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Knoxville fuses rustic, Appalachian wilderness with a cosmopolitan downtown and an energetic college community to create a unique city full of character and charm. The region prides itself on blending big city amenities with a small town feel while enjoying modern conveniences, providing a unique mix of high-rise buildings and log cabin homes overlooking rolling hills and green farmlands.
One of Knoxville’s biggest secrets remains the variety of museums and attractions. From seven first Frontier and Civil War homes to world-class art museums to nature centers and a zoological park, Knoxville has something for everyone, especially families and children.
History buffs can travel back in time at Old Gray Cemetery, trace history at the East Tennessee History Center or relive history at any of the seven first-Frontier and Civil War homes: Armstrong-Lockett House (Crescent Bend), Blount Mansion, Confederate Memorial Hall (Bleak House), James White’s Fort, Mabry-Hazen House, Marble Springs State Historic Farmstead and Ramsey House Plantation.
Guests can learn more about the history of African-Americans in Knoxville and East Tennessee from the late 1800s to the present at Beck Cultural Exchange Center or meet the first admiral of the United States Navy at the Farragut Folklife Museum.
If you would rather be the “star” instead of sitting on the sidelines, then head over to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame to shoot some free throws or perfect your lay-up. While there, you’ll be inspired by the struggles, dedication and triumphs of women’s basketball.
The downtown Knoxville Museum of Art, adjacent to World’s Fair Park, features traveling exhibitions from around the world and a collection of contemporary American art. The Ewing Gallery on the University of Tennessee (UT) campus and its downtown location on Gay Street presents works of contemporary artists and architects. Also on UT’s campus, the Frank H. McClung Museum is a general interest museum with exhibits on archaeology and native peoples of Tennessee, ancient Egypt, decorative arts, geology and fossils, Civil War, local and natural history. Nearby, the Joseph B. Wolffe Gallery offers a collection of 100+ athletic-themed sculptures by R. Tait McKenzie.
Make plans to spend the day at the Knoxville Zoo, home to more than 815 animals from around the world. Realistic habitats offer a glimpse into the nature of such amazing animals as black bears, African elephants, prairie dogs, river otters, chimps and gorillas.
But, wait – there’s more! Take a hike at Ijams Nature Center, a 150-acre nature sanctuary on the banks of the Tennessee River. Just minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown Knoxville, Ijams has more than three miles of mulched and paved trails, a waterfront boardwalk and wildlife viewing areas.
Even the hardest to please will find something to do in Knoxville. The hard part is deciding what to do first!