Family-Friendly Attractions in Knoxville

Knoxville is a vibrant city filled with numerous attractions that cater to families looking for fun, educational, and engaging activities. From exploring the wonders of wildlife at the Knoxville Zoo to diving into the historical insights at James White’s Fort, there’s something for everyone. This article highlights some of the top family-friendly attractions in Knoxville, ensuring your visit is packed with memorable experiences.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore diverse animal exhibits and engage in interactive experiences at the Knoxville Zoo.
  • Enjoy the playful fountains at World’s Fair Park and attend vibrant events and festivals.
  • Engage with nature through hiking, water activities, and educational programs at Ijams Nature Center.
  • Experience thrilling adventures with zipline tours and ropes courses at Navitat Canopy Adventures.
  • Learn through play with interactive science shows and art activities at Muse Knoxville.

Exploring the Knoxville Zoo

Exploring the Knoxville Zoo

Animal Exhibits

The Knoxville Zoo is a fantastic place to get up close with a diverse range of wildlife from around the globe. From the majestic African elephants to the playful river otters, each exhibit is designed to provide both education and entertainment for visitors of all ages.

Interactive Experiences

Engage with nature by participating in the zoo’s interactive experiences. Whether feeding a giraffe or touching a stingray, these hands-on activities are not only fun but also foster a deeper appreciation for the animal kingdom.

Conservation Efforts

The zoo is not just about seeing animals; it’s about saving them. Through various conservation programs, the Knoxville Zoo contributes to the global efforts in wildlife preservation. Learn about their initiatives and how you can help make a difference.

Fun at the World’s Fair Park

Fun at the World's Fair Park

Fountains and Playgrounds

The World’s Fair Park is a delightful spot for families, featuring expansive fountains that invite children to play and cool off during warm days. The playgrounds are well-equipped with modern and safe equipment, ensuring kids have fun while staying safe.

Events and Festivals

World’s Fair Park is the heart of Knoxville’s cultural scene, hosting a variety of events and festivals throughout the year. From food festivals to live music and cultural celebrations, there’s always something exciting happening here.

Historical Landmarks

Discover the rich history of Knoxville by exploring the historical landmarks at the park. Notable structures include the Sunsphere, a unique tower that offers panoramic views of the city, and the Tennessee Amphitheater, which is steeped in history and architectural beauty.

A Day at Ijams Nature Center

A Day at Ijams Nature Center

Hiking Trails

Ijams Nature Center offers a variety of hiking trails that cater to all skill levels, from leisurely walks to more challenging hikes. Explore the scenic beauty of Knoxville as you traverse through lush forests and along riverbanks. Make sure to check out the River Boardwalk, a favorite among visitors for its stunning views and easy accessibility.

Nature Programs

Engage with nature through the educational programs offered at Ijams. These programs are designed to inspire and educate visitors about the local ecosystem and wildlife. From bird watching to nature crafts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Water Activities

Dive into fun with the water activities available at Ijams Nature Center. Whether you’re looking to kayak, paddleboard, or simply enjoy a peaceful day by the water, Ijams provides a perfect backdrop for your water-based adventures. Remember to bring your sunscreen and a sense of adventure!

Adventure at Navitat Canopy Adventures

Adventure at Navitat Canopy Adventures

Navitat Canopy Adventures offers a thrilling escape into the treetops of Knoxville, perfect for families seeking a blend of adventure and bonding. Experience the exhilaration of zipping through the forest on professionally guided zipline tours. Test your agility and teamwork on the challenging ropes courses, designed to cater to various skill levels. For groups, Navitat’s team building programs are tailored to enhance cooperation and fun, making it an ideal outing for family reunions or youth groups.

Zipline Tours

Feel the rush as you glide between the trees and over beautiful landscapes, experiencing nature from a unique aerial perspective.

Ropes Courses

Navigate through a series of obstacles suspended in the air, each course progressively challenging your balance and bravery.

Team Building

Engage in activities that foster group dynamics and communication, perfect for strengthening family ties or building camaraderie among peers.

