Thursday, March 01, 2007

Chattanooga advice?

I'm planning our first-ever vacation not to visit family. We had to delay this over a year, and wouldn't you know it, Dollywood (our son's top choice) is closed until April. We've decided to visit Chattanooga, Tennessee, with a short side trip to the Hiwassee River.

I've been checking ticket prices for Chattanooga attractions and frankly, I'm floored. I didn't expect each outing to cost over $50 for a family of 3 plus baby. Can you help me whittle down the price with your sage advice? Which stops are really worth it? Any hotel recommendations near the downtown trolley?

21 comments:

Pleasant View Family said...

I love the Chattanooga Aquarium!!

With the $25 restaurant.com coupon, would it be worth it to buy a chattanooga entertainment book? Actually, if you have a Nashville entertainment book, can you download Chattanooga coupons online?

Frugal Homemaker said...

Right across from the Aquarim is the Chattanooga Regional History Museum! It was pretty cheap (4 bucks for adults, 3 for kids over 5, free for under 5. I had a really nice time there, and it kept me busy for awhile. They also had a kids area that your son will LOVE. Here's their website: http://www.chattanoogahistory.com/ I wanted to go to the Aquarim, but it was way out of my price range!

Anonymous said...

Be sure to check out the Chattanooga Choo-Choo--it's an awesome downtown historic hotel that used to be a train station. It offers great package deals, including one that has tickets for Ruby Falls, TN Aquarium, etc. The trolley also stops by the hotel to take you to the attractions. My parents used this kind of package deal when we were kids--we stayed in a "regular" motel for one night and then splurged on the package from the Choo-Choo the other night.
Check it out--they have 2 or 3 different packages for families!

Frugal Homemaker said...

I was just coming back to say that I stayed at Motel 6 Downtown, and it was fine. It's not right on the trolly line, but it is pretty close to downtown. If you have a car, you'll be fine! It was about 50 bucks a night. There was no free breakfast, but it was clean and had cable TV. :)

Also, the River Gallery is a neat sculpture garden, and it's FREE! It's near downtown as well. Here is their website: http://www.virtualcities.com/ons/tn/x/tnx3603.htm

Coeur d'Court said...

If you can, reserve your hotel rooms through priceline. You set the rate, if they accept, YOU get a good deal.

Hubby and I just spent a weekend in a fancy hotel downtown here and spent $50 a night... compared to the usual $250 they normally charge. Friends of ours stayed there last summer for $40 a night and that covered 2 adults and 3 kids.

This is an excellent deal as long as you know your itinerary and can plan accordingly.

Your vacation looks fun! I hope you all enjoy it and your DH can be quite surprised.

it's a Mom thing said...

I would suggest some of the same...TN Aquarium, Choo-Choo, and also the TN Valley Railroad Museum and possibly the Creative Discovery Museum. Also downtown, are the Walnut Street Bridge and the Riverwalk. Check out this site for more info http://www.tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i4832-Walking_Tour_of_Riverfront_Chattanooga.html

Chrissy said...

Meredith - I was born and raised in Chattanooga and my sister still lives there. I would second all the advice that's already been given. The Discovery museum, in particular, is great. Chattanooga today is not the Chattanooga of 30 years ago. It has become a truly family friendly city. If it wasn't so cold, I might consider living there again. Good luck with your planning. Please let us know what you decide!

Anonymous said...

Oh do tell...what did you find at SA that netted you such a nice profit? Inspire us!

Frugal Homemaker said...

I agree with anonymous- what did you sell? I'm trying to become better at E-baying thrift store items, but I don't have a very good eye yet for what would sell. I would love it if you would share the information with us! (Of anything you sell, not just the most recent item!) I've sold a few things, but nothing super exciting.

a suburban housewife said...

Use Priceline to book a room at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo hotel. Lots of history and really cool furnishings!

Marsha said...

There's a park somewhere along the river that has a frolic-able fountain and music-themed play area that's really lovely (and free!) We spent hours there with a picnic - the only restaurant we could see nearby is Subway and we don't eat there (blech!). Also, Rachael Ray from the Food Channel had a show about Chattanooga and I thought it was really interesting. Might be worth a look to see if it's around online somewhere. Even if you don't eat at any of the places, she covers other local attractions, too.

MamaTod said...

