2 New Options for Family Fun in Chattanooga

Chattanoogans have two new options for active fun. A new climbing and fitness center in the heart of downtown, and a jump park on the rapidly growing southside. Both offer a chance for kids and adults to have fun while getting in a good workout.

High Point Climbing Gym opened on December 3, 2013. Local real estate agent Brandi Pearl Thompson visited in February with her family and says, “It’s beautiful and so much high point gym outside at nightfun!”

The gym is visually stunning as well as being fun. Special lighting makes the building appear to glow at night, and the exterior is constructed of extra-strong, translucent plastic — so climbers can look out across the plaza around the Tennessee Aquarium. Kids as young as three are welcome to use any of the climbing rooms except the bouldering room (where people climb without the same safety gear).

High Point offers more than just climbing; it’s a complete fitness facility that includes a weight room, a yoga room, and an aerobic room with treadmills, a stair climber, and spin bikes. High Point also hosts a climbing school where students of any level learn, practice, and become better climbers.

Across town, The Jump Park opened in February 2014, giving us all a place to jump around. A trampoline park, featuring over 50 connected trampolines (18,000+ square feet!), The Jump Park also has a game room and a foam pit. There are no age restrictions, and kids and adults alike can enjoy a jumping good time. Parents/guardians are welcome to simply observe the kids jumping, but why would you want to do that? The fun’s in the jumping!

The Jump Park can be rented for birthday parties and other events. While no one on thenoogalife team has visited the park yet, we are all eager to do so. Have you been to either facility? What did you think?


Chattanooga Shopping, Adventure, Films, and More!

A week of wonderful weather had Chattanoogans out enjoying the beautiful city. The good news: there’s more warm weather and fun stuff to come. The bad news: spring in the Tennessee Valley is wildly unpredictable. In the past month we’ve had snow, thunderstorms, rain, ice, sunshine, high winds, and temperatures over 70 degrees! Local meteorologists

Signs of spring!

Signs of spring!

do their best, but spring time offers them a true challenge when it comes to predicting the weather.

Whatever the weather does, there will be plenty to keep you busy around town for the next month or two, as outdoor events crank up. One exciting announcement last week is that the Chattanooga Market will be open on Wednesdays this season. Beginning May 7, the market will be open from 4-7pm on Wednesdays. Look for a round-up style post about all of the local markets in ‘Nooga in the near future.

If you are interested in Stand Up Paddleboarding, or you enjoy stories and photos detailing exciting adventures, you may want to go hear Ben Friberg speak at Outdoor Chattanooga. Ben paddled the Yukon (238 miles!) and will be sharing stories about that trip and others at an indoor event this Wednesday, February 27 (that’s TODAY!).  Bring your own chair if you attend!

Film buffs will want to be sure to attend the Chattanooga International Film Festival, from February 28 to March 2, downtown. Registration is at the Sheraton Read House, and events will be held at both Carmike Majestic Theater and at the Tivoli.

On March 1, the Hart Gallery will host a fundraising event that includes a five course meal. This unusual gallery provides a venue for homeless people to sell their artwork.

These events, and many others, are featured on a few websites. We like to check The Pulse calendar for events, as well as Chattanooga, Take Me There, and the Times Free Press Community Section. If you know about a local event that you’d like to share with our readers, please send me an email (davaleestewart at gmail dot com) and we will be happy to feature it here on thenoogalife.com!

Are You Suffering from a Heart Hangover?

After Halloween, there is too much candy around the house, the office…everywhere! After Thanksgiving, most people are tired of turkey, and afterValentine’s Day, you might be suffering a heart hangover. Too many candy hearts, too many declarations of love and affection might have you feeling ready for something different. Maybe you are ready for some physical activity.

Chattanooga has some wonderfully walkable neighborhoods!

Chattanooga has some wonderfully walkable neighborhoods!

This weekend is the Scenic City Half Marathon, 5K, and Charity Challenge. Online registration will remain open until Wednesday, February 19, and people can register in person at the packet pickup location on Friday. Although there will be no in person registration for the half marathon on race day, participants in the 5K run/walk are welcome to register Saturday before the event begins. A portion of each registration fee goes to one of a number of charities.

If yoga is more your style, check out the Chattanooga Community Yoga group on meetup.com. The group posts inexpensive or free yoga events on their page. This Saturday there is a restorative yoga workshop with free wine and chocolate! Focus on breathing and moving and balancing.