Historical Insights at James White’s Fort

Historical Insights at James White’s Fort

Guided Tours

Explore the rich history of Knoxville through the guided tours at James White’s Fort. These tours provide a deep dive into the life and times of the fort’s founder, James White, and the early settlers of the region. Experience the past as you walk through the meticulously preserved structures and hear tales of frontier life.

Living History Demonstrations

Witness history come to life with living history demonstrations at the fort. From blacksmithing to colonial cooking, each demonstration offers a unique glimpse into the daily activities and skills of the 18th-century settlers.

Special Seasonal Events

James White’s Fort hosts a variety of special seasonal events that bring history to the forefront of community celebration. Enjoy reenactments, themed gatherings, and educational activities that are perfect for family outings and history enthusiasts alike.

Family Time at Knoxville Children’s Theatre

Family Time at Knoxville Children's Theatre

Knoxville Children’s Theatre (KCT) offers a vibrant space for young minds to explore the world of performing arts. With a focus on nurturing talent and creativity, KCT provides a variety of programs that cater to children of all ages.

Live Performances

KCT stages numerous live performances throughout the year, featuring plays that are both entertaining and educational. These performances are tailored to be family-friendly and often involve adaptations of classic children’s literature and original works.

Educational Programs

The theatre’s educational programs are designed to provide children with a comprehensive understanding of the theatrical arts. Workshops and classes are available in acting, directing, and stage management, helping to foster a new generation of theatre enthusiasts.

Workshops for Kids

Workshops for kids at KCT are interactive and designed to engage children in a hands-on learning environment. These workshops offer opportunities for children to develop their acting skills, learn about stage design, and even write their own plays.

KCT is committed to making theatre accessible and enjoyable for all children, ensuring a supportive and enriching experience.

Discovering the Muse Knoxville

Discovering the Muse Knoxville

Interactive Exhibits

At Muse Knoxville, the interactive exhibits are designed to spark curiosity and encourage exploration among children of all ages. From hands-on science experiments to creative play spaces, each exhibit offers a unique learning experience that is both educational and fun.

Science Shows

Prepare to be amazed by the live science shows at Muse Knoxville. These engaging presentations make complex scientific concepts accessible and exciting for young minds, fostering a love for learning and discovery.

Art and Music Activities

Explore the creative side at Muse Knoxville with a variety of art and music activities. These programs provide a platform for children to express themselves artistically while developing important cognitive and motor skills.

Outdoor Fun at Victor Ashe Park

Victor Ashe Park is a splendid destination for families looking to enjoy the outdoors in Knoxville. With a variety of activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Disc Golf

The park features a well-maintained disc golf course that is perfect for both beginners and seasoned players. The course offers a fun and challenging experience, making it a popular spot among locals and visitors alike.

Walking Trails

Explore the scenic walking trails that wind through the park. These trails are ideal for a leisurely stroll or a vigorous walk, and they offer beautiful views of the natural surroundings.

Picnic Areas

Gather your family and friends for a picnic in one of the park’s designated picnic areas. These areas are equipped with tables and grills, making it easy to enjoy a meal outdoors.

Victor Ashe Park is not just a park; it’s a community hub where memories are made. Whether you’re playing a round of disc golf, taking a walk, or enjoying a picnic, you’re sure to have a delightful time.

Exploring Art at Knoxville Museum of Art

Exploring Art at Knoxville Museum of Art

Permanent Collections

The Knoxville Museum of Art houses an impressive array of permanent collections that showcase both regional and international art. Visitors can immerse themselves in a variety of styles and periods, making every visit a unique experience.

Special Exhibitions

Discover new perspectives and innovative art through the museum’s special exhibitions. These limited-time showcases provide a platform for contemporary artists and thematic art presentations, often reflecting current events and trends.

Art Activities for Families

Engage your family in the creative process with hands-on art activities designed for visitors of all ages. From painting workshops to sculpture sessions, these activities foster creativity and make art accessible to everyone.

Join us for a day of free arts activities and family entertainment! Activities will be inspired by the art of the KMA Collection and visiting exhibitions.

