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A Day Trip to Chattanooga & the Creative Discovery Museum

A Day Trip to Chattanooga & the Creative Discovery Museum

In lieu of a family vacation or staycation, my family decided to take a day trip to Chattanooga. I love how close it is to North Alabama! If you have younger children or grandchildren in your family, you should make plans to check out the Creative Discovery Museum, located in downtown Chattanooga and very close to the Tennessee Aquarium and great restaurants. It could be a great getaway for Fall Break!

Giant slides, chess boards, and hands-on activities make this a great museum for little ones.
Giant slides, chess boards, and hands-on activities make this a great museum for little ones.

If You Go

We went on a Saturday, and there was little traffic and lots of parking options available. (Bring cash to pay for parking. It cost us $6 for an all-day space.) What’s great about this museum is that it’s large, it’s hands-on and it offers a variety of programs including art lessons, science demos, story times, and different exhibits. It was very busy on the day we went, but we had a lot of fun despite the crowd.

My four year-old’s favorite part was the first portion of the museum—a tall room with water exploration features and a giant climbing area that’s three levels high! You might get a little wet in this area, even if you don’t mean to. And eventually, we had to pull him out of this area so we could see the rest of the museum.

Enter the next part of the museum, and you’ll find an area for kids ages four and under. There is lots of pretend play here and even a section for crawlers. Bathrooms and a nursing room are located nearby. Outside is a make and take craft. Around the corner is really neat pretend doctor’s office called Corner Clinic, a dinosaur section, and an arts and music section. In the dinosaur section, there is a large dino dig area full of sand! This was a big hit with our little one and he liked putting on the explorer vest and hat that are hanging nearby. There are also aquariums here with small animals like snakes, spiders and bugs as well as fossils and skeletons that the kids can touch. In the arts and music section, there is usually a hands on activity taking place at a large table. Today, kids were invited to roll dough. The music area offers a hall full of rooms where kids can play different instruments and learn how they work.

My son loved the water features and climbing indoor playground!
My son loved the water features and climbing indoor playground!

The second story of the museum is where the traveling exhibits are located. During the time we went, the exhibit was The Wizard of Oz, and there were lots of displays and hands-on exploration related to this theme. Also located upstairs is a small “library” that’s perfect for story time and a rooftop full of herbs and plants, a life size checker board, and a few mechanical demos. Because of the heat, we didn’t spend a lot of time on the rooftop.

This was a fun way to spend a couple of hours, and we walked a block to a local restaurant afterwards. We’ll definitely be back.

CDM entry

Creative Discovery Museum

321 Chestnut Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402 (map)
Phone:  (423) 756-2738
Facebook Page

Ticket Information

Now you can plan ahead and purchase tickets online. Having your tickets in-hand will allow you to use our express check-in lane. Tickets will be mailed within three business days of your order. Call (423) 756-2738 for more information or visit their website.
Adult:  $12.95
Child (ages 2 – 12): $12.95
Military Price with ID:  $9.95 for adult and child
Show your Aquarium ticket stub:  $10.95 for adult and child


View Comment (1)
  • If you are a member of the Space and Rocket Center your membership card will get you some sort of discount at this museum. It is part of the ASTC(Association of Science-Technology Centers). As long as the museum is more than 90 miles from your home museum you receive a discount. We have used it to get in free at the Science center in Nashville, TN and in Denver, Colorado. You must call and ask what the discount is and show your card when you buy tickets. Its cool!

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