Maybe the path to recovering from your heart hangover involves a little less exercise and a little more science fiction, horror, fantasy, anime, or convention-prone genre? In that case, you should definitely check out Chattanooga’s Multi-Fandom Convention, ConNooga. From February 21-23 the Convention and Trade Center and the Chattanooga Choo Choo complex downtown will be packed with exhibitors, authors, filmmakers, gamers, and fans of all stripes.

Whatever you do this weekend, take advantage of the beautiful vistas and excellent atmosphere in Chattanooga!


Valentine’s Day Factoids

Our friends at Pearl & Associates have put together this infographic with a few interesting facts about Valentine’s Day. Love it or hate it, the history of this holiday is interesting! We hope you enjoy the day, however you choose to spend it. 

Pearl logo dark

V-Day infogram

5 Things to Expect When It Snows in Chattanooga

1. (Kind of) Joking Panic – Chattanoogans laugh at ourselves while we are at the grocery store buying bread “just in case.”

2. Schools will close – Officials in Chattanooga generally prefer safe over sorry. Sometimes the forecast of a possibility of snow is backyard snowenough for schools to be closed.

3. Speculation – When there is the slightest chance of snow, or if a stray flake is spotted, it becomes the main topic of conversation as residents discuss the likelihood of another blizzard like the one in ’93.

4. Businesses will close – Either because kids are out of school, or because people are really afraid to drive (even as they joke about how other people can’t drive in the snow), employees and business owners will stay home when it snows.

5. Muddy snowmen – The barest inch of snow is enough for kids in Chattanooga to build snowpeople, even if there are patches of mud helping hold the snowy constructions together.

Valentine’s Day Is in 2 Weeks – What’s Your Plan?

This post is a friendly reminder that Valentine’s Day is coming up quick. Now is the time to make reservations at your sweetie’s Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 9.51.49 PMfavorite restaurant, if going out is what you prefer to do. It’s also a good time to go ahead and buy cards for kids’ school parties, and supplies to decorate the shoe box. (Is that still a thing? Do kids still decorate shoe boxes for cards to go in?)

To get the ball rolling here are a few ideas for you:

Make dinner reservations, and confirm that your babysitter will be available. It’s a bad idea to procrastinate on either of these things. Waiting in line while hungry is not particularly romantic — especially if you have fidgety kids along!

Start researching recipes for a romantic dinner cooked at home. Cooking and eating together can be more romantic than a restaurant and night out. Make sure you have candles and that you can get all the ingredients you’ll need for a special meal. (You may still want to check in with the babysitter!)

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 9.50.45 PMPlace your order. If you are planning to order a gift online, now is the time! You’ll have plenty of time to make sure your order is correct, wrapped, and perfect.

Buy tickets. This year V-Day falls on a Friday, which means there will be plenty of live entertainment options around town to keep you busy! For example, the Chattanooga Symphony and Orchestra presents vocalist Valerie Duke that night, and The Odd Couple will be performed at the Chattanooga Theater Center.

Plan a weekend getaway. A quick trip may be the perfect way to celebrate your coupledom. If so, now is the time to decide where to go, reserve a room, and arrange all the details.

Create the perfect playlist. Everything is better with music, so take the time to gather some songs that are special for you and your partner. A soundtrack for the night, whether it plays while you roast potatoes, or drive to your destination, can create the right tone and mood for your evening.

Of course there will always be those who don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. A zombie movie marathon might help you forget all about Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 9.51.29 PMthe the hearts, flowers, and chocolates you can’t seem to escape in the middle of February!


Play Games! Thoughts on Hosting a Game Night

Game night is a fun way to spend an evening at home — an appealing proposition for most people during the cold month of January!  Whether you choose to host a poker game with beer and chips, or a more family-friendly board game night, there is no end to the games you can play.

Even the youngest kids can play GoFish or CandyLand, and Trivial Pursuit or Scattergories are fun for most adults. If you prefer a

Even a simple game of cards can be fun.

Even a simple game of cards can be fun.

more high tech game night, something as simple as a WII bowling tournament can be exciting. Even a tic-tac-toe tournament offers a chance to laugh together.

There are endless Pinterest boards and lists of games online, but in the end, the games are not the important part of game night. Game night can be a great way to get to know your neighbors, or a way for parents of small children to enjoy some entertainment.

The point have fun together. Day to day life is stressful. Between work and school, relationships and housework, families are busy. Carving out time to play and laugh and relax together is important.

