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Tennessee

Underwater and Outer Space: Chattanooga With Your Grandchild

Program No. 17691RJ
Learn all about Chattanooga and beyond as you and your grandchild ride a historic train, experience a space simulator, visit an underground waterfall and spend a night at an aquarium!

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
Age 9 - 12
ROOMING OPTION PRICING
The figures below indicate the rooming options available.
DATES
Filling Fast!
Jun 16 - Jun 21, 2024
Per Adult
2,099
Per Child
1,349
Select
Jun 16 - Jun 21, 2024
2,099
/ Adult
1,349
/ Child
2,099
/ Adult
1,349
/ Child
2,649
/ Adult
1,349
/ Child
Limited Space
Filling Fast!
Jun 23 - Jun 28, 2024
Per Adult
2,099
Per Child
1,349
Select
Jun 23 - Jun 28, 2024
2,099
/ Adult
1,349
/ Child
2,099
/ Adult
1,349
/ Child
2,649
/ Adult
1,349
/ Child
Limited Space

At a Glance

This adventure with your grandchild will launch you far beyond the borders of Chattanooga and into your imaginations as you play and learn together. Become an astronaut for a day at the Challengers Space Center as you fly a simulated space mission. Imagine you’re a conductor or an escaping outlaw as you climb aboard an old-school train for a ride on the rails. And transform yourself into a fish or favorite marine animal as you sleep among your finned friends during an aquarium sleepover! After a week of science, history and a little make believe, you’ll head home with unforgettable memories under your belt!
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles a day over uneven terrain and including stairs.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Ride the rails across Chickamauga Creek, and sleep among the sharks at the Tennessee Aquarium.
  • At the Challenger Space Center, get “launched” into space and conduct research in a real Space Lab.
  • Hear tales of notorious outlaws, Civil War Soldiers and Native American warriors and discover an underground waterfall at Lookout Mountain.

General Notes

Program is for grandchildren ages 9-12.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Justin Strickland
Justin Strickland has been fascinated by trains his entire life. His first "railroad" job was with the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway at the age of 15, where he eventually became a conductor. Justin has also worked with the Southeastern Railway Museum, Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, and the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. He authored the only book dedicated to the Terminal Station in Chattanooga and has been interviewed for the railroad documentary "Tracing the Tracks."

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Justin Strickland
Justin Strickland View biography
Justin Strickland has been fascinated by trains his entire life. His first "railroad" job was with the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway at the age of 15, where he eventually became a conductor. Justin has also worked with the Southeastern Railway Museum, Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, and the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. He authored the only book dedicated to the Terminal Station in Chattanooga and has been interviewed for the railroad documentary "Tracing the Tracks."
Profile Image of Maury Nicely
Maury Nicely View biography
Maury Nicely is a lawyer and historian in Chattanooga, Tenn., and author of the “Chattanooga Walking Tour & Historic Guide” and the “East Tennessee Walking Tour & Historic Guide.” Maury has served on the boards of Chattanooga History Center and Cornerstones, Inc., Chattanooga's historic preservation organization.
Profile Image of Carol Burton
Carol Burton View biography
Carol Burton attended Dalton State College, where she began her 16 years as a Road Scholar coordinator with its Center for Educational Adventure. Married to her childhood sweetheart, she grew up in Hampton, Va., and moved to Georgia in 1970. Carol said she was born with a love for animals and volunteers with her local humane society.
Profile Image of Tom Morley
Tom Morley View biography
Tom Morley’s musical career spans thirty years and a host of genres. He's played Celtic, bluegrass, classical, swing, Americana and country honky tonk, earning a gold album for his work with “new traditionalist” country artist John Anderson. Classically trained with a degree in music education, Tom's followed his passion for Irish traditional music for the past two decades. Tom teaches privately and at fiddle workshops and string camps around the U.S., including Boston's Fiddle Hell Gathering and the John C. Campbell Folk School.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Chattanooga's Terminal Station (TN)
by Justin W. Strickland
Long before Glenn Miller made the world-famous "Chattanooga Choo Choo" an American icon, Chattanooga was already a bustling railroad community. By the beginning of the 20th century, passenger trains overwhelmed Chattanooga's two railroad depots and a larger station was needed. The solution was Terminal Station, which rivaled most Southern depots in size, expense, and aesthetic beauty. Providing transportation to cities throughout the country, the terminal made its mark as the gateway for rail from the agricultural south to the industrial north. Following its closure, the terminal was reopened as a renowned hotel and entertainment complex in 1973, becoming one of Chattanooga's many exciting attractions. Images of Rail: Chattanooga's Terminal Station follows the history of this depot in both stories and photographs.
Chattanooga Landmarks (TN): Exploring the History of the Scenic City (The History Press) [Paperback]
by Jennifer Crutchfield
Chattanooga's history and heritage are embodied in the historical sites, structures and groundbreaking feats of engineering that have defined the city from its beginning. Many of the Scenic City's most important landmarks are still preserved. Yet with so many fascinating historic sites and storied destinations, seeing them all is no easy task. Fortunately, Chattanooga Landmarks offers a helpful survey of the most historically significant sites in the city and the surrounding area. Join Chattanooga local Jennifer Crutchfield as she guides you through the city's historic wonders, both natural and man-made. From the top of Lookout Mountain down to the banks of the Tennessee River and through downtown, Chattanooga Landmarks covers the breadth of the historic sites that make this Tennessee city a landmark all its own.
My Tripp to Chattanooga
by Linda Winters, Micki Brawley Amos
Told through the eyes of eight-year-old Micki as she relates her adventures in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She takes you to an aquarium and an amusement park; to an underground waterfall and a Civil War Battlefield; on a fast ride down the River Gorge and a fast slide down a hill on a piece of cardboard; a walk across a glass bridge and a stroll along a train depot. She rides a Duck and holds a creepy, crawly hissing cockroach; and much, much more.
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6 days
5 nights
12 meals
5 B 3 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Chattanooga, TN
D
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chattanooga Downtown

