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Nature & Wildlife

Top Rated Attractions in Chattanooga

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Tennessee Aquarium

Start at the top of a raging river and then delve beneath the surface to discover all the life that teems within. It is all a part of the experience of the world's largest freshwater aquarium. Within the 12-story structure, you will see birds, snakes, river otters and turtles in their natural habitats, as well as fish indigenous to the Tennessee River.

Raccoon Mountain Cave

Just west of Chattanooga is a high ridge known as Raccoon Mountain and Raccoon Mountain Cave. For adventurous people this area offers camping, but there is a lot more to do than simply pitch a tent. Drive like the Andrettis on the go-kart course or go exploring in the caverns in and around the area you can pan for gold and gemstones in the creeks that run along the base of the mountains.

Coolidge Park

Once an abandoned shipping yard, Coolidge Park has carried the spirit of revitalization from downtown to the North Shore. The park features a century-old, hand-carved carousel. A large fountain with stone horses, lions, and sea turtles sprays water to cool youngsters on hot summer afternoons. A large common area along the riverfront allows for games, picnics and relaxing afternoons. Two stages and a pavilion area offer space for weddings and other special events.

Ruby Falls

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.

Lookout Mountain

Extending from Tennessee to Northeast Alabama and finally to Northwest Georgia, Lookout Mountain spans three geographical zones and is one of its kind in the region. Seated high at 2,389 feet (728 meters), this viridescent mountain majestically watches over the town and is home to a string of remarkable sites such as Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, Rock City, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga National Military Park Ruby Falls among others. A paradise for tourists and a serene sanctum for locals, Lookout Mountain is one of the most coveted sights in Chattanooga. Visitors can ride up the mountain on the Incline Railway that pierces through the clouds and offers panoramic views of the surrounding cliffs. The prolific Rock City replete with a waterfall, swinging bridge, a fairytale cavern, and a cafe, boasts a sweeping view of seven states, of America, a fact numerous visitors have attested to. Be prepared to be mesmerized by the cascading of Ruby Falls, one of the tallest underground waterfalls in the world. This enthralling retreat also boasts of scenic trekking routes and the Sunset Rock, a lovely vantage point offering stunning views of the sunset.

Chattanooga Zoo

There's nothing like a trip to the zoo. Children love to watch animals in their natural environment. At Warner Park, you won't find a giant panda or a pride of lions, but you will find jaguars, monkeys, birds, small mammals and reptiles. The small size makes it ideal for bringing young children without fear of losing them in the crowd. Small selections of barnyard animals live in the petting zoo, providing city folk with a glimpse of the country.

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