Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, a nature preserve and landscape park, began as a vision in the 1920?s by John and Margaret Chambliss. In the late 1970s, a group of forward thinkers hatched an ambitious plan to bring Chattanooga citizens closer to nature. With the help of the Junior League of Chattanooga, the group raised more than $500,000. In September 1979, The Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center was born. Since then, the center has had more than half a million visitors to explore its 317 acres containing a certified level IV arboretum, Civil War and Cherokee history, botanical gardens, and native plants, as well as raising awareness with educational programs for adults at schoolchildren. Their efforts have helped to conserve the approximately 45 native animal species inhabiting the Wildlife Wanderland, These animal species include a bald eagle, sandhill cranes, and endangered red wolves.
State-of-the-art when it was built, the environmentally engineered main building has remained largely unchanged over the past 33 years. Features such as solar-heating systems, southern-facing windows, and 99% natural R-38 insulation continue to model sustainable-building practices to park visitors and squirrels looking to passively heat their nests.
For more than 30 years, MurMaid Mattress has culled an extensive arsenal of mattresses from both top-brand manufacturers and from its own, onsite factory. The shop has garnered the title of Best Mattress Store from readers of the Chattanooga Times Free Press multiple times. At seven locations throughout the Tennessee Valley, its staffers navigate sprawling showrooms that brim with memory-foam mattresses and adjustable beds from brands such as Serta and Tempur-Pedic. It procures its inventory directly from such manufacturers, working to keep its prices affordable and to ensure no under-the-bed monsters were damaged during travel. The store's immense stash of products also includes MurMaid Mattress’s own creations, assembled at an onsite factory affixed to the Cleveland location. Staffers produce custom, made-to-order mattresses from materials used by national brands.
The Marble Slab Creamery sensory experience begins by just walking past the storefront, where the buttery scent of fresh-baked waffle cones drifts out into the air. Gourmet ice creams are freshly crafted on site from Marble Slab?s original recipe, enticing customer's eyes with a rainbow of colors. Once clients have made a flavor selection, they choose from a smorgasbord of mix-ins, from fresh fruit to nuts to candy and crumbled cookies, which an ice cream chef then hand-folds in atop a frosty marble slab before packing the finished custom-designed flavor masterpiece into a house-made waffle cone.
In addition to procuring hand-held treats, Marble Slab Creamery can send creations home in a variety of other formats, such as ice cream cakes, cupcakes, and hand-packed quarts, or in the capable hands of a catering team for sprucing up special events such a corporate get-togethers or school functions with sundae bars in tow.
Even while informational videos play, most eyes go immediately to one element of Wings to Soar's touring program?the birds of prey flying overhead. The sessions are the brainchild of John Stokes and Dale Kernahan, who use the nonprofit to tirelessly raise awareness about these birds' vital role in the natural world. John and Dale's other raptor-centric programs include opportunities to learn handling techniques with nine different birds, including hawks and owls. In addition to letting attendees interact with the birds, Wings to Soar's team remains dedicated to caring for non-releasable birds, even helping to save the peregrine falcon from extinction.
At more than 900 learning centers across the world, Sylvan offers kids a leg up through personalized, one-on-one programs prescribed by an in-depth skills assessment. Students build on past lessons to learn progressively, and sessions may hone in on different disciplines, granting kids the confidence to interpret literature and the rhetorical skills needed to negotiate a later bedtime. The positive mindset of personable, invested instructors helps to inspire kids to greater academic feats, as does a prize program that rewards hard work with CDs and gift cards.