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After checking in and receiving your key at the front desk, please go to the conference room located near the lobby area to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived. Orientation 5:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and requirements throughout the program.] Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren during the program. Children are never to be left unsupervised.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Afterwards we'll have a "Getting to Know You" activity with grandparents and grandkids. This program features many different opportunities for learning and doing things together. Intergenerational relationships are the key as we learn with and from one another.

DAY
2
History, Train Ride, River Boat Cruise, Choo Choo Terminal
Chattanooga, TN
B,L,D
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chattanooga Downtown

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 25 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; paved and uneven terrain. Getting on/off a train with 3 steps up. Boarding the river boat for a cruise of about one to one and a half hours long.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will begin today’s adventure with a history of Chattanooga given by our expert who has taught numerous programs for Road Scholar in Chattanooga. Kids will enjoy this summary of history, as well as adults. Next, we'll take a motorcoach ride to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, where we’ll hear from an expert about the exciting history of Chattanooga following the call for “all aboard” on a shortline railroad ride. We’ll cross Chickamauga Creek and pass through the pre-Civil War Missionary Ridge tunnel that became the hub of local railroading activity in the early 1900s. We’ll see a turntable demonstration and explore the railroad repair shop, where we’ll learn how the railroad was built, how railroads are maintained today, and about the lives of those who fought here. Afterwards, we will return to the hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will walk two blocks to board the Southern Belle River Boat for a narrated cruise on the Tennessee River that will introduce you to Chattanooga and the historical significance the city played in the Civil War! It is approximately one to one and a half hours long. The rest of the afternoon will be free time.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We’ll travel by motorcoach to the 106-year old Chattanooga Choo Choo Terminal, where we’ll enjoy stories of this majestic station, see train cars, and learn more about the famous Terminal significant in its role of the train era with its “Track 29”. Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening will be free.

