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Knoxville is chock full of kid-friendly activities, both indoors and out. And as the closest big city to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, your little ones can spend some serious time exploring the outdoors. Here are the five best things to do with kids in Knoxville:
1. Go to the Knoxville Zoo. See more than 900 exotic and domestic animals in exhibits that include Black Bear Falls, Grasslands Africa, Meerkat Lookout, Chimp Ridge, Kids Cove and lots more. The zoo is well known for its red panda breeding program and its white rhinos.
2. Explore the Ijams Nature Center. This wildlife sanctuary and environmental education center sits on more than 275 acres and offers seven miles of nature trails. There’s also an exhibit hall that includes displays of animals native to East Tennessee.
3. Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge. Twenty minutes outside of Knoxville, this Oak Ridge museum has an abundance of exhibits, including a giant walk-through dollhouse, a simulated rainforest, and depictions of life here during the Manhattan Project-era of World War II.
4. Play at Concord Park. This 500-acre park in the nearby suburban community of Farragut offers a boat ramp and marina, a nature trail, mountain biking, fishing, picnicking, a playground, tennis courts, a golf course and even a beach.
5. Enjoy Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The country’s most visited national park, located 40 miles east of Knoxville, offers top-notch ranger programs, nature trails, hiking, horseback riding, picnic areas, scenic drives, historic pioneer buildings and plenty of opportunities to see wildlife.