I was lucky enough to grow up in an area of south Knoxville that was really close to downtown, but just far away enough to feel removed from the city. And I lived really close to Ijams, which is probably how I acquired my appreciation for the outdoors. For those of you who aren’t from around here, the “j” is silent. But what is Ijams?
Ijams is city park that promotes the preservation and conservation of nature. What began decades ago as a few walking trails has spread out to over 300 acres of wilderness-just a few miles outside of downtown Knoxville. Visitors can hike, paddle, climb or bike in the park. Ijams recently launched Navitat, a zipline-obstactle course which takes thrill seekers to the top of the forest.
Ijams also sponsors events such as the Big Kids Coloring Club. Children under 12 are discouraged from attending, and adults can BYOB. Ijams requests a five dollar donation, but they also provide snacks, pages to color and coloring supplies. I attended this event in January and I was instantly hooked.
Not only was Big Kids Coloring Club a great way to relax, it was also a great chance to catch up with friends and meet new people. There has been a surge in adult coloring books. Ijams recognized this trend and hopped on!
Ijams offers a quick getaway inside the city limits. It’s easy to wander the park and let your worries slip away, because the the place is just so darn beautiful. There are trails that will take you to the river, to an endless field of sunflowers (at the right time of the year), or you can just stroll at your leisure. If you are into history, there is a cemetery on the property overlooking Mead’s Quarry that dates back to the late 1800s. Perhaps the best part of Ijams can’t be expressed in words, so I’ll just leave this here: