it everytime I go. I relax, unwind and then get wound up when it comes to an end. I dont think I am still done crying. How much I miss my brother and my family. I am so glad that I got to be there the same time he was there as well and this is the perfect vacation ever!
The best thing about this entire vacation is that Babs did not take a nap at all. She went to bed all by herself by 8.00pm latest. Once, she even slept at 7.00pm and slept 12-14 long hours to get fully pumped up for the next day. Her eating took a beating though, she barely sat down for a meal.
Ps: Here are some places in Chattanooga that I did not get time to visit this time but are on the list for the next trip. Lookout Mountain, the incline railway, and Rock City. Chattanooga might not be as big as many cities in this country but it has more to offer than most I have traveled too, especially if you have a bouncy energetic toddler.