Outdoor Activities Spring Up At Bays Mountain Park

Spring is here and that means zip line and barge rides and canoe/kayak tours at Bays Mountain Park! Starting this week, guests can enjoy a range of activities at the park.

Experience the thrill of a zip line ride on The Flying Squirrel. The Flying Squirrel is an exciting, 310 foot zip line that races you through the tree line. Rides are $10 per person and $5 for park members.

Visitors can also catch a ride on the barge and explore the 44 acre lake. Observe water lilies, deer, raccoons, ducks, geese, turtles, great blue herons, beaver lodges and sometimes beavers and black bear. Your naturalist will discuss park history as well as the sights and sounds encountered on your trip creating a unique experience. Barge rides lasts approximately 45minutes and may be cancelled due to weather. Tickets for barge rides are $5 per person and free for park members.

Specialty programs including the twilight barge ride and the canoe/kayak tour are back this