Knoxville, Tennessee might be a small southern town, but it is big on attractions for both its residents and visitors. When Knoxville's summer humidity gets too stifling, or when it's pouring rain, there are still plenty of indoor places to take your children. For families with toddlers, many of Knoxville's popular attractions offer toddler-friendly activities and spaces.
Pump It Up (pumpitup.org) is perfect for those rainy days when your energized toddler is tearing up your house. This play center features wall-to-ceiling inflatables, including gigantic slides, obstacle courses and bounce houses. Pump It Up also features a toddler-only play area with smaller inflatables, and offers special hours where the whole place is for toddlers only. You can almost guarantee your kid will be wiped out and ready for a nap or bedtime after a couple of hours of non-stop jumping and climbing. Taking swimming lessons with your toddler provides a healthy physical activity and also helps toddlers learn survival skills in the water to avoid drowning. Adventure Swim (adventureswim.com) offers several indoor swim classes for toddlers and their parents. Lessons include games that will help your tot become more comfortable in the water.
The Science Discovery Center (etdiscovery.org) is the ideal place to bring the curious and inquisitive toddler. Exhibits include insect collections, a honeybee colony, optical illusions and a planetarium. Toddlers will especially enjoy digging up fossils and playing in the Kidspace and Lego Lab, both designed for its youngest visitors. Kidspace features science-themed, age-appropriate activities and Lego Lab is full of Lego's for your tot to build whatever he wants. Don't let poor weather stop you from taking your toddler to the Knoxville Zoo (knoxville-zoo.org). There is a special indoor interactive area designed just for toddler and preschool-aged kids, called Wee Play Zoo. This play space features costumes to dress up as zoo staff, stuffed zoo animals and pretend to be a vet or a zookeeper with the various sets and toys available. Other activities at Wee Play Zoo includes puppet shows and story-time.
Switch up your usual story time by taking your toddler to the library for a group reading. The Knox County Public Library (kcpl.lib.in.us) offers weekly story time where a librarian will read a toddler-friendly book. If your tot loves the story, you can always check out the book to read it to him again at home. Another place that offers regular story time readings is the Smart Toys and Books Store (smarttoysandbooks.com). There is a new theme and a related book offered during story time each week. Aside from reading, the store also offers parent and child art classes, as well as music and movement courses for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
The Little Gym in Knoxville (thelittlegym.com/knoxvilleTN.com) is always a good go-to for getting your toddler's energy out, working on those gross motor skills and teaching him something new. Toddlers are grouped into classes by age and lessons include music, dance, tumbling, singing and games. Another kiddie gym in the area to check out is Gym Bugs (gymbugs.com). This gym focuses primarily on dance activities for children as young as one. Open gym is available, and includes a kiddie play area, a ball pit, trampoline and even a tot-sized roller coaster. Toddler and parent classes at Gym Bugs include introductory gymnastic moves and musical games.