6 Steps To Entertaining Children in Knoxville When It Is Too Cold To Be Outside
(Funnily enough this also works when it is too hot to be outside as well.)
1) Ride the free trolley around downtown and UT campus.
This is the most important step. It may actually be the only step you need. My nieces had so much fun riding the trolley, I had to bribe them to get off.
2) Drop into the free McClung Museum on campus.
The kids are always fascinated by the mummy and they spent forever coloring in the Native Peoples of Tennessee exhibit. The orange line of the trolley stops by the Torchbearer nearby or you can get a 2 hour parking pass for Circle Park from the attendant. And did I mention it is free?
3) Search for elves downtown. (You can only do this thru Jan 7th).
I didn't think this would be such a hit but I did this on 3 different days over the holidays with 8 children total who all loved it. You can ride the orange trolley line from the McClung Museum to Gay Street to start the elf hunt at Frussie's Deli. Get a sandwich here or a pick up a delicious cookie to entice whiny children later.
4) Split a large cheese pizza at Tomato Head on Market Square.
Tomato Head is always a good move whether it is 30 degrees or 100 outside. This is where most of the $20 for the day went- 1 large, cheese pizza to split and a small beer just for me.
5) Strike a pose by the mostly frozen waterfall at Krutch Park.
Impress people by saying you went to the park when they know it is well below freezing. The kids really did like looking at the ice on the little stream in the park. We spent some time making sure we couldn't see any frozen fish in there before we decided we were too frozen ourselves to look anymore.
6) Take in the view from the observation deck of the Sunsphere.
Take the elevator to the 4th floor and see if you can see any snow on top of the Smokies. The cold weather actually makes it easier to see farther than you can in the hazy summer. Optional step: walk over to the free Museum of Art to enjoy the exhibits and the Creative Corner where the kids can play and make their own art. Again, free and warm.
January and February can be brutal in Knoxville, too cold or icy to go outside but rarely enough snow to play. If you have run out of things to do around the house and just need to get out, try heading to downtown Knoxville for a day. It's always fun for the kiddos and if you plan it right, you can do it without spending a lot of cash, always a plus. We spent just under $20 total on lunch and 2 cookies from Frussies Deli for 3 kids and 1 adult. That's tough to beat for a fun day out.