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All aboard the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel! We are heading home from Kansas City but spending the night on a train?! Yes you read that right, this really cool hotel is a train! Pulling up, the main building is actually a train station, how fun is that? We all were pumped to stay and experience this unique hotel. I think Tim was the most excited. He grew up being around trains and railroads his whole life, so this is amazing!
We couldn’t wait to get to our room, a real train car! Awesome!! Tim was having a blast and I think he was the biggest kid in the room, especially with all those lights! And if you listen closely, the music in the train station sounds just like Tower of Terror at Disney! We hit downtown Chattanooga to see the town and find some dinner before going back to our train car for a good night’s sleep.
Get your ticket ready for the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel in the video!
Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel
Once owned and operated by the Southern Railway, the Terminal Station in Chattanooga was saved from demolition after the withdrawal of passenger rail service in the early 1970s, and it is now part of a 30-acre (12-hectare) resort complex, including the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel, and numerous historical railway exhibits. Hotel guests can stay in half of a restored passenger railway car. Dining at the complex includes the Gardens restaurant in the Terminal Station itself, The Station House (which is housed in a former baggage storage room and known for its singing waitstaff) and the “Dinner in the Diner” which is housed in a restored 1941 Class A dining car.
In the year 1973, local businessmen bought the Terminal Station, three years after it closing down, and they renamed it the Chattanooga Choo Choo after the Glenn Miller song, and began rehabilitating the building into a hotel. Today, the complex includes a convention center, hotel and resort with restaurants and shops. Some parts of the complex are connected by a heritage streetcar line, operated by a 1924-built ex-New Orleans Perley Thomas trolley car. Hotel guests and customers can reserve a completely refurbished and restored authentic sleeper cars, some of which are salvaged from the same trains that used to run through Terminal Station. The rooms have a Victorian theme, meant to resemble the early 1900s, when the train cars were actually running.
We absolutely loved staying in the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. We can’t wait to come back. Be aware, this is a remodeled train. While very comfortable, it’s not a luxury resort. The lavatory is a little tight for adults. The shape doesn’t lend itself to quality viewing of the TV from all areas of the room, at once. These are minor things, but worth a mention before booking your stay.
The Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Chattanooga offered a tremendous number of activities for our family to experience! In fact, we’re planning a return trip to enjoy some of the activities that we missed.
We decided to go up to Ruby Falls on Lookout Mountain. Ruby Falls is a spectacular underground waterfall. That’s right, an underground waterfall! Standing at it’s base, you are nearly 1,100 feet underground. The Falls themselves are about 145′ tall.
To access the underground home of Ruby Falls, you take an elevator down 640′ to the main cavern. Then, it’s about a 3/4 mile hike to the Falls, but don’t worry, you have a guide leading you the whole way with lots of stalagmites and stalactite cave formations to ponder.
At the same Lookout Mountain location, you can visit Lookout Mountain, Rock City, and the Zipstream Aerial Adventure (zip line). Ruby Falls offers various deals, based on how many of these attractions you’d like to visit, but we only did Ruby Falls and it cost us about $19.95 per adult and $12.95 per child.
They also have a playground and gem panning at the main Ruby Falls location that we enjoyed. For $10, we got a bag of dirt with “gems” inside. It was plenty for both kids to pan for gems and walk away with a bag of gems for each. You can see that whole process in the video, above.
In addition to these activities, Chattanooga also has a children’s museum and activity center, whitewater rafting, fishing, and more! Additionally, we found that Chattanooga had a lot of great local restaurants. The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce has a great app that we used to find things to do and experience in the area.