Best Things to Do in Knoxville with Grandchildren
Is it your week to spend much-needed quality time with your grandchildren? There are so many wonderful things to do with them in the fantastic city of Knoxville, Tennessee. Founded in 1791, Knoxville is the third-largest city in Tennessee and is home to exciting museums, beautiful parks, and endless entertainment opportunities. If you're ready to have some fun, here is our list of the best things to do with grandchildren in Knoxville!
Zoo Knoxville in East KnoxvilleWhat better way to get outside than to see and learn about animals? Zoo Knoxville is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily and closes only on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Parking is only 5 dollars. The zoo is the birthplace of the first African elephant born in the Western Hemisphere - adorable Little Diamond. An Aldabra Giant Tortoise named Big Al also lives at the zoo. He weighs an impressive 525 pounds and is estimated to be about 150 years old!
Other fun animals at Zoo Knoxville include:
2. South Knoxville's Ijams Nature CenterFor kids five and up, try the exciting and adventure-packed Ijams Nature Center located on 315 acres of protected land in south Knoxville. This nonprofit environmental education center is full of so many exciting things to do! You can explore the outdoors and enjoy their playground, including stone, wood, and boulder fields. Each section provides a different way to exercise, and you can even download workouts in their green workout space or take the Primal Playground Challenge! You can climb, hike, bike, paddleboard, and swim at the Ijams Nature Center. The canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards rent for $14 per hour. Here, the adventures are endless for your little ones!
3. Downtown Knoxville's Market SquareAfter enjoying some quality time with your grandkids in nature, head to the city and check out the vibrant and bustling Market Square in Downtown Knoxville. First used in the mid-1800s, this famous square was originally for regional farmers. It is a unique and fun-filled area with plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options - exciting for all ages! You can take the kids to see a movie, outdoor concert, or even Shakespeare on the Square. When you're done, you can head over to play in the water fountains near Krutch Park or visit Knoxville’s Urban Wildnerness, a nearby 1,000 acre stretch of land which features over 50 miles of trails.
4. Knoxville Museum of ArtAre your grandkids budding artists? Inspire them with a trip to the Knoxville Museum of Art! It's appropriate for ages three and up, and admission is free. You can enjoy a stroll through their beautiful galleries and elegant exhibitions or have a picnic in their beautiful outdoor space. The museum is open daily Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Be sure to check their calendar before going for exciting events, informational workshops, and educational lectures.
5. World's Fair ParkOne of the go-to experiences when visiting Knoxville is the World's Fair Park, located in the heart of the city. This vast cultural space features a beautiful riverfront park and kid-friendly splash pads and fountains. The grandkids can play in the fountains from mid-April to early October. There are two remaining structures left from the 1982 World’s Fair - an amphitheater and the newly renovated Sunsphere. The Sunsphere is a tower with an observation deck that offers 360-degree views of the original 1982 World’s Fair site. The fee is $5, and you need a reservation.
6. Seven Islands State Birding ParkAnother must-see is the wildlife refuge, Seven Islands State Birding Park. What better way for the grandkids to spread their wings than birdwatching! This extensive 425-acre haven in East Knoxville features lush, beautiful meadows and gardens, including a captivating sunflower garden. Seven Islands boasts over eight miles of natural trails and includes impressive views of the Smoky Mountains. The park is home to over 190 species of birds, including songbirds, waterfowl, and hawks. There are even some old barns that house Barn Owls!
7. Muse KnoxvilleAre the grandchildren toddlers? The Muse in East Knoxville is an excellent place for young ones. This creative museum offers fascinating exhibits, exciting facilities, and a variety of activities for kids. There's a book nook, planetarium, illumination station, and outdoor spaces. The kids will love racing air rockets and interacting with the STEAM stations. Kids 8 and up can enjoy hands-on physical science stations in the museum's exhibit space. This museum brings science to life for young kids, showing them how it connects to their everyday world and environment. Admission is $10 per person, and seniors 65+ only pay $5. Parking is free.
Article written by Amara Home Care in Chattanooga Tennessee
Join Citizens Insurance and the Tellico Village community in Loudon as our guest to raise money for Our Place! Our Place's Mission is to improve quality of life by providing a day program of care, social interaction and therapeutic activities in a safe and nurturing environment to senior adults living with Alzheimers or other dementia-related diseases. Our PLACE works to support caregivers and care partners through respite, support, education and resources.
