In Knoxville, a rather large city, there are many places where you can experience nature in a surprising way. Ijams Nature Center is one of these places but it is one of the top places, as voted by local residents. We have wanted to go to this 304-acre urban greenspace for some time, but something always prevented us from actually making it over there.
Finally, a friend invited me over there. She has three daughters about my children’s ages and we all loaded up picnic food in the cars and went to visit after church. The place is free to visit, but there are paid activities inside. We just wanted to let the kids walk around and experience the nature. They have play areas made out of natural materials – branches, leaves, or wood. It’s called a playscape.
They have picnic tables everywhere. One could hike the trails, look at the animals they keep in there, the frogs in the pond, the birds flying all over etc. There is a boardwalk on the banks of the Tennessee River. They have a quarry and birding trails. One visit clearly cannot cover it all.
And that’s the point. We want to go back there on a regular basis. It is so peaceful. Of course, the place can be rented for different events – weddings, birthdays etc. The scouts use it on a regular basis for their activities. It’s just a wonderful natural setting and lots of people visit, but never to an overwhelming degree.
They organize all sorts of programs for different groups and they also offer summer camps. There’s something for any nature enthusiast out there. If you are ever in the area, you should definitely consider visiting Ijams.