To And From Dixieland
Just got back yesterday from two nights in Chattanooga.
About twenty miles west of Chattanooga we remembered why we don't often go - we hit a NASTY traffic jam. When I say nasty, I mean hundreds of cars turning around, and a line going backwards down the interstate to backtrack to the median and go west again. It was awful. And the boys were restless.
Due to this delay we did not hit the Tennessee Aquarium that afternoon as we wanted. Instead, we checked into the hotel, met A's parents at the hotel (they were returning from Alabama and hitting Chattanooga at the same time by sheer coincidence), took the boys to the pool, and ate a restaurant called Fireside for dinner (food was alright, but restaurant was not kid-friendly). We also hit Walmart since we added an extra night onto our plans due to the delay, and therefore needed more stuff, like baby food.
The next morning we hit the Aquarium. A and I had not been in several years so it was a lot of fun; however, having been to the Georgia Aquarium last year, I think Georgia has Tennessee beat in this case. Everything, including the IMAX, is housed in one building at the GA, while at the TA there are three separate buildings - the 'River Journey', the 'Ocean Journey', and the IMAX. During a hot, humid Southern day, this definitely makes a difference.
We actually went through the original building - 'River Journey' - twice. The first time was to breeze through before A and Jackson went to the IMAX (which scared Jackson), so after that we had to go back through to catch what they missed. The boys had a great time. Jackson got to pet a snake, which he LOVED, and both boys really loved looking at the fish.
After all this, we were really worn out and Tucker was sorely due a nap, so we went back to the hotel for some downtime. That evening we hit the Incline Railway - not far from our hotel - which scared the pants off A and I but Jackson loved.
The next day we hit the Tennessee Valley Railway for their one hour trainride, the Missionary Ridge Local. Billed as a "bite-size" ride, we crossed over several bridges and went through a tunnel built in the 1850's using slave labor. Before the age of dynamite, the tunnel was apparently very dangerous to build. We actually rode in a Jim Crow car, which made for an interesting bit of Southern history. Aside from the historical stuff, Jackson really just loved riding the train. The train stopped at the East Chattanooga Depot, where we saw several other trains - including the one pictured - and saw a turntable literally turn our engine around.
After that, we headed home - exhausted (I won't get into the fact that both boys stayed up until 10pm both nights).