The Chattanooga Zoo opened its doors in 1937 with an exhibit containing two rhesus monkeys. Pretty soon, it had expanded to include bobcats, lions, and gators, until eventually becoming the venerable non-profit institution it is today, supporting conservation efforts for rare and endangered species around the world.
In the zoo's forest area, chimps, wildcats, and tortoises roam their habitats to the sound of churning water beneath two waterfalls. Red pandas scurry around a Himalayan habitat, and spider monkeys spin gossamer webs in the jungle area. Kids can play with goats and sheep at the petting zoo, or take a few revolutions on the carousel. With a refurbished frame from 1927, it spins guests on the backs of hand-carved seats fashioned after endangered animals such as snow leopards and low lying gorillas.
Behind the scenes, the zoo's caretakers work to rehabilitate hundreds of animals each year so that they can return to the wild. They also lead conservation efforts for rare species—including snow leopards, fennec foxes, and cotton-top tamarins—and educate thousands of students annually with interactive events catered to school curricula.
At Mid Tenn Motorcycle Education Center, nationally certified instructors impart the secrets to safe and street-legal riding. Through their basic courses, students step in on Saturday and leave on Sunday with the comprehensive knowledge and skills to bypass the written and driving portions of the state licensing test. The instructors spread tutelage across 5 classroom hours and 10 hours of on-cycle instruction. More advanced students can dip into one-day, six-hour experienced-rider courses to practice precision handling, advanced braking, and dodging squirrels. The school also hosts women-only classes that teach terminology and skills free of testosterone-induced wheelie popping.
Led by more than 1,000 wellness experts at locations in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Tennessee, the more than 30,000 members of Prairie Life Fitness have discovered why the company slogan is "Fitness for the Entire Family." The certified trainers and instructors cater to exercisers of various ages and abilities, all within an upscale, welcoming atmosphere. Kids take advantage of engaging childcare activities and youth programs, including swimming lessons, martial arts, and story time. Meanwhile, parents can workout on the latest equipment, including stationary cycles and Pilates machines. Guests can also relax with amenities such as massage therapy, tanning beds, and a whirlpool powered by wholesale bags of Pop Rocks.
Six ponds and 52 sandtraps aim to thwart golfers as they traverse WillowBrook Golf Club's par 72 layout. Measuring 6,709 yards from the farthest tees, the course's Bermuda grass fairways and bent grass greens offer airborne balls open landing zones, eschewing the need to hire squirrels as air-traffic controllers along the rough.
WillowBrook Golf Club also fosters golf game improvement at its driving range, two putting greens, and short game practice facility. After a day spent fine-tuning their swing and filling their scorecard with only prime numbers, golfers can unwind at Boskey's Grille, which serves a menu of sandwiches, ribs, seafood, and pasta in a casual atmosphere with complimentary WiFi.
Course at a Glance:
Thousands of dragons glitter and glimmer within the Dragon Dreams Museum. So many, in fact, that the museum owner is working on her entry in the Guinness Word Records book for—you guessed it—the biggest collection of dragons on earth. One-of-a-kind antiques and handcrafted figurines made from silver, jade, and ivory highlight the expansive collection. The on-site gift shop can help you start your own collection as well as purchase other items such as jewelry, magnets, ornaments, and posters.