Tickets are $35 and are tax deductible. Citizens Insurance Solutions is a proud supporter of local community resources, veterans, senior programs and more!
Even if you do not want to drink, dance, eat, and bid on silent auction items, you can still make a donation or purchase a tax deductible ticket and/or invite your friends!
As we trudge through the workday, laden with responsibilities, never-ending to-do lists, overbooked schedules, and countless commitments, we can’t help but let our minds drift to the blissful days of retirement. We all have a vision of what life will look like once this day arrives. Dreams of endless free time, relaxation, carefree travel, and a week full of Saturdays are just a few of the things that come to mind. But in reality, retirement isn’t always the cakewalk we envisioned it to be! As we settle into a routine, we can easily become complacent with the day-to-day monotony. If we aren’t intentional with our time and decisions, we can inadvertently lead ourselves down the road of poor physical and mental health.
We must strive to be engaged mentally, physically, socially, spiritually, and even romantically for our Golden Years to truly sparkle and shine! Though this alone may sound like a full-time job (been there… done that), it can be quite simple. If we deliberate with our actions and choices, we can ensure that our years beyond retirement are thoroughly enjoyed and embraced.
MENTALLYIt all begins with our attitude– after all, “they” say your attitude determines your altitude, and it’s no different when it comes to your retirement years. Taking control of your mental health and approaching the day with a “glass half full” perspective is proven to affect your overall health positively. A positive outlook allows you to better cope with negative situations; it’s the driving force behind our decisions that helps steer us in the right direction. An optimistic mindset leads to an overall healthier lifestyle, improved physical health, and increased happiness, self-confidence, and success.
PHYSICALLY The two main components of physical health include a balanced diet and regular exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for optimal health and sets the stage for our overall wellbeing. When you’re overweight, you’re at a greater risk for heart disease, elevated blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, and other severe health conditions. You can achieve and maintain a healthy weight by consuming a balanced diet filled with lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. Additionally, it’s best to eat 4-5 small meals per day to help maintain blood sugar levels, allowing you to feel more energetic. Incorporating daily activity into your schedule is equally as important as your nutrition. Organized exercise classes such as water aerobics, yoga, Jazzercise, and circuit training are great opportunities to be active regularly. If you have access to a gym that offers these.
This was written by our guest writer at the Senior Directory! A reputable community resource and nationwide publication.
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Our very own owner, Heather Majka - has written an article to compare and contrast the two in a well known and trusted senior publication and resource, the Senior Directory.
Join Heather Majka, Tennessee's only Social Security Claiming strategist for basic rules and filing strategies when filing for Social Security retirement. In just 30 minutes learn:- How to decide when to collect your benefits.
- How to coordinate benefits with your spouse.
- The Social Security options available to divorcees.
- How the death of a spouse affects your Social Security benefits.
- How work affects your benefits.
- How your benefits are taxed and what you can do about it.
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Join our experts for this free public event but SPACE is LIMITED. You must call the library to RSVP as space is limited. 865-458-5199
Medicare and Cobra
Cobra is temporary insurance that allows people to remain on their group health plan after leaving employment for up to 18 months. It is the same health insurance as before except you pay 102% of the premium (including what the employer was contributing). This can be the best option coverage wise and even pricewise for some if under 65.
If you are 65 or older and you or your spouse is offered COBRA, YOU MUST GET Medicare to avoid any penalties. Medicare DOES NOT consider COBRA coverage as good or better than Medicare (“not creditable”). What’s worse if you do NOT enroll in Medicare not only will you be penalized but COBRA will not pay your bills because they are secondary.
When an insurance company is secondary that means that their contract and applicable laws dictate that they reduce their payment by the amount the first (primary) company would pay their share and that the second company pay only AFTER the first company. The Medicare Secondary Payer rules are complex. Much of the bill-shuffling takes place behind the scenes.
If you are 65 and over, you can apply for Medicare at ANY time (while covered by employer health insurance/group health insurance). You also have up to 8 months are to sign up for Medicare when your group coverage ends. The problem with signing up after coverage ends is that YOU WILL have a lapse in health insurance UNLESS you take Cobra.