DAY
3
Horsin' Around Carving School, Coolidge Park, Space Center
Chattanooga, TN
B,L
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chattanooga Downtown

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 40 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; some uneven, paved terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will board the motorcoach and ride to Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, for a field trip to the Horsin’ Around Carousel Carving School, the only one in the country. We will see firsthand the students’ carving ability and master carvers at work as we learn of their role in the restoration of the antique 1894 Dentzel carousel with 54 carved animals at Coolidge Park on the Chattanooga waterfront. We will then ride to the carousel and pick a favorite animal to ride before returning to the hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: For our next field trip, we will ride to the Challenger Center. The UTC Challenger Learning Center is a member of the National Challenger Center Network that has 45 centers located in the United States, Great Britain, South Korea and Canada. The Challenger Centers were built as a living memorial for the crew of the Challenger Space Shuttle mission that ended in tragedy on January 28, 1986. In the Mission Control room, designed after NASA Johnson Space Center and an orbiting space station, we will “fly” simulated space missions before returning to the hotel. After leaving the Challenger Space Center, we'll stop over at the IMAX Theater for a 45 min movie to be announced.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Rock City and Ruby Falls, Sleepover at the TN Aquarium
Chattanooga, TN
B,L,D
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chattanooga Downtown

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 15 miles, less than 1 hour. At Rock City, walking 100-foot trail; 35 stairs in sets of 4-5 stairs with handrails; uneven, inclines. Ruby Falls building entrance handicapped accessible, cave not wheelchair accessible. Elevator down to starting point of cave walk, approximately 4/5 of a mile each way; hard packed dirt, uneven paths, no seating. Participants must be able to remain comfortably on their feet up to 90 minutes.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll hop aboard the motorcoach for a field trip to Lookout Mountain, famous for its many unusual geological features, and Rock City. Situated atop the mountain at 1,700 feet above sea level — with a 100-foot waterfall that cascades down the mountain and the famous Swing-A-Long Bridge that spans nearly 200 feet — Rock City is a true marvel of nature, featuring massive ancient rock formations, gardens with over 400 native plant species, and breathtaking panoramic views of seven states. We’ll take an unforgettable journey along the Enchanted Trail, where each step reveals natural beauty and wonders along the woodland path. The magic of Fairyland Caverns is a favorite for kids and grands.

Lunch: At a restaurant atop Lookout Mountain.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our learning adventure on top of Lookout Mountain as we explore Ruby Falls. It is unique: a 145-foot underground waterfall more than 1,120 feet beneath the mountain’s surface. The fascinating story of the formation of Lookout Mountain, the cave, and Ruby Falls itself, all on the banks of the Tennessee River, is told by the rocks that formed each of these wonders. We’ll learn about the rich history of this cave from a Ruby Falls docent — a story that includes Native Americans, cave explorers, notorious outlaws, Civil War soldiers, and even a President of the United States. Returning to the hotel, we’ll have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Grandparents and grandkids will be spending the night at the Tennessee Aquarium. If grandparents decide they do not want to sleepover at the aquarium, then that's ok. Grandchildren may go without their grandparents. We will have enough chaperones to cover this. The overnight program includes a guided excursion of the aquatic critters, a chance to meet an animal ambassador, evening snack, and Scavenger Hunt After-Dark. We'll snuggle beside stingrays and sturgeons and wake up to a light breakfast. Since we have included the VIP Experience, our group will enjoy a behind-the-scenes look as we help wake up the wildlife.

DAY
5
Behind the Scenes TN Aquarium, Duck Boat Land to Sea, Music
Chattanooga, TN
B,D
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chattanooga Downtown

Activity note: Walking at the Tennessee Aquarium is approximately 1-2 hours. Standing during behind the scenes at aquarium is at least one hour. Getting on/off duck boat is 4-5 steps up into the boat.

Breakfast: At the aquarium.

Morning: We'll wake up from our sleepover at the aquarium to take a peek behind the doors to see what it takes to feed and care for the aquarium animals. Led by an aquarium educator, you'll participate in feeding some of the marine life and learn about the food requirements of some of the aquatic animals.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: We’ll all meet up at a specific location near our hotel and on the Tennessee River to board an authentic WWII amphibious landing craft, built specifically for the D-Day invasion, to enjoy an historic trip through downtown Chattanooga before splashing into the Tennessee River at Ross' Landing for an historical and ecological exploration of the river and the Chattanooga Waterfront. More than just a ride—it’s an adventure!

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: This evening we will enjoy a musical presentation for kids and grands.

DAY
6
Wrap-up Session, Program Concludes
Chattanooga, TN
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 p.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In the hotel classroom with our group leader we will review what we’ve seen and learned as share our fondest memories of this time together. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.