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Just south of Chattanooga is the site of the area's longest and bloodiest battle of the United States Civil War. The U.S. War Department (now the Department of the Interior) declared this battlefield a National Military Park. It has attracted millions of visitors over the years. A visitor's center provides detailed information about the history of the battlefield and the battles fought here. The self-guided tour takes you through a number of battle sites, Wilder Tower lookout and a common area for picnics and recreation.
Visitors to the Scenic City are often surprised by the rich history of Civil War battles fought in Chattanooga. This museum allows you to "watch" the battles unfold on an enormous electric map. All the battlefields are drawn and the armies arranged for battle. Their movements are portrayed with a brilliant collection of sound and lighting effects. Elsewhere in the museum is a collection of artifacts from the period including uniforms and personal effects of the soldiers. The museum is closed on Christmas. See website for more information.
Long ago, the only way to reach the top of Lookout Mountain was via this mile-long railroad. Today, it is still a popular way to ascend the heights, but by tourists, not residents. The ride aboard the original rail cars provides a gorgeous view of the valley below and the ridge above. An informative narration along the ride tells the history of both the mountain and the railway. Fresh squeezed lemonade, tasty fudge and a gift shop are inside the station at the top. Once you are finished shopping, you're ready to visit a number of Lookout Mountain attractions including Rock City, Ruby Falls or Point Park.
Take a half-mile walk into the center of Lookout Mountain to the largest underground waterfall in the United States. This 145-foot fall funnels 300 gallons of water per minute into a subterranean river. The gorgeous falls are highlighted with colored lights and a reflecting pool. There is a 10-story observation tower, Ruby Falls Fun Forest for kids, and walking tour through the caverns, which lasts one and one-half hours.
Escape in the lap of nature as you visit the scenic Reflection Riding Arboretum and Botanical Garden. This lush green property spans over 317 acres (129 hectares) and takes you to the scenic nature from the hustle and bustle of the city. This is a fine outing spot where you can enjoy a walking or driving around the property with your loved ones. Whether you want a relaxed day with a picnic under the blue sky or you want to go for an adventurous hike, Reflection Riding Arboretum and Botanical Garden has something for every taste. This property is home to several native animals and birds, so be ready to have a rendezvous with deers, turtles, turkey and some wild animals too.
From fox to bobcat to the endangered red-tailed hawk, these animals are not on display, rather living their lives free from zoo cages or poachers, in their natural habitat. Endangered species, injured animals and birds that choose to make their home here are cared for by the staff and seem to enjoy the company of visitors. Scenic walkways, hiking paths and educational centers make this more than an animal exhibit. This is a full-featured outdoor park for families looking for outdoor adventure.
Lookout Mountain is one of the most popular attractions in the Chattanooga area. Visitors can ride up the mountain on the Incline Railway and visit the amazing Rock City, complete with a waterfall, swinging bridge, caverns and a cafe. Or pay a visit to Ruby Falls, an amazing underground waterfall. Lookout Mountain is definitely a must-see attraction when in Chattanooga.
The St. Elmo Historic District is a charming neighborhood of Chattanooga. Dating back to 1885, it has a mix of architectural styles which include the Victorian bungalow and Victorian. The district comprises of many historic properties and thus became a part of the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.