Friday, January 30, 2015

Free Things to Do with Kids in Knoxville, Tennessee

Families with kids that are looking for an inexpensive getaway will find plenty of completely free things to do in Knoxville, Tennessee. I never cease to be amazed at all the city has to offer. Many of the completely free things to do with kids are in the downtown area of Knoxville. That makes getting to these sites easy on the gas budget. Plus, all of them have free parking.

Knoxville Museum of Art
Families may enjoy visiting the Knoxville Museum of Art. Exhibits include different types of art and can also include photography. Parking is available adjacent to the museum.

Fort Kid
This playground is across the street from the Knoxville Museum of Art. Volunteers built it in the early 1990s. Knoxville is slowly phasing out this kids playground. It appears on this list of free things to do in Knoxville with kids because as of this writing, Fort Kid is still open.

World's Fair Park

Put this on your list of completely free things to do in Knoxville with kids. Knoxville bustled with activity during the 1982 World's Fair. Today the site is a free city park. There is a small lake, greenway, splash pad and paved trail. Visitors with kids can spend an afternoon or all day here.

I usually park in the garage at the corner of 11th street and Cumberland Ave. For visitors coming from downtown the garage will be on your right. The entrance is immediately before you make the turn onto 11th to get to the art museum. It's free, easy to navigate with kids, convenient to the World's Fair Park and is essentially beside the Knoxville Museum of Art.

If I am only going to visit the art museum I don't park in the garage. I use the free parking lot that is adjacent to the museum or Fort Kid.

Sunsphere
Kids won't want to miss the free Sunsphere. It's the tall golden globe that sits on top of a large tower-type structure. It dates back to the 1982 World's Fair and is another one of the completely free things to do in Knoxville with kids.

Take the elevator at the base of the Sunsphere to the fifth floor. This takes  you to the glass enclosed observation deck. Visitors walk around the free deck to get a 360 degree view of Knoxville. Educational displays explain what you see in front of you. However, don't spoil the kids' fun by telling them that the displays are educational. It can be our little secret.

East Tennessee Veterans Memorial
The memorial is even more striking at night. Even kids will be impressed. Lights illuminate the tall granite markers bear the names of over 6,200 veterans from across Tennessee. Each one gave their life in honor of our country. A bell tower stands to the rear. Overshadowing the monument is a 5 story flagpole.
Splash pad at the World's Fair Park
For kids, this is literally a cool free place to be in the summer. Bring kids, swimsuits and towels. The interactive fountains spray water high in the air so it can come splashing down. It's free and kids love it but adults may not want to get too close.

Volunteer Landing Park
Another spot in Knoxville for kids is Volunteer Landing on the Tennessee River. It is one of the free things to do in Knoxville with kids that the entire family can enjoy. Each section has unique features and two of the free sections are perfect for kids.

The first section is the Volunteer Landing Park Central. It has its own free parking lot. Bring your towels again. Kids have another splash pad to play in plus lots of other activities.

Parking for Volunteer Landing Park East is near Gateway Center and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It too is free. There is a statue that commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Holston and swings for the kids.


Kids will never be bored with this list of  free things to do in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Previously published on Yahoo Voices in Spring 2009.