The Ultimate Guide to Knoxville Summer Fun
Knoxville Summer Fun for the Whole Family
- Go on a safari! Briarwood Ranch Safari Park is open in Morristown, and your little ones will absolutely love seeing all of these amazing animals.
- Regal just released their lineup for the Kids Summer Movie Express. All movies are $2 on Tuesday/Wednesday all summer long. Check your local theater to find out the specific time.
- Believe it or not, you can still see movies on the big screen! Parkway Drive-In Theatre in Maryville and LoCo Drive-In in Loudon are both open!
- Let your kids cook you a meal for once, or at the very least, learn to cook yourself a meal at FlourPower Kids Cooking Studios!
- Take a free trip up to the observation deck of the Sunsphere.
- Zoo Knoxville just opened the new otter exhibit. Make sure to check it out!
- Where’s Waldo? You tell me after you participate in the Where’s Waldo Scavenger Hunt downtown during the month of July.
- Enjoy a First Friday at least once this summer.
- Spend a day giving back to the wonderful community you live in.
- There are tons of putt-putt options just across the way in Pigeon Forge, but if you want to stay close, play a round at Sir Gooney’s or Putt-Putt Golf & Games.
- Take some beautiful family photos at UT Gardens.
Knoxville Summer Eats
- What would summer be without ice cream? Start the season off right with some of the best in town, whether it’s Cruze Farm Ice Cream, Phoenix Pharmacy & Soda Fountain, or Kilwins. Use our Knoxville Moms guide to pick your perfect ice cream spot!
- Shaved ice, the perfect summertime treat. Find some at Pelican’s Snoballs or SnoBiz in Lenoir City.
- Once they reopen, enjoy dining at the amazing food truck parks here in Knoxville: Central Filling Station or Southside Garage! Food trucks = plenty of food options for the little ones!
- Start your summer day off right with a donut! For a list of the best donut shops in Knoxville, see our Knoxville Moms guide.
- What kid doesn’t like pizza?? Find your perfect pie with our Knoxville Moms pizza guide!
- It doesn’t get much better than dining al fresco during the summer! Enjoy a meal outside on one of Knoxville’s best restaurant patios.
- It’s iced coffee season! Pick one up at one of these great local coffee shops.
Knoxville Summer Outdoor Adventures
- Rent a pedal boat, SUP, kayak, bike or canoe at Adventure Outdoors.
- Chances are, if you’ve already been tubing, you’ve heard of a little place called the “Wye.” But it’s not just for tubing. Set up a picnic and go swimming.
- After that, you can see the sights of the Smokies with some relatively easy hiking trails.
- Go on a swimming hole scavenger hunt.
- Buy a pair of binoculars and plan a visit to Seven Islands State Birding Park. With over 190 species of birds sighted, your kids can be regular old ornithologists too!
- Don’t forget to explore all of the amazing parks Knoxville has to offer.
- Nature lesson alert! Go pick your own fruit at these pick-your-own farms.
- Admire the scenic gardens at Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum.
- Have you been to South Knoxville lately? If not, you should pay a visit! SO much good stuff is happening over there, like Suttree Landing Park, Baker Creek Preserve Adventure Play Area and the new Nature Playscape at Ijams Nature Center.
- Check out the great fruit and veggie patches around town or visit a Farmers’ Market with the kids!
- Witness nature in all of its beauty during the synchronous firefly season, even if you didn’t win the lottery.
- Make a kite and fly it at the picture-perfect location: World’s Fair Park.
- Break out the frisbee and play a round of disc golf at Victor Ashe, Admiral Farragut, Plumb Creek and Morningside parks.
- Be one with nature at Ijams Nature Center!
- Spend the day at Knoxville’s “beach.”
- While Knoxville doesn’t have a ton of pool options, there are quite a few options within a 30-minute drive. One of my favorites is Springbrook Pool, but there’s also Karns Pool and the Oak Ridge Outdoor Pool.
- It’s picnic season! Truly you could spend several days picnicking in the best spots around town.
- Go belly up, down the Little River from the comfort of a tube.
- Live the ultimate summer dream. Rent a pontoon boat and celebrate the season in all its glory.
- See the Smoky Mountains like you’ve never seen them before, from a hot air balloon.
- Get on your bike and peddle! Use our Knoxville Moms guide to find a family-friendly bicycle ride!
- Cool off by splashing in one of Knoxville’s splash pads! For a complete list, see our Knoxville Moms guide.
Worth the Drive
- Pitch a tent at a nearby campground, break out the s’mores and then share some spooky ghost stories.
- Go on a family-friendly daytrip.
- Go for a boat ride underground by exploring the Lost Sea.
- If you’re willing to drive a little way, you can ride a llama or alpaca!
- And if llamas or alpacas are too edgy for you, there’s always traditional horseback riding.
- Staying there might cost a pretty penny, but you could always take your kids for a drive to see a real-life castle: the Williamswood Castle, that is.
- Put your toes in the sand! Knoxville Moms has compiled a list of the 20+ beaches near Knoxville.
Fun at Home
- Let your kids set up a lemonade stand (or something else fun) and consider visiting and donating the proceeds to any of Knoxville’s great local nonprofits.
- Buy all the things at the Dollar Tree, and craft until your heart’s content. Or for that matter, let your kids go crazy and give them $10 to spend.
- Visit your nearest KARM and buy some board games or puzzles for a family game night!
- Let Dolly Parton read your kids a bedtime story.
- Have a Retro ’90s Family Movie Night from the comfort of your own home. Or you if you really want to up your game, rent a projector and have an outdoor movie night.
Knoxville Learning Fun
- Admission AND parking are free at McClung Museum, so family fun days are an absolute must.
- Just because the kids are out of school doesn’t mean they can’t still brush up on their history. There are some terrific historic sites a hop, skip and a jump away. Why not start with the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center?
- Take a trip back in time over 200 years to James White Fort.
- Tour the historic Mabry-Hazen house.
- Visit the birthplace of Tennessee, the Blount Mansion.
- Take advantage of free admission to the Knoxville Museum of Art!
- So many great summer camps, so little time!
Knoxville Indoor Fun
- Don’t just see the Circus, be the Circus at Dragonfly Aerial and Arts Studio or Elevation Arts and Fitness.
- Perhaps one of my favorite activities: paint pottery at Liza Moz Pottery or Mighty Mud.
- Shoot some hoops and then take a tour around the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
- Save the hottest day of the year for indoor ice skating or hockey at Cool Sports or the Ice Chalet.
- Even if you don’t like bowling, you’ll still have a great time and a good meal at Maple Hall Bowling Alley, probably one of my favorite spots in town. And even if you don’t like bowling, they’ve got a separate parlor for board games.
- Strengthen those arm muscles at Onsight Rock Gym.
- Let your child’s imagination run rampant with creativity at the Knoxville Arts & Fine Crafts Center.