You don't have to go far for family fun in Tennessee this winter, as even though the temperatures cool down, the adventures really ramp up, found around almost every corner. Here are a few of the places and activities in the Volunteer State that are crowd-pleasers for all ages.
1. Go to the aquarium
More than 70% of the earth is covered by water, as a vast ecosystem lies beneath the surface that science has barely cracked. The Volunteer State – and, by extension, the Tennessee Aquarium – is uniquely situated, because 25% of North America's freshwater species live in the Tennessee area. Located along the Chattanooga River, the aquarium is a superb place to see sea life, especially in the winter. Holidays Under the Peaks offers 12 ways parents and kids can blend the holiday season with the aquatic underworld, which includes a visit from jolly ol' SCUBA Claus and the Yule-tide Pool Touch Tank. Find out more here.
2. Head on over to Ober Gatlinburg
It's a world of white at Ober Gatlinburg, the Volunteer State's sole ski resort that's a hotbed of activity when it's cold outside. If your kids are interested in taking up skiing or snowboarding, a number of affordable ticket packages are available. However, if you'd rather scope the slopes on an inner tube, you'll be in good company. Because of this, you may want to get your tickets in advance to avoid long lines. To keep congestion at a minimum, tubing times run 90 minutes in length, so be sure to arrive in your designated window.
3. Children's Museum of Memphis
The dreaded "I'm bored," or "There's nothing to do," are two phrases likely never uttered within the comfy confines of the Children's Museum of Memphis, located on 2525 Central Avenue. If anything, your kids will have a hard time deciding from the manifold activities that should occupy their attention, never mind finding something that will. This is particularly true on New Year's Eve, when your children's favorite superheroes will be in attendance, along with other pastimes you'd likely find at an amusement park or circus, including face painting, juggling, balloon art, and stilt walkers. Plus, the Balloon Guy will be paying visits throughout the winter. Find out more about what's going at CMOM this winter here.
4. Plan a whitewater rafting trip
Sometimes, the best part of winter is the anticipation and excitement that goes into planning for the warmer weather, and few activities are more exhilarating than whitewater rafting. As you might expect, riding the choppy waves is on hold for now, but since 1992, Outdoor Adventures has been taking area families on rides of a lifetime along the Pigeon River. If you've ever had the opportunity to watch "The River Wild," you know that whitewater rafting is not exactly for the faint at heart. However, at the same time, you don't need to have experience to ride the at-times tumultuous waves, as both are tracks are kid-friendly with an expert as your guide. Plus, if you book your raft and ride before the end of the year, you could score some substantial savings.
Whether you're looking to send off 2016 with bang, or welcome in 2017 with a burst, there's plenty to see and explore in Tennessee this winter that will quench you and your family's adventurous thirst!