Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum#7 in Best Things To Do in Chattanooga
Price & Hours
Instead of showcasing Tennessee's railroad industry behind glass and velvet stanchions, the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum shows you first-hand how the trains operated: by taking you on a ride. The mobile museum is a series of passenger cars built in the early 1900s powered by either steam or diesel engines.
How you experience the trains varies, as the TVRM operates several different routes. The basic excursion is the Missionary Ridge Local. On this hourlong trip, museumgoers embark on a 6-mile round-trip journey to learn about the history of railroads and how they operate from a knowledgeable guide. The trip also includes a turntable demonstration, which rotates the train for the trip back to Chattanooga, as well as a quick tour of the museum's restoration center. As an added bonus, you can also choose whether you'd like to take the trip with a steam or diesel engine train at the time of booking. If you'd like a longer ride, consider the Chickamauga Turn, which lasts six hours and takes you to Chickamauga, Georgia, to explore its Civil War heritage. The museum also runs a serious of holiday-themed excursions, including a North Pole trip that travelers say is great for kids.
Previous riders said the museum is a must-visit site for train buffs. They particularly enjoyed the turntable experience. Traveling with a partner? Travelers say one of the dinner rides is a unique date night.
Each of the rides at the TVRM operates on a different schedule, so availability can change frequently. Check the website before you go and book tickets online to make sure you get the trip you want. Tickets start at $19 for riders 13 and older and $13 for children ages 2 to 12; infants younger than 2 ride for free. The museum is located 8 miles east of downtown.
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#1 Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park
Along with natural attractions and a notable role in history of the rail industry, Chattanooga is known for being a Civil War battleground. The Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park is the oldest and largest of America's Civil War parks, encompassing several different sections of land both north and south of the Tennessee-Georgia border. During the Civil War, Chattanooga was considered to be an attractive area for its railroads and location, earning the title of the "Gateway of the Deep South." In 1863, battles broke out in various areas in Chickamauga and Chattanooga, with both the Union and Confederate troops experiencing victories and losses.
The park is headquartered at Chickamauga, Georgia, which is about 9 miles south of downtown Chattanooga. Visitors looking to stay in Tennessee are still within reach of many important war sites, including Orchard's Knob, the Chattanooga National Cemetery, Signal Point, Lookout Mountain and various areas along the Missionary Ridge. Those with a tight itinerary (and who already have plans to visit Ruby Falls, Rock City or ride the Incline Railway), should visit Lookout Mountain's Point Park, the site of the "Battle Above the Clouds," and the Battles for Chattanooga Museum.
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