On New Year’s eve, I attended a party. The hostess had gotten a vintage Spirograph for Christmas — the kind with a whole bunch of pieces that will make about a gazillion different designs. As the clocked ticked down to midnight, a group of people sat around a coffee table choosing colors and laughing when the pen slipped.

In a completely unscientific, unstructured, and possibly unreliable online poll, I asked friends and acquaintances about their favorite games. Monopoly was the clear winner as an overall favorite. Apples to Apples and Scrabble got the most votes for word games, and people also mentioned Dominoes, Twister, and Clue a few times.

What about you? What are your favorite games? Do you do participate in a regular game night?

About the Author: Dava Stewart is a resident of Signal Mountain, freelance writer, mom to two adults, avid reader, and a fan of kids’ movies. You can contact her at dava@smilingtreewriting.com.

What’s Your Favorite Family Movie?

As much as I love Chattanooga, winters here are wet, bleak, and dreary so staying inside and watching movies is a favorite January

Beautiful but bleak.

Beautiful but bleak.

activity. Originally, this post was going to be a review of recent family movies. A friend said, “Frozen may be the best Disney movie ever,” and I thought a quick look at some recent movies that parents and children might enjoy together could be useful for Chattanooga area families. Then, I realized it has been years since I’ve watched a family movie so I’m not really in a position to write any current reviews.

But there are some timeless classics that everyone — children, parents, single people, couples — should see. For me, The Princess Bride tops the list. It has everything from villains to heroes, and Andre the Giant is in it. There is also a valuable vocabulary lesson!

Another for slightly older children is Holes. If you are a family that reads together, you may want to read the book first, but the movie is great too.

If anyone in your family has missed The Sandlot, get to a Redbox, or pull it up on Netflix or OnDemand as soon as possible. Cancel your weekend plans. Make some popcorn and laugh together. It will make you yearn for neighborhood baseball games and childhood friendships.

Once I started thinking about my favorite family movies, I wondered what films hold a special place for others, and put the question

Grab a bowl of popcorn and enjoy a cozy movie night!

Grab a bowl of popcorn and enjoy a cozy movie night!

on Facebook. The Neverending Story was mentioned several times, as was The Black Stallion and The Fox and the Hound. The Wizard of Oz, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Wreck It Ralph, and The Nightmare Before Christmas all came up as well. One classic film fan even brought up the 1933 version of Alice in Wonderland  with Gary Cooper.

There are plenty more family movies that parents enjoy as much as (sometimes more than) their children do. Tell us your favorites in the comments!


About the Author: Dava Stewart is a resident of Signal Mountain, freelance writer, mom to two adults, avid reader, and a fan of kids’ movies. You can contact her at dava@smilingtreewriting.com.


What To Do in Nooga in January

January is a month of recovery for many families. After a month or so of indulgent eating, many people are thinking of health and fitness. The rounds of holiday gatherings and parties from Thanksgiving until New Year’s leaves many people craving some quiet time. And of course, some of us need a month or two to recover financially!

With all of that in mind, here are a few activities that your family may find appealing during the month of January in Chattanooga:

Georgia Winery January Sale


Bundle up for outdoor fun in Nooga in January!

Bundle up for outdoor fun in Nooga in January!

Local wine? Yes, please! Stock up at the Georgia Winery January Sale.

Racoon Mountain Cavern Expedition


For many families in the area, cold temperatures limit time spent outdoors, but you can get in some nature time comfortably exploring the natural caverns at Racoon Mountain.



Take in a performance art extravaganza. That should brighten even the dreariest January Day!



The Chattanooga Area Food Bank Annual fundraiser at Track 29 will feature a miniature “city” for attendees to explore and enjoy. There will be street performers, food, music — all benefitting a great cause!

Game Night

Host a game night – either family game night, or a friendly poker night, or some combination. Sometimes, the best entertainment is the kind enjoyed with friends and family.

These are only a few ideas, of course. There are also plenty of parks, climbing walls, trails for hiking, movie theaters, and more for families in Chattanooga to enjoy. We’d love to hear what your family likes to do. Share your favorite January activities in the comments!

St. Patrick’s Day Fun in Nooga

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? The Nooga Life is here to help! St. Patrick’s Day is Sunday, March 17, and there are lots of Irish-themed activities in Chattanooga to celebrate – although most are being held on Saturday.

The 2nd Annual Double Decker Pub Crawl Shamrock
Ride Chattanooga’s own double decker bus from pub to pub to enjoy a safe and fun St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The first ride kicks off at The Honest Pint at 4pm, then goes to Hair of the Dog, and ends at The Terminal. The bus will rotate between the three bars all evening. The price to ride is FREE – so long as you buy a drink at each of the bars.

