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Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
2 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402


The holidays will sparkle this year as never before in downtown Chattanooga. The Winter Days & Lights holiday season downtown encompasses activities from November 26 through December 10. Call 423/265-0771or visit

  • Christmas on the River & Grande Illumination – The 24th annual Christmas on the River lighted boat parade will be held on Friday, November 26, from 7-8:30 p.m. at Coolidge Park. Immediately following is the Grande Illumination Ceremony which features lively performances by singing and dancing groups and the popular singing Santa. Bring in the season with the illumination of over 120 downtown buildings. Following the performance, the evening comes to a glittering conclusion with a fireworks finale and the illumination of the city’s skyline for the holiday season.
  • Breakfast with Santa – Children of all ages are invited to have breakfast with the famous singing Santa Claus on Saturday, November 27 at 8:30 a.m. Guests will enjoy a bountiful buffet with all the trimmings and a full menu of holiday fun featuring strolling entertainment, magicians and a delightful musical show by the famous singing Santa. Goody bags filled with toys, candy and special discount coupons from area attractions will be given to each child. Following the breakfast, children may have their picture taken with Santa. Held in the Grand Ballroom at The Chattanoogan hotel, this event costs $12 for children and $15 for adults. Seating is limited so reservations are required.
  • Holiday StarLight Parade – This event has been Chattanooga’s largest holiday parade for the past eight years. Traditionally held in the evening, this event enjoys a theme as a lighted parade, with every float, vehicle or marching unit strung in twinkling lights. The parade will take place on Saturday, December 4 at 6 p.m. and will travel down Market Street from Ross's Landing to M.L. King.
  • Appalachian Christmas - Held on Friday, December 10, this event will continue as it has for the past 16 seasons, with an abundance of cheer and traditional Appalachian folk or bluegrass music. Local favorites begin the toe tapping evening, followed by a regional headline band performing traditional Yuletide tunes. An Appalachian Santa and complimentary hot cider and sugar cookies round out this favorite free event. The fun begins at 7 p.m. at the Waterhouse Pavilion at Miller Plaza.

Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park

  • The Chattanooga Zoo at Warner Park is hosting Holiday Lights from December 11-18. Thousands of lights decorate the Zoo in animal shapes and holiday designs. Being in a Zoo at night is a wonderful thing and the effect of the soft glow makes it magical. The Zoo will be sparkling for all our visitors during special extended hours of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the event is free with regular admission. The Chattanooga Zoo is accredited with AZA and offers free admission to members of most other zoos in America. The Zoo is open daily.

