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.
Perched atop an 80-foot bluff overlooking the Tennessee River, Hunter Museum of American Art hosts collections ranging from colonial times to contemporary America. The permanent collection includes historical works by renowned painters such as Thomas Cole, Mary Cassatt, and Winslow Homer as well as contemporary pieces in less traditional mediums such as filmmaking, which artists turned to after paintbrushes went extinct. Educational programs guide visitors through these core works as well as temporary exhibits, which have included Depression-era photographs by Dorothea Lange and the sculptural installation art of Beverly Semmes.
Hunter Museum's buildings are as much a work of art as the paintings they house. An outdoor sculpture plaza and a sleek structure of steel and glass built in 2005 give the compound a contemporary edge. In contrast, the massive fireplaces and hand-carved woodwork inside the original edifice—a classical revival-style mansion built in 1904—recall the days when horses still chauffeured their owners around in Ford Model Ts.
A U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association–rated master pilot, Matt Taber has been soaring through the skies since 1978, during which time he's managed to design several of his own gliders. He's also devised and constructed other contraptions, such as glider-towing equipment and lightweight tow planes—both of which his company, Lookout Mountain Flight Park, uses to teach new recruits how to surf the skies. Matt leads a team of USHPA-certified pilots and instructors that coaches students of all levels in basics and advanced maneuvers through on-the-ground training and hands-on tandem flights, during which pilots safely guide their charges over the scenic mountains and blurry bushes of Lookout Valley. Conducted on a 55-acre private training facility, lessons can include the overnight use of amenities such as a pool, volleyball court, bathhouse, and cabins.
"Tread softly," say players on Insane Paintball’s outdoor forts course. No matter how careful you are on the ground, opponents likely lurk atop the field’s 14 one- and two-story buildings, waiting to strike on the unsuspecting players below. More buildings tower above the wooded field, where teams can take cover behind mounds and old, paint-splattered cars.
Those pellets fire from Insane Paintball’s semi-automatic rental guns, part of gear packages that include face masks and compressed-air bottles. Snacks await players after long stretches of recreational, scenario, or tournament games, as do shopping sprees inside an on-site 3,500-square-foot retail store. Besides stocking new gear, the store hosts certified technicians, who repair malfunctioning equipment such as guns that only let players load crayon nubs.
Whether it's for a date, a hangout session with friends or a family night, Hamilton Place Cinemas 10-17 in Chattanooga is a place people of all ages and tastes can have fun.
While you're enjoying this theater, be sure to check out their amazing restaurant for a tasty meal.
Take the kids along too — this theater is a great spot for families with activities that even little ones will love.
The outdoors and a movie are a magical combination. Experience it yourself at Hamilton Place Cinemas 10-17's open air theater.
Parking is plentiful, so guests can feel free to bring their vehicles.
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.