Knoxville’s  best outdoor attraction is Ijams Nature Center (2915 Island Home Ave., 865/577-4717, www.ijams.org , year-round Tues.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Mar.–Oct. Sun. 1–5 p.m., free). The visitors center is a modern earth-friendly construction that houses exhibits about lost animal species and the Ijams family. There is also an enclosure with a red-tail hawk and a turkey vulture, plus native plant and animal species.
The real attraction at Ijams is the 160 acres of protected woodlands and meadows. Come here for a walk through the woods or a stroll along the Tennessee River boardwalk. The grounds also include the Ijams family historic homesite and Mead’s Quarry. In total, there are seven miles of walking trails. The grounds are open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk.
Ijams offers a regular schedule of special events: workshops, talks, guided walks, and fairs. Check the website for details.