Although not on the tour, several other bars and pubs around town will be featuring traditional Irish fare and specials on drinks. If you are out and about, be sure to check out Moccasin Bend Brewery, Tremont Tavern, Market Street Tavern, and McHale’s Brewhouse.

For more kid-friendly fun, you could go to Shamrock City at Rock City. You will find music, Irish jig dancing lessons, Irish food, and lots of fun!

While the circus is not necessarily an especially Irish thing, it is lots of fun, and you can see the “greatest show on Earth” this weekend because the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be in town.

Finally, if you prefer more sophisticated fun, you can enjoy Verdi Requiem performed by the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra at the Tivoli Theater.

As you can see, there is something for everyone this weekend in Chattanooga! Have a fun and safe St. Patrick’s Day!

Keeping the Love Alive in Nooga

Just because it isn’t February 14 doesn’t mean you can’t experience romance in Chattanooga! Most people are busy, with work, with kids, and with life. It’s easy to let romance fall to the wayside. Here are some of our favorite ways

An unexpected bouquet of fresh spring flowers is romantic!

An unexpected bouquet of fresh spring flowers is romantic!

to keep the love alive, no matter the date:

Take a stroll together. We’ve written about which parks are best for small children before, and several from that list can be romantic, as well. Coolidge Park is great for stroll after a romantic dinner at any of the restaurants on the North Shore.

Spend an afternoon in the Bluff View Art District. Enjoy coffee at Rembrandt’s, then enjoy the River Gallery Sculpture Garden, the Hunter Art Museum, or the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts. Finish up with a romantic dinner at Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria.

For a more traditional romantic excursion, visit Chattanooga’s wine and cheese bar: Brix Nouveau. You can enjoy wine, cheese, meats, fresh bread, a beautiful outdoor patio, and an all around excellent atmosphere. There is often live music scheduled, too!

If you and your sweetie prefer a more outdoorsy kind of romance, spend a weekend exploring and camping at Raccoon Mountain. There are extensive hiking trails, campgrounds, cabin rentals, events, and, of course, the caverns to explore.

Share a day, an afternoon, or even an hour of luxury at the Chattanoogan Hotel Spa. Even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, you can make reservations to enjoy a wide range of relaxing and rejuvenating spa services.

Whether your relationship is brand new, well established, or you’ve been together for a million years, some time for romance is always a good thing!

Racing Into Spring in Nooga

Spring time is almost here! And with comes…lots of opportunities to participate in 5k races. Well, and flowers, and blue skies, and spring break, and all sorts of other good stuff. But today we are going to talk about races.

If you are intimidated by the idea of entering a 5k (which is 3.1 miles), don’t be. Many people walk, some do a combination of walking and running, and then there are the real competitors. For the majority ofrunning shoes participants a 5k is a chance to socialize, meet people, and often, to support a good cause.

Here are a few races that are coming up:

The Run with Trish 5K for Team Hoyt will be held on March 2, at the Tennessee River Park. This run is to raise funds to help TeamHoyt compete in the Boston Marathon. They will be competing to support The Hoyt Foundation, which works to help integrate handicapped people into everyday activities so they can lead full and productive lives more easily.

Have some fun and do some good running in the Wash Me Pink Color Run, benefitting the Susan Komen Foundation. “Color runs” are a new kind of event that involve runners being doused with colored corn starch during the race. In this race, runners start out in white shirts, and end up in pink ones!

Raise money for the Greater Chattanooga Colon Cancer Foundation by participating in the Rump Run at Enterprise South Nature Center on March 16. There will be a time 5K, and a 1 mile
fun run/walk.

Also on March 16, but in Ringgold, there is the 14th Annual GraduRUN to raise money for Communities in Schools in Catoosa County. This one has a special category for walkers for those who prefer to take things a little slower.

One of the most anticipated races of this spring is the new Color Me Rad 5K, a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In fact, this one is so anticipated that it is currently sold out, even though the event isn’t until March 30! Check it out, and get on the waiting list.

Another, similar race, Color Me Chattanooga, will be held on April 6, and raises money for the Signal Centers. This is the inaugural Color Me Chattanooga race, and is described as a “colorful and festive non-competitive run/walk.”

These are just a few of the fun running events that will be going on in and around Chattanooga this spring. You can check the RunningUSA site to find more!