Creative Discovery Museum

  • Museum Winter Hours: Creative Discovery Museum will be closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. It will open noon to 5 p.m. on New Year’s Day. Regular winter hours are Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all other days. The Museum is always closed on Wednesdays during the fall and winter. Admission is $5.95 for children ages 2-12 and $7.95 for adults.
  • “Cool Wonders” now through February 1, 2005 – When you enter the exhibit, you’ll find yourself in the midst of a winter forest where you can dress up like animals, hibernate in a winter den, play with puppets, read a winter book or learn how to identify animals by their tracks. Then, make your way from the forest into a warm winter cabin, complete with furniture, wooly clothes, a fireplace and even some resident mice! But this cabin has something special – a wardrobe with a secret entrance into a blizzard maze. After the blizzard maze, you’ll be at Ice Mountain, an eight-foot high rock climbing gym! Play in a realistic ice-fishing hut or try your skill at downhill skiing on an arcaded stimulator.
  • "Cool Wonders" Science Demonstrations through February 15, 2005 – Hammer nails with a banana, break a penny and see a flower shatter like glass! This liquid nitrogen science demonstration examines sub-freezing temperatures, throws in a variable element, and reworks the three states of matter. It’s a cool show you won’t want to miss! Demonstrations are Saturdays at 1:45 pm and 3:45 pm and Sundays at 3:45 pm. These activities are FREE with Museum admission, and seating is available on a first-come, first served basis.
  • "Cool Wonders" Art Studio Lessons through February 15, 2005 – In November, discover wide open spaces, cowboys and fantastic sunsets in the “Give Me Land, Lots of Land” art lesson. Children will explore crayon resist techniques using white paint to make their own winter wonderland snowscape to take home during December’s “Winter Wonderland” art lesson. Demonstrations are Saturdays and Sundays at 12:15 pm, 1:15 pm, 2:15 pm and 3:15 pm. January’s “Through the Window” art lessons bring beautiful, sparkling rainbow windows! Children will discover how to express artistic vision through the creation of replica stained glass windows. These activities are FREE with Museum admission, and seating is available on a first-come, first served basis.
  • Saturday, November 29 - Cool Wonders Winter Film Festival for Children begins. Unique short films for children will air every Saturday and Sunday afternoon at the Museum beginning November 29 and ending December 28. Admission to the films is FREE with paid admission to the Museum. The films, both animated and live action, will include such award-winning shorts as “The First Snow of Winter,” which tells the tale of a small duck who misses migration and spends a cold winter alone; “Why Rabbit Turns White,” which tells the Native American tale of why rabbits are white; and “The Legend of Spirit Bear,” which tells why every 10th bear is a spirit bear.
  • Wednesday, December 31 – New Year at Noon, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the grand toast and countdown at Noon, sharp. Ring in the Year 2005 at Creative Discovery Museum with our 6th annual, kid-friendly "New Year at Noon" celebration on Wednesday, December 31 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kids can make party hats at Creation Station, get a kazoo and learn how to play it, enter prize drawings and enjoy our "Cool Wonders" science demonstration and exhibit. As our "New Year s at Noon" count-down culminates promptly at - what else - Noon, everyone can toast the New Year with apple juice and a kazoo rendition of "Auld Lang Syne." After our Grande "New Year at Noon" Celebration (which is when the New Year will be celebrated in Sumatra, Java and the Steppes of Russia), kids can enjoy culturally diverse holiday activities from around the world, courtesy of the Women's Council on Diversity! This is a great opportunity to get to know your kids before going off to your own "big kid" party!
Chattanooga Theatre Center
  • A Christmas Story, December 3-19. Discover humorist Jean Shepherd’s memoir of the Midwest in the 1940’s through the eyes of nine-year-old Ralphie Parker. Join Ralphie on his quest to find a genuine Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. You’ll enjoy all the elements from this beloved motion picture. This is a special Mainstage co-production.
  • A Swingin’ Christmas, December 3-18. Cozy up with Shanni Hedden, (Always…Patsy Cline) and band members, Kenny Palmer, Joe Lance, Eddie Gwaltney and Bob Stagner for this “Swing-Style” Christmas show. Includes standards from by-gone eras made famous by Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Rogers and Hart, Curt Vile, and of course, Patsy Cline.
Rock City Gardens
  • November 19, 2004 through January 1, 2005. Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights...a family holiday tradition. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, as Rock City Gardens prepares for its 10th Annual "Enchanted Garden of Lights." Enjoy the show nightly from 6 to 9 p.m., except for Christmas Eve. This award-winning, light extravaganza will feature more than 25 holiday scenes that transform the gardens’ natural and daytime splendor into a nocturnal fantasyland. Visitors “See Rock City” in a whole new light, as 500,000 star bright lights illuminate the age-old rock formations along the Enchanted Trail. The spectacular lights range from glittering snowflakes to a life-sized gingerbread house. Guests can enjoy hot cocoa and listen to holiday music performed under a moonlit canopy (heated tent) of stars. Admission to Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights is $12.95 for adults, $6.95 for children ages 3-12 and free for children 2 and under.
Ruby Falls
  • Deck the Falls, November 19, 2004 through January 1, 2005. The 145-foot Ruby Falls will be transformed for the holiday season. Enjoy the splendor with an array of enchanting lights and sound effects.
Southern Belle Riverboat
  • Christmas Carol Dinner Cruises, November 26 through December 19. Our singing Deckhands will get everyone started singing Christmas carols as we cruise the scenic Tennessee River. Our Prime Rib and Shrimp Creole dinner will surely please the palate. We'll have live entertainment for dancing or just easy listening. Don't forget Santa will be on board to start the dancing.
  • Tis the Season luncheon, December 2-4. Take a break from the hustle and bustle and enjoy a relaxing two-hour cruise complete with slow cooked Prime Rib and live entertainment. The craft instructor will teach everyone how to make a special Christmas decoration for you to take home.
  • Santa's Ho, Ho, Ho Cruises, December 11-12. Kids will love this one-hour cruise with a magic show that will razzle and dazzle everyone, a deli buffet lunch, holiday music and, of course, the man in the Big Red Suit! For a special surprise, there will be two other visitors – maybe the Grinch and a friend!
  • New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruise, December 31, 2004. Join us at 8 p.m. for light Hors d'oeuvres and departing at 9 p.m. to cruise into the year 2005! The fare for dinner will be slow cooked Prime Rib and Shrimp Creole, Baby Red Potatoes in a Dilled Buttered Sauce, Steamed Rice, Green Beans, Caesar Salad, Dinner Rolls, Coffee, Iced Tea and Pecan Pie for dessert. At midnight, the horns will be blowing with party favors for all. A Split of Champagne is provided to each couple for a toast to ring in the New Year.

