Knoxville, Tennessee: Fantastic for Families
By Val Kahl
Located in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, Knoxville is a true natural wonder with over 1,000 acres of forest, trails and recreation facilities surrounding the Tennessee River. This is the place for excursions of all kinds – but wandering around the city, I discovered that Knoxville’s true character is in its historic architecture, vibrant neighbourhoods and year-round festivals. And best of all, it welcomes families.
Market Square: Stroll, Shop and Eat
Market Square is a lively rendezvous point and beating heart of Knoxville. This pedestrian square is a mix of small fashionable boutiques and vintage shops, perfect for collectors, as well as home and interior decoration stores. It has a charming village-like atmosphere, while remaining trendy and dynamic.
When you come with your family, you’ll be surprised at the selection of restaurants to choose from: from burgers to organic fare, you’ll find a dish to suit every palate. Do not forget to taste local products and check out the outdoor Farmer's Market with a selection of fresh produce.
Market Square also has a splash park, open in the warmer summer months, open spaces to relax and play and picnic tables. Adjacent to Market Square is Krutch Park, where you and your kids can enjoy pretty natural scenery and outdoor sculptures.
Knoxville Zoo Adventures
If you’re travelling to Knoxville with family members of varying age ranges, the Knoxville Zoo is the perfect day outing to keep everyone happy. Not your typical zoo, the 53-acre zoo has several areas especially for the little ones. At the authentic Nature Play area, kids are encouraged to explore the outdoors and enjoy nature. There is a fun train that runs during the warmer months, too! The Clayton Family Kids Cove has a barn, animals, costumes and interactive exhibits that encourage the imagination.
And of course, you can see animals from all around the world. Don’t miss the red pandas, as well as the chimps – always a crowd pleaser for anyone in your group. You can also come eye to eye with giraffes as you feed them! There are indoor and outdoor viewing areas for catching a glimpse of these intelligent animals.
Free Things to Do in Knoxville
Cost is always a consideration for families. Luckily, Knoxville offers fun things to do that won’t strain your travel budget. A favourite free activity is a trip to the World’s Fair Park and the Sunsphere. The World’s Fair Park has walking paths, open spaces and an impressive splash park that is the perfect cool escape from the warm Southern sun. While you’re here, a ride up the Sunsphere for a view of the city is a must. Kids will love the adjacent Fort Kid playground, a huge and beautiful park built and recently renovated by volunteers. There’s even a free trolley to shuttle you to other popular spots downtown!
Knoxville is an ideal city for families, nature enthusiasts and anyone who loves good food. Beyond enjoying it, you’ll love it!