In the fall, Chattanooga, Tenn., hosts an unforgettable Halloween celebration. During an October visit, the thrills and chills are practically nonstop at attractions such as Rock City, Ruby Falls and the Tennessee Aquarium.
Located in the heart of Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls' Haunted Cavern celebrates the spirit of Halloween. The elevator that descends into the cave is transformed into the Haunted Cavern Hellevator. The cave itself features spooky laboratories and winding passageways decorated with creepy monsters.
Rock City Gardens, also located at Lookout Mountain, celebrates the fall with a corn maze. The 10-acre Enchanted Maize Maze, which is open from Thursday to Sunday through Oct. 29, can be quite scary.
For younger kids who may be frightened by the corn maze, there's a kiddie hay maze. The Rock City farm also features hayrides, pumpkins and a playground.
Halloween is alive and well at the Tennessee Aquarium. Here, the "Thrills and Gills" display includes scary fish such as sharks, barracudas, and piranhas. The family friendly exhibit is entertaining and educational. Information that debunks the myths about these feared fish is presented in a visually appealing manner. Visitors to the aquarium can enter a drawing to win a behind-the-scenes tour to view the biologists who feed the aquarium's most dangerous creatures.
The thrills continue at the aquarium's IMAX theater. In the "Deep Sea 3-D" film, the giant Humboldt squids, a wolf eel and sharks seem to pop out at
viewers. Great white sharks dominate the screen in "Sharks 3-D."
At the Hunter Museum of American Art, the museum will celebrate Halloween with its own activities. This Chattanooga institution is home to a vast collection of American art dating from the colonial era to contemporary times. The part of the museum housed in a 1904 mansion can be quite spooky, while a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt always attracts children of all ages.
Even area hotels offer specials during the Halloween season. At the Chattanooga Choo Choo Holiday Inn, packages include a room, dinner voucher and treat bags for the kids. Tickets to "Chattabooga" attractions include Rock City Gardens' Enchanted Maize and Ruby Falls' Haunted Cavern.
The centrally located Chattanoogan hotel offers easy access to the city's attractions. The hotel offers spacious rooms, a fitness center, pool and spa.
For those in the mood for a different celebration, Rock City hosts "Rocktoberfest" each Saturday in October. This event features German cuisine such as knackwurst, bratwurst, German sauerkraut and Polish sausage and a variety of beer. Local performers dress up in German costumes and lead the chicken dance on the Rock City Polka Stage. Bands such as the Gootman Sauerkraut Band play Bavarian-inspired tunes.
•Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
•Rock City Gardens
•Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern
•Hunter Museum of American Art
•Chattanooga Choo Choo
•The Chattanoogan Hotel
Did you know?
•A ghost hunter visited Chattanooga's Hunter Museum in the 1990s. Some Chattanooga residents have stories of strange happenings in the part of the museum housed in a 1904 mansion.
•On Oct. 27, the Tennessee Aquarium will celebrate Halloween with its "Phantom of the Aqua" party.
•Rock City Gardens celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.