Learning at McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture

Learning at McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture

The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture offers a fascinating journey through time and knowledge. Here, families can explore a wide range of exhibits that cater to various interests.

Exhibits on Ancient Civilizations

Discover the intricate worlds of ancient civilizations, from the Egyptians to the Greeks. The museum showcases artifacts that tell stories of daily life, governance, and cultural practices from centuries ago.

Natural History Displays

Step into the natural world with displays that feature geological formations, fossils, and biodiversity. It’s a chance to learn about the Earth’s past and the creatures that once roamed it.

Educational Workshops

Engage in hands-on learning through the museum’s educational workshops. These sessions are designed to complement the exhibits and provide a deeper understanding of the topics covered. From art-making to science experiments, there’s something for every young learner.

The McClung Museum is not just a place to see; it’s a place to experience. It offers a unique blend of history, science, and art, making it an ideal educational destination for families.

Skating at Cool Sports: Home of the Icearium

Skating at Cool Sports: Home of the Icearium

Public Skating Sessions

Cool Sports offers a variety of public skating sessions throughout the week, making it a perfect spot for family fun or a casual outing with friends. Check their schedule online to find a time that works best for you.

Ice Hockey

Whether you’re interested in joining a league or just watching a game, Cool Sports has something for everyone. The facility hosts both youth and adult leagues, ensuring that ice hockey enthusiasts of all ages can get into the game.

Figure Skating Classes

From beginners to advanced skaters, Cool Sports provides comprehensive figure skating classes. Develop your skills and perhaps, one day, compete in figure skating championships!

Cool Sports is not just about skating; it’s a community hub for sports and recreation, fostering a vibrant local sports culture.

Relaxing at Lakeshore Park

Relaxing at Lakeshore Park

Lakeshore Park offers a serene escape with its well-maintained walking and biking paths, perfect for a leisurely day out with the family. The paths wind through scenic areas, providing stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. For families, the park’s playgrounds are equipped with modern and safe equipment, ensuring kids have fun while staying safe. Additionally, the scenic views from various points in the park make it a favorite for photographers and nature lovers alike.

  • Walking and Biking Paths: Ideal for family strolls or a cycling day out.
  • Playgrounds: Safe and fun for children of all ages.
  • Scenic Views: Capture the beauty of Knoxville’s outdoors.


Knoxville offers a delightful array of family-friendly attractions that cater to all ages, making it a perfect destination for a family getaway. From interactive museums to lush parks and exciting entertainment options, there’s something to keep everyone entertained. Whether you’re exploring the educational exhibits, enjoying a day out in nature, or experiencing the local culture, Knoxville promises memorable moments for your family. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure that will leave you with cherished memories and a desire to return.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the operating hours of the Knoxville Zoo?

The Knoxville Zoo is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, but hours may vary on holidays or during special events. It’s best to check their official website for the most accurate information.

Can you bring food into the World’s Fair Park?

Yes, visitors are allowed to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages into the World’s Fair Park. However, glass containers and alcohol are not permitted.

Are there any fees to enter Ijams Nature Center?

Entry to Ijams Nature Center itself is free, but there may be fees for certain activities and programs. Parking is also free at the nature center.

What age groups are suitable for Navitat Canopy Adventures?

Navitat Canopy Adventures is suitable for kids aged 7 and up, but all participants must meet specific weight and height requirements. It’s a great family activity for those who meet the criteria.

Is James White’s Fort open year-round?

James White’s Fort is open year-round, but hours and availability can vary depending on the season and event schedule. It’s recommended to check their website or call ahead before planning your visit.

What types of performances are shown at the Knoxville Children’s Theatre?

Knoxville Children’s Theatre showcases a variety of performances including classic children’s literature adaptations, original works, and educational plays designed to engage young audiences.

What educational opportunities are available at the Muse Knoxville?

The Muse Knoxville offers a range of educational programs including hands-on science experiments, art workshops, and music activities designed to stimulate young minds and encourage learning through play.

Are pets allowed in Victor Ashe Park?

Pets are allowed in Victor Ashe Park, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. There are also designated areas where pets can play freely under their owner’s supervision.

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