Book trails are free, fun way to get outside

Carol EvansGet Out & Play

Book Trails are a free and fun way to get outside with a favorite youngster. Knox County Public Library has taken the lead on this and says: “Permanent storybook trails installed in local parks provide an opportunity for children and their families to engage with reading in a unique setting. Together, families can celebrate the outdoors, physical activity and connecting with one another.”

West View Storybook Trail was opened September 16, 2022, at West View Park. Some 200 kids from the nearby West View Elementary School were treated to trumpet fanfare and selected a free book, courtesy of the Friends of the Library.

Legacy Parks was proud to participate in the opening of the Collier Preserve Storybook Trail on Oct. 20, 2022. The 12-acre public park is adjacent to the Powell Branch Library on Emory Road. Visitors enjoyed rock painting, treats from Kona Ice and Stolen Streetlights and the story of an old rock who has some incredible tales to tell.

Knox County’s third Storybook Trail officially opened on Nov. 30 at Ijams Nature Center. The Ijams trail features “Run Wild” by David Covell. The books featured on each trail will rotate seasonally, according to the library, which operates all three.

And a fourth trail opened this fall – the Nature Book Trail was installed on a half-mile trail at the University of Tennessee Arboretum in Oak Ridge. This book trail features “Bugs on the Job,” by Nancy Kelly Allen and illustrator Martyna Nejman. The arboretum is at 901 S. Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge. The trail is easy children and adults to hike, with two benches along the way.

Now let’s get out and play!


Holidays on Ice – Nov 25-Jan 2: Market Square. Info: Visit Knoxville at 865-523-7263. Enjoy skating under the stars and twinkling lights while listening to music every night on Market Square. Admission price includes entry fee, skate rental and unlimited time on ice. Details and tickets online.

Light the Park – Nov 21-Jan 2: 5:30 to 10 p.m., Founders Park at Campbell Station. Free. Info: Town of Farragut at 865-218-3378. Details online.

Holiday Festival of Lights – Dec 1-31: 6-9 p.m., The Cove at Concord Park. Free. Info: Knox County Parks & Rec at 865-215-6600. Stroll through the illuminating Christmas displays along the mile park loop. Park staff will be offering train rides on Monday evenings. Lights will only be accessible via train ride on Monday’s. Details online.

Sunday, December 4

Reindeer Run: 2 p.m., Maryville Greenbelt Amphitheatre. Free. Info: Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Parks & Recreation at 865-983-9244. 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run through Maryville and Alcoa city streets. Portion of the proceeds benefit The Empty Pantry Fund. Come and cheer.

Saturday, December 10

Winter Sunrise Hike: 7 a.m., Seven Islands State Birding Park. Cost $6. Info: Seven Islands State Birding Park at 715-630-6848. Hike 1 mile to the highest point in elevation on the Hickory Ridge Trail to catch the morning sunrise from the ridge. Ranger Stephanie will discuss birds and the trees along the trail. Register online.

Kids Climb: 10 a.m., River Sports Outfitters. Cost $25. Info: River Sports Outfitters at 865-523-0066. Come have fun with other kids and parents at this kid-centered event. Coach Melissa will facilitate fun and learning for kids 12 and under. Second Saturday of every month. Details online.

Jingle Bell Run: 10:15 a.m., World’s Fair Park. Info: Arthritis Foundation. Wear your favorite holiday costume and spread good cheer for a great cause. We’re raising awareness and funds to support arthritis research for better treatments and a cure. Register online.

Tour de Lights: 5:30 p.m., Suttree Landing Park. Free. Info: Bike Walk Knoxville. Fun, family friendly holiday bike ride. Show your holiday spirit by decorating yourself and your bike. Details online.

Sunday, December 11

AMBC Holiday Soiree: 6-9 p.m., Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern. Free. Info: Appalachian Mountain Bike Club. Join us for good fun, pop-a-shot, skee ball, pinball, last-minute AMBC merchandise shopping and pints with friends.

Visit us online at Add your event to our calendar: Submit an Event at

Carol Evans is executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation.


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