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Tennessee Parks and Wildlife Preserves

Spend time relaxing and strolling through a park to see what Tennessee has to offer. Chattanooga is laid out in a way that encourages natural exploration, with preserves being integrated into the city.

Birdwatchers are in for a treat when they come to Tennessee! There are several varieties of bird species that make for a diverse birding experience such as the bald eagle, magnolia warbler, black-throated warbler, blue heron, belted kingfisher, eastern bluebird, saw-whet owl, and many, many more.

Now that you know what you are looking for, it's time to find out where you can find these amazing creatures.
kingfisher sitting on a tree branch

Parks and Preserves

Fall Creek Falls State Park
 Very well known for its waterfalls. 

Coolidge Park

  • Hours: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Coolidge Park is at the heart of Chattanooga. It is an easily accessible city park that allows you to see the city buildings, while giving you a hint of nature in the middle of industry. This park also has a carousel. Coolidge Park is a fairly good bird-watching location, but not the best in the area. You are far more likely to find smaller mammals like red squirrels, raccoons, and shrews instead of birds. So grab your kayak or paddleboard and make your way over to Maclellan Island.

MacLellan Island
One of the famous bird refuges in Tennessee, MacLellan Island lies in the middle of the Tennessee River, giving the avian creatures a place to hide and live their lives. There are walking trails on the island (they are about 2 miles long) that are perfect for young birders.

Audubon Acres
Speaking of birds, the National Audubon Society also has a popular refuge just outside of town. Audubon birds thrive here, and it has become a favorite tourist attraction for many people. You can learn about the peregrine falcon through interacting up close. If you are looking for a 2-3 hour activity, Avian Discovery Days might be for you!

Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center
  • Hours: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

If you are looking to get closer to nature, come to the Reflection Riding Nature Center. You can walk through the forest and see animals on the trail. A great place to relax and learn.

Signal Mountain
This nearby suburb is renowned for its hikes, walking trails, and all-encompassing nature. If you want to see some amazing panoramas of the city, Signal Mountain could be a go-to place.

Booker T. Washington State Park
Those wanting to avoid the city altogether should drive to Booker T. Washington State Park. You can take riverside hikes, take pictures of local wildlife, and grab a bite to eat in the local suburbs. All you have to do is cross the reserve.

Nickajack Cave
Nickajack Cave is a refuge for aquatic animals and bats. It also is far removed from Chattanooga, which is perfect for somebody wanting to see the full array of wildlife Tennessee houses. It may be a longer drive than every other park and refuge, but the sights you'll see are worth it. The Restrooms are closed from November until the Spring.

Eagle flying in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee

Need More Information?

People wanting a natural vacation where they can be outside at all times will be happy to visit Tennessee, in general, and Chattanooga, in particular. For more information, visit Tennessee's Wildlife Refuge page.

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