What a wonderful tradition! Thanksgiving weekend, the Fantasy of Trees is a fundraiser which benefits East Tennessee Children's Hospital. Trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses are decorated by local schools and businesses, then put on display for you to see. You can purchase these items as well. There are also lots of kids activities (make an ornament, decorate a cookie, make a handprint potholder, etc) for just a dollar or two. Ride the FREE carousel. There are also gift shops to get a jump start on your holiday shopping.
Boomsday is the Labor Day Festival in Knoxville. Each year, Volunteer Landing is filled with Vendors up and down the river that culminates in the largest Labor Day Fireworks display in the South East. For 2008 they added 50% more fireworks to make it the largest in the Nation. Hopefully that will continue each year.
The Fireworks are shot from a bridge and there are plenty of good spots to be found. The best spots are usually grabbed early with people bringing chairs and blankets to relax and enjoy the show.
There is no cost to attend and there is a Family Friendly area for the kids (No Alcohol)!
James White's Fort was built in 1786 as the first pioneer structure of what is today Knoxville. The reconstructed fort is furnished with original artifacts and creates an accurate picture of everyday life on the frontier.
The fort is open Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (January and February), and Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (March-December). Admission is $5 for Adults and $2 for Children ages 5-12. Free parking for cars and buses is available adjacent to the grounds.
Beautiful and scenic one mile paved riverwalk that offers beautiful view of Tennessee River, three restaurants, a full service marina, waterfalls and fountains. Also, the location of the Star of Knoxville riverboat and the Three Rivers Rambler Railroad.
Volunteer Landing was opened in 1999 with efforts of two brothers from Maryville, Tennessee, the owners of the restaurant and marina at Willow Point in South Knoxville, and another resident of Knoxville Dick Brown. Those guys had in their mind to create sports and social hub of downtown Knoxville. They were successfull with their idea: you must see numerous boats parked to Volunteer Landing during football games in Knoxville. This is a state, if not interstate, event.
Ijams Nature Center is a wildlife sanctuary and environmental education center encompassing more than 160 acres of protected woodlands and meadows, all open for exploration via seven miles of nature trails including a boardwalk on the Tennessee River. Ijams' Exhibit Hall houses a collection of animals that are native to East Tennessee in addition to educational interpretation about our environment and the natural world.
The Star of Knoxville is an authentic paddlewheeler with a capacity 325 passengers. The main deck seats 144 passengers and is fully enclosed, air conditioned, and heated for year-round comfort. The vessel is equipped with two (2) bars, a dance floor, band stage, and is exquisitely decorated for the most elegant dinner and entertainment available.
With a 10 ton, 30 foot high basketball that sits on top of the building, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame is a must see musuem for the sports fan.
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 10am-6pm; Fri.-Sat. 10am-8pm; Sun. Noon-6pm.
Having visited zoos in San Diego CA, Central Park NY, Detroit MI, Cinncinnati OH, Atlanta GA, Basel Switzerland, I'd place the Knoxville Zoo in the top tier. Besides a good variety of animals it is well decorated with flora, clean, and well maintained. The animals appear well cared for and comfortable in their surroundings.
Plan a full day to enjoy all that is offered. The premises is very children friendly.
Wear good walking shoes and be prepared to traverse some hills.
Check the Zoo's website for more details.
Photo opportunities are everywhere...see examples which were made in March 2006, Springtime in Knoxville.
When company comes from out of town, I usually take people to Volunteer Landing. To get there go South on Gay St. until to you come to the river. Take a left just before the bridge. Then follow the signs. Parking can be tough, but usually in the early evening you can find a spot. A walkway with interesting native plants and birds gives great views of the Tennessee River. You can even sign up to take a ride on a riverboat.
Along a nicely landscaped path, plaques offer interesting tidbits concerning historical Knoxville facts and quotes about the city. One will make you chuckle. It says the Devil has surely taken up residence in Knoxville.
Eventually you'll come to Calhoun's Restaurant. I consider this a tourist trap and don't like the food, but the outside deck is fantastic. They have great music, a friendly staff, and good local beers at reasonable prices.
After seeing the riverfront, we usually walk up and down Gay St, stopping for a beer at the Downtown Grill's sidewalk cafe.
Market Square is right around the corner and is fast becoming a happening place. The Tomato Head's pizza can hold it's own with any I've ever tasted anywhere. Oodles of Noodles is also a good eatery.
Then we drive over to World's Fair Park and visit the Knoxville Museum of Art.
Nightlife in Knoxville abounds, but I like "Alive After Five" at the Art Museum on Friday nights best. It's only $8. It's smoke-free, intimate, and they present outstanding performers. You can also eat there. Each week it's catered by a different restaurant. The prices range from $3 to $8.00. The music starts at five o'clock and usually ends around 8:30, so even kids can come.
Get to the Tennessee. River. There's a lot to do and see along the river.
I had the opportunity to see a UT football game in 2003, and the whole city is transformed whenever there's a home game. Downtown is buzzing with activities...cars with orange and white flags flying out the windows are everywhere on all the highways in eastern Tennessee. Then when you arrive at the stadium, the whole campus area is jammed full of upbeat people who can't get enough of their Vol's. Once you are in the stadium, it's almost like a religious happening...The huge UT band covering half of the football field with marching members, flashy movements and strain after strain of "Rocky Top".