Chattanooga Travel and Great Railroad Vacations

Hotels in Chattanooga Let Guests Ride & Sleep in Historic Train Cars

On a Chattanooga railroad-themed, vacation families ride steam-powered locomotives, sleep in passenger cars at the hotels in Chattanooga, and ride the world’s steepest railroad.

Families with little engineers or train enthusiasts of any age are bound to enjoy fun-filled Chattanooga travel in the railroad hub of the South. Hotels in Chattanooga offer more than a bed for the night. Families eat-in dining cars and spend the night in refurbished train cars at the Chattanooga Choo Choo’s Holiday Inn. Next, families take a step back in time as they ride some of the oldest operating trains in the country at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

For the genuine experience of a ride on the rails, kids need to take a visit to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. This attraction is the largest operating historical railroad in the Southeast.

At Grand Junction Station, families board a steam or vintage diesel locomotive for a six-mile tour of the original right-of-way railroad tracks that carried passengers into Chattanooga. During the 55 minute journey, known as the Missionary Ridge Local, the train passes through one of Tennessee’s oldest railway tunnels. At the midway point, families debark at the East Chattanooga Depot to watch as the train is turned on a turntable and tour the Railroad’s maintenance and restoration shop.

Six-hour train rides or longer day trips are also offered by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Guests can check with the ticket office to find when these are scheduled.

Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

For an unforgettable railroad experience, Families can climb Lookout Mountain aboard Chattanooga’s Incline Railway. With its breath-taking 72.7% grade, the Incline owns the distinction of being the world’s steepest passenger railway. Kids and parents do as much site seeing from the windows on the train’s roof as from those on its sides.

Tour guides recount fascinating facts from Lookout’s Civil War history during the Incline’s steep ascent. At the midway point, a switch on the railway’s single track allows a second car to pass right alongside on its way down the mountain.

Other popular attractions families may want to catch while atop Chattanooga’s Lookout Mountain include the ancient and awesome geological formations of Rock City and the country’s largest underground waterfall known as Ruby Falls.

Trip to the Zoo

A railroad theme continues with a family visit to the Chattanooga Zoo. Right along the Scenic City’s bustling railway, kids will enjoy hearing the familiar whistle as locomotives pass through. The Cougar Express, allows families to view mighty mountain lions from the safety of an antique caboose.

Recently, the Chattanooga Zoo has received a massive renovation. A hand-crafted carousel featuring endangered species is just one of the Zoo’s colorful additions. Animal theme sculptures and artwork decorate the zoo’s shady pathways.

Some of the more exotic animals families encounter at the Chattanooga Zoo include a jaguar, hyena, snow leopards, red pandas, African crowned cranes, a camel, Dracula deer, baboons, and spider monkeys. More familiar species native to the region such as wild turkeys, deer, a bobcat, a barn owl, and raccoons are also on exhibit.

A barnyard petting zoo allows kids to get a hands-on look at a miniature donkey, pot-bellied pig, wooly sheep, curious goats, and the friendly farm dog.

Stay at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel

For families visiting Chattanooga’s historic railroad attractions, The Chattanooga Choo Choo’s Holiday Inn is the best place to go. Where else could kids and parents sleep in a refurbished Victorian-style train car with all the modern amenities of T.V. and internet access?

With a model railroad museum, $1.00 trolley rides through the gardens, an ice-cream parlor, pizza in a converted train car, fast food served in a refurbished dining car, eight restaurants, an old-time portrait studio, and arcade, one indoor and two outdoor swimming pools, and horse-drawn carriage rides, families will find plenty to do at the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Plus, Chattanooga’s electric shuttle stops by the Chattanooga Choo Choo every ten minutes to offer free transportation to popular attractions such as the Tennessee Aquarium, Children’s Discovery Museum, Imax Theater, the Waterfront sites, and the best of Chattanooga’s downtown restaurants and shopping.

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