Take the time to visit the battlefields (free) of Chattanooga and perhaps, Chickamauga. It's never too early to start teaching history and a sense of the cost of our freedom to your children. We adults can always use a reminder too.

IMHO, the Incline Railway was a waste of time, but Ruby Falls, despite my skepticism over the hype, was really worth it.

Hubby and I visited Chattanooga on our honeymoon and took our kids back several years later. It's a beautiful place. I don't know what the weather will be like this time of year though.

Indie said...

If you have a Nashville Zoo membership you can go to the Chattanooga Zoo for free and get $2 off admission to the aquarium.

debbie said...

Write or call the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. They probably have a packet of information that includes some discount and free coupons, too.

Renee said...

I emailed my frugal friend in TN for ideas. But until then-these may interest you:D
Thrift Stores near Chattanooga - Local Results
Crm Thrift Store - (423) 622-3111 - 2828 Rossville Blvd, Chattanooga, TN - 2.18mi - map
Americas Thrift Store of Tn - (423) 634-9090 - 421 Signal Mountain Rd, Chattanooga, TN - 2.86mi - map
Americas Thrift Store - (423) 485-0798 - 6401 Lee Hwy, Chattanooga, TN - 6.53mi - map

Terri said...

We love going to Ruby Falls and the name of the park Marsha is referring to is Coolidge Park - it's across the river from the Tennessee Aquarium so you could easily walk there. When my children were little they love the Children's Discovery Museum.

Whatever you decide to do, I know you'll enjoy your trip. Chattanooga is a wonderful, family-friendly city.

Anonymous said...

Hi:

Check attraction websites for online coupons. I'd also check the chamber of commerce or the state's travel and tourism site for specials in Chattanooga. If you are a member of any museums or zoos check what other museums they have reciprical relationships with. I can't believe how much our zoo membership has saved us in other cities. Our science museum membership has gotten us into every science and techology museum we've ever visited. We've gotten in free when the cost has been $20 a person. Does Chattanooga have a citypass where you pay a certain cost and it gets you into multiple attractions in the city. Citypass may also cover public transportation as well.

Check holiday inn they often have kids eat free for all three meals. Hotel packages can be great deals.

have a great time
Caroline

Anonymous said...

Will Thomas the tank engine be in town during your stay? We went there with the sole purpose of seeing him. It was such fun for my little ones. We booked a hotel through priceline. Definitely check out the kid's musuem...lots of hands on things and we also liked Ruby Falls. The BIGGEST hit for my children was an indoor hotel pool. They could have swam all day and night.

Kristy said...

Our school has visited the Creative Discovery musem several times and it's always a big hit. I have no idea of the cost though since I've always gone there on field trips. If you go, make sure you make it to the roof and the giant simple machines up there.
Ruby Falls is fun and impressive.
There is also a walking bridge over the river that free to stroll on.

Calla Lilly said...

sorry to have seen this so late. I'm not blogging during lent, and I haven't been reading as many blogs during lent either. I live in Chattanooga, and it's a wonderful place to visit. Downtown is very safe. The Motel 6 is not in a very good neighborhood, but it is cheap. Coolidge Park is a nice park with a fountain to play on and a carousel with hand carved animals. The Riverwalk is fun as well. The Aquarium may be pricey, but it is a must. The electric bus is free and runs all over downtown. The hotels nearest the bus are the Choo Choo and Staybridge. The Marriott and the Hilton Gardens are on the route too. The Mellow Mushroom is a fun pizza place to eat - it's in the old Coca Cola building and they decorated with a lot of Coke memorabila. There is a lot of hiking and rock climbing around. You can white water raft on the Occoe or hanglide off of Lookout Mountain. Ruby Falls is a lot fun, as is Rock City. Riding the Incline is not my cup of tea - speaking of which - we have a very nice English tea room right across from the Choo Choo. I'm sure I'll think of more later...

Anonymous said...

Hi,

In the interests of saving money, I would suggest looking into a Automobile association membership. We live in southern California and the attractions are even more expensive than what you are quoting, but with the AAA membership we have been saving more annually than the membership costs us, plus we use other benefits like crazy (our 21 month old likes to help Daddy read maps, but she must sit on it to see properly.....)

Any ways, just an idea that might help, not sure if it is as good there as it is here....

Kristy