Ijams Nature Center

A hidden gem awaits in Knoxville

Ijams Nature Center is nature preserve full of wetlands and rock formations with an additional 10 miles of trails. Bike and canoe rentals are available as well. Whether you are wanting to relax and take it easy or looking for a strenuous outdoor trail run then look no further. A great place for the kids as well.

History of Ijams Nature Center

With a beautiful landscape located on the banks of the Tennessee River Ijams came to be from the thoughtfulness of the Ijams family. At the turn of the twentieth century it was initially called the bird sanctuary. In 1910 the Ijams family purchased the initial 20 acre parcel and it quickly became an outdoor oasis.

Unfortunately, with the death of the founders H.P. and Alice in the 1950s and 60s their daughter Jo picked up the reins and formulated a plan to turn it into a public park in 1963. Over the next couple years many hours were spent turning this dream into a reality with the final conclusion coming in 1968 as the Ijams Nature Park.

Visiting Ijams Nature Center

Boasting a robust amount of wildlife, over 500 varieties of plants, and several ponds there is always something to catch your eye and keep you entertained.

Speaking of wildlife it is common to see the following animals while you enjoy the center. River otters, snapping turtles, red-eared sliders, box turtles, several species of salamanders including cave salamanders, black rat snakes, northern water snakes, plain-bellied water snakes, and several species of bats.

There are many other activities within the center as well. As mentioned there are over 10 miles to walk or hike. Are you into rock climbing? The Ijams Crag is the only outdoor rock climbing area in Knoxville. If biking is more of your area of interest you can also mountain bike or road bike within the center. To round it out you can play, paddle, and swim to beat the heat on the warm summer days.

Many summer camps are held within the Ijams Nature Center focusing on children from ages 6-12. Led by environmental specialist and naturalist each camp focuses on animals, nature, and science.

The visitor center is open from 10am to 6pm daily and entry is free. What’s not to love about that?

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How to Get There

Ijams Nature Center is located at 2915 Island Home Ave, Knoxville, TN 37920.

Traveling from I-40 East? You can take the James White Pkway 158 south to Anita Dr. Stay on Anita drive and take a left onto Island Home Ave.

For those of you coming from I-40 West, you will have to take Exit 388A south on James White Pkway 158 to Anita Dr. Continue on Anita drive until you see Island Home Ave on your left.

Conclusion

Located just three miles from downtown Knoxville and over 315+ acres, there is something for everyone to enjoy. What started as an idea from one family has turned into a beautiful outdoor recreation center for everyone to enjoy. Stay for the day or a quick rest stop to stretch your legs on your way to your other adventure the Ijams Nature Center has something for everyone. You will not be disappointed.

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