Ijams Nature Center is a beautifully preserved wildlife sanctuary that forms part of the Knoxville Urban Wilderness situated only minutes from downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. A cultural, historical and recreational preservation initiative established by Legacy Parks Foundation, the Knoxville Urban Wilderness incorporates over 1,000 acres of forest along the waterfront and 10 parks, including the Ijams Nature Center.
The beautiful undulating woodlands of Ijams Nature Center spans over 300 acres and features an array of outdoor and recreational activities for visitors to enjoy, ranging from wildlife exhibits to outdoor adventures. The Nature Center is home to 104 acres of abandoned quarry with excellent fishing, over 10 miles of trails to hike, mountain bike, and run, kayaks and canoes to rent for paddling during the summer months, an array of exhibits, and a museum store.
The Ijams Nature Center also has educational displays of raptors, red-tailed hawks, and turkey vultures, as well as offers an of environmental teaching programs, classes, and camps for both children and adults.
The Ijams Crag also provides 12 manageable routes for beginner to expert rock climbers and a tree-based zip line adventure park called Navitat Canopy Adventures. Designed to thrill, educate, and inspire, the park features over 60 adventure elements from high tunnels, nets, and swings to bridges, zip lines and more.
The aim of the Ijams Nature Center is to offer unforgettable outdoor experiences for visitors of all ages and to encourage and inspire an interest in the surrounding environment.
The Ijams Nature Center has a variety of things to see and do, including the historic Mead’s Quarry and Ijams Beer Garden, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Keyhole at Ross Marble Quarry. Other attractions include the natural children’s playscape of Jo’s Grove, the Tennessee River Boardwalk, and the outdoor climbing station of Ijams Crag.
The Ijams Nature Center has a Visitor Center where visitors can purchase trail maps for the various walking trails in the park, find out information about the park and it’s attractions and learn about the functions and events held at in the Park. The Visitor Center hosts rotating artwork shows, wildlife exhibits, a gift shop and restrooms.
The beautiful natural area of Mead’s Quarry Lake can be enjoyed by kayaking or canoe, which can be hired from River Sports Outfitters and children can explore and discover through play in a safe and fun environment in the natural playscape of Jo’s Grove. Children can touch the earth and enjoy annual fairy house and gnome home competitions.
The Keyhole at Historic Ross Marble is an unusual stone structure set on the Ross Marble Quarry Loop that is listed on the National Register for Historic Places and delves into the history of the nation’s Tennessee Marble industry. Spectacular views can be taken in from the Rock Bridge above ‘God’s Chair.’
Hailed as the birthplace of the Ijams Nature Center, the 20-acre Ijams family homestead boasts terraced gardens, tranquil ponds, mysterious rock pools, and a plethora of walking trails along and around the Tennessee River. The beautiful riverscapes of the Tennessee River can be enjoyed from the Tennessee River Boardwalk, which begins just a mile from the source of the river and extends along the river.
Hayworth Hollow is a delightful walking trail that winds along the quarry gorge’s moss-covered boulders to a sheer wall of rock cliff hundreds of feet high that offers breathtaking views.
The Ijams Nature Center offers an array of educational and outdoor programs for visitors of all ages from adult programs like wine-tasting on the trails to family bug nights and day camps for families. Programs include the Tennessee Naturalist Program (TNP) for adults, which focuses on the natural history of Tennessee; the Growing Alice’s Garden for children and their families; and the Ijams Birding Series, which covers everything from migration and nesting behavior to family birding.
The Ijams Nature Center has several Living Clean & Green! programs designed to educate the public and improve the environment. Programs vary in length and include ‘Wetlands,' ‘Recycling,' ‘Trash to Treasure,' ‘Butterflies Are Free,' ‘Organic Gardening,' ‘Composting,' ‘Gathering Seeds,' ‘Urban Wildlife,' ‘Bees: Precious Pollinators’, and ‘Wildscaping.’
The Ijams Outdoor Academy offers outdoor courses and classes in a variety of activities and sports, including rock climbing, caving, kayaking, canoeing, camping, backpacking, and team-building.
The Ijams Nature Center hosts a series of signature events throughout the year ranging from community cleanups and fundraisers to festivals. Highlights of the annual event calendar include the River Rescue, Symphony in the Park, and the WDVX Ijams Meadow Lark Music Festival.
The Ijams Nature Center is located at 2915 Island Home Avenue in Knoxville. The Visitor Center, which is home to rotating artwork shows, wildlife exhibits, a gift shop and restrooms is open during the same hours as the park and admission to the park is free.
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2915 Island Home Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37920, Phone: 865-577-4717