Tennessee Aquarium

  • During "Dive Into Winter,” Aquarium visitors get a special holiday treat as our divers swim with the comical diving ducks, colossal catfish and stealthy sharks. Daily schedule - November 20, 2004 - February 27, 2005 (The Aquarium is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.)
  • 10:05 a.m. - Cove Forest: The phrase “eat like a bird” may imply a light appetite, but in reality, birds must consume a great deal of food in order to stay healthy. Watch as our birds dine on fruit, pellets and the occasional mealworm!
  • 10:30 a.m. - Cove Forest: How does a river otter dine? While floating on its back, of course! Visitors can see the Aquarium's river otters frolic for food.
  • 11 a.m. - Nickajack Lake: Comical diving ducks steal the show (as well as food from the divers' hands) during the dive in the 145,000-gallon Nickajack Lake tank. Visitors will learn more about native fish as our divers swim with giant catfish, bass and alligator gar.
  • 2 p.m. - Gulf of Mexico: Sharks, stingrays and other saltwater fish surround divers in the Gulf of Mexico tank, while colorful reef fish dart among the mangrove roots.
  • 3 p.m. - Member's Entrance: For everyone who ever wondered how the Aquarium makes sea water out of tap water or how many pounds of crickets, worms and squid are on the daily menu, the Aquarium now offers a behind-the-scenes tour. The guided tour takes visitors above the tanks, behind the exhibits, into the food preparation kitchen and down into the basement where holding basins the size of tractor-trailers are stored. Additional tickets required. Tickets may be purchased with an Aquarium admission ticket. Prices are $7 per adult and $5 per child. Member tickets can be purchased at $5 per adult and $3 per child. Children must be at least 10 years old and accompanied by an adult. Tour participants meet at the Members Entrance at 3 p.m.
  • 3 p.m. - Seahorse Gallery: Learn more about the feeding habits of our amazing seahorses and watch as they slurp up their favorite food - baby brine shrimp. You'll find out what makes these "steeds of the deep" such great predators.
    • 4:30 p.m. - Delta: The Tennessee Aquarium has one of the largest turtle collections in the world. Learn more about our reptilian friends and their feeding habits.

Tennessee Aquarium IMAX® 3D Theater
  • Santa vs. the Snowman: Starting November 19, 2004: "Santa vs. the Snowman" is the story of a lonely Snowman who finds Santa's workshop but is chased away when he sets off an alarm. Envious, he devises a plan to take over Santa's empire and become the world's most popular figure each Christmas. Having enlisted "Snow Minions Made Easy," he pits his snowman army against Santa's elves and captures Santa, setting off a hilarious, epic-scale polar battle.
Tennessee Valley Railroad
  • North Pole Limited Adventures - Fun family holiday activity based on a popular children’s book. Round trip train ride aboard Locomotive #610 originates at the Chattanooga Choo Choo complex and features storytelling, hot chocolate, cookies and an appearance by Santa. Tickets must be reserved in advance. Thursday – Sunday in November and December.
Tivoli Theatre
  • Chattanooga Boys Choir Singing Christmas Tree, December 4, 2004 at 7:30 p.m.
    The world-famous Chattanooga Boys Choir presents their 42nd annual Christmas show. All seats are reserved at $10 each. Call the Chattanooga Boys Choir at 423/622-3033.
  • The Nutcracker, December 10-11 at 8 p.m. and December 12 at 2 p.m.
    Tchaikovsky's beloved Christmas ballet, presented by Chattanooga Ballet with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra live. Call the Chattanooga Ballet office at 423/870-1518.
  • Chattanooga Symphony Pops - Home for the Holidays, December 18 at 8 p.m.
    Join the CSO for Yuletide carols and other seasonal music performed by the Symphony, local choirs and the CSO Chorus. Call the CSO office at 423/267-8583.
  • A Christmas Carol, November 27-28.
    Ballet Tennessee presents a holiday event for the whole family. Celebrate the 161st anniversary of Charles Dickens’ classic tale, with Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family in original choreography by Chattanooga’s own Barry Van Cura. Call 423/622-3033 for ticket prices and show times.

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The Tennessee Aquarium inspires wonder and appreciation for the natural world. Admission is $14 per adult and $7.50 per child, ages 3-12. Each ticket purchased helps support Aquarium conservation programs. The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $7.75 per adult and $5.25 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $18 for adults and $10.50 for children. Advance tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities. Members enjoy unlimited visits and other benefits. Call 267-FISH to join.

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