Most HR personnel and the average person do not realize that COBRA is not as good as Medicare and that YOU should sign up for Medicare before you (or your spouse) leave your employer. Here is the bottom line: RETIREMENT AFTER 65 = SIGN UP for Medicare (whether you are taking COBRA, Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, Tricare, VA, or your employer’s retirement plan).
Doctors & Medicare
The biggest concern most people have when switching to Medicare is how—and by whom—their health care services will be delivered. Will you still be able to see their same doctor? If you don’t currently have a primary care doctor, will you be able to get one under Medicare? What if you need a specialist? Will you have any say in choosing that specialist, and will the bills be covered under Medicare?
When you keep original Medicare as your primary insurance (and you may or may not choose to buy a Medicare supplement also known as a Medigap plan) - the federal government pays your doctors (they hire a contractor to do it on their behalf). A recent survey from KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) showed that only 1% of providers nationwide do NOT accept Medicare patients. That does not include providers that accept Medicare but not accepting new patients with Medicare. Every three months Medicare sends out a summary notice to show you all claims presented and paid. Learn more here.
When you choose a Medicare Advantage plan, the private insurance companies pay your doctors, hospitals, etc. Providers have to be in the plan network and rules must be followed for your care to pay for. Nationwide 46% of providers participate in a Medicare Advantage network. Important questions to ask before selecting a Medicare Advantage plan are:
Learn more about Medicare Supplement plans here, learn more about Medicare Advantage plans here.
No matter which way you receive your Medicare benefits (even if you have retirement health insurance, Federal Insurance, Tricare, VA, and more) we can help you and answer all of your Medicare questions.
Plan on spending $300,000 for healthcare in retirement
This year’s estimate marks a new milestone high, up 30% from 10 years ago when the amount was $230,000, but just 1.7% from 2020 ($295,000) as health care inflation has remained relatively flat over the last few years. Fidelity began measuring in 2002 to build greater awareness of estimated health care costs and the importance of starting to plan and save early to meet those anticipated expenses. Since then, the estimate has risen a total of 88% (from $160,000). Fidelity’s estimate assumes both members of the couple are enrolled in traditional Medicare Parts A and B, along with a Part D drug plan.
According to Fidelity, a 65-year old, opposite-gender couple retiring this year can expect to spend $300,000 in health care and medical expenses throughout retirement. For single retirees, the 2021 estimate is $157,000 for women and $143,000 for men.
Fidelity’s annual release of health care costs in retirement provides an opportunity to remind clients that:
A message from Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security:
About a year ago, I took the unprecedented step to close our offices to the public. I did this to keep our employees and you—the public we serve—safe. As we enter year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines and other precautionary measures give us cause for hope. For now, we will continue our current safety measures as described in our COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan. This plan is iterative, and we will update it as we receive additional government-wide guidance and information from public health experts in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We understand that the public wants to engage with us on some matters in person, and our local offices are integral to our communities. We also know that not everyone can conveniently come to us in person and that when you do visit, you want the process to be efficient. For example, we may need evidence from you, but we do not need to interview you in person. We are currently testing drop box and express appointment options for the public to bring in documentation.
Often, you only need to know your Social Security number and do not need a physical Social Security card. However, if you do need to replace your card, we are testing video appointments if you need a new Social Security card but do not need to change any of the information in our records. Although ideas like these began as solutions during COVID-19, we are considering how they could improve service in the future.
Some of these concepts also allow us to consider how we might continue to use telework, something that most organizations and companies have depended on during the COVID-19 pandemic, to drive longer-term operational efficiencies like reducing space. We could use those savings to provide you more online service options and hire more people to serve you more quickly as well as to retain outstanding employees. We will continue to engage our managers, employees, and unions on ways we could use telework to improve customer service and other issues.
You can find the full statement, and links to helpful resources, here.
Heather Majka, Certified Social Security Claiming Strategist, Owner of Citizens Insurance Solutions
With over 25 years of industry experience, Heather is a subject matter expert. Heather has two adult children serving in the US military (Naval Aircrew and US Army). Heather's husband is a US Army SNIPER Veteran that served during Desert Storm. Heather has is a native New Yorker who has lived in Virginia, Texas, Florida, and now lives in Tennessee.