The Creative Discovery Museum is one of the top Children’s Museums in the United States, located in Chattanooga. The interactive museum features educational programing and hands-on exhibits for more than 200,000 visitors every year and has over 40 community partnerships.


The Creative Discovery Museum started as an idea recommended by the Board of the Hunter Museum of American Art to have a Children’s Museum be part of the revitalization of Chattanooga in 1989. Children of Chattanooga along with a large group of educators, content specialists, and focus groups put together design plans and the concept for the museum and out of 450 names submitted, Creative Discovery Museum was the chosen name.

The 42,000-square foot building and the exhibits was designed and constructed by the Lee H. Skolnick Architecture and Design Partnership after a $16.5 million dollar campaign. The Creative Discovery Museum opened its doors to the public in 1995 and become a vital part of the community as an educational resource and collaborative, nonprofit organization. The Museum has won many accolades including a national award from the Association of Children’s Museum for the programs for children with disability that CDM offers.

Permanent Exhibits

The exhibits at the Creative Discovery Museum seek to inspire children to think creatively and know that there are many times more than one correct answer to a problem. The exhibits are multi-disciplinary exploring art, music, sciences and technology in hands-on and interactive environments.

· Barsamian sculpture- A one of a kind exhibit made for CDM exclusively, this exhibit tricks your eyes into seeing something that isn’t there!

· Buzz Alley and Bee Garden- Check out how a bee colony operates in this full-size Honey Bee Hive.

· Corner Clinic- Kids can explore a lifelike doctor’s office, complete with exam table and stethoscopes.

· Culinary Corner- Healthy snack options using freshly prepared ingredients from the CDM garden are showcased in this exhibit where kids can learn recipes and cooking tips.

· Discovery Library- This quiet space is perfect for families to sit down and relax with books and Storytime.

· Excavation Station- Dig and build sand castles in the large-scale sand pit, complete with construction tools.

· Lookout Tower- An observation deck with an amazing view of Chattanooga.

· Little Yellow House- This 4-year-old and under play area is full of age appropriate activities that toddlers can enjoy.

· Make it- Inventors, creators, crafters, creative kids will love Make it, the newest exhibit at CDM. This space is best for children age 5 and up and uses tools such as sewing machines, hammers, and saws.

· Museum Plaza- Visit the herb and flower gardens and blow bubbles that you can fit inside.

· Performing Arts Gallery- A series of rooms dedicated to musical instruments and performing arts. Visitors can play instruments, record their voice and see what happens in a recording studio and more.

· River Play- Learn all about how the river works on this Riverboat transports kids on an adventure in this 2.5 story exhibit.

· Rooftop Fun Factory- This outdoor rooftop exhibit feature simple machines that visitors can explore in a hands on play environment.

· Student Art Gallery- Art from Chattanooga area students is displayed in this gallery

· Visual Arts Gallery- Children of all ages can create art in many different mediums in this gallery that explores photography, sculpture, drawing, weaving, and computer graphics.

Educational Programs

Creative Discovery Museum offering educational programming on and off campus that is multi-sensory and fun. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are welcome to come to the Creative Discovery Museum to earn patches and there are several field trip options for educators that are a part of the local school systems for K-12. CDM also offers outreach events that take place at the school such as outreach lessons, family nights and mobile science labs. There are also lessons online and distance learning available through CDM. More information about resources for educators, homeschool groups and outreach can be found on the CDM website.

Creative Discovery Museum also offers Summer Camps for children age 4-14 that are science-focused, Gingerbread workshops in the winter, and an afterschool program during the school year. Playgym is also offered for children under the age of 3 that builds on sensory development for toddlers.

Shopping and Dining

While visiting the museum Café Dino-Mite is open 7 days a week from 11am till 4pm and serves full size meals and snack items. There are no deep fryers found in this café! Only nutritious food can be found here such as salads made from fresh roof top garden ingredients and deli style sandwiches.

The Museum Gift Shop carries a wide variety of toys and gifts that tie back to the exhibits found inside. All proceeds from the gift shop benefit the museum and kids can even create a wish list while shopping.

Back to: Chattanooga, TN

321 Chestnut Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37402, Phone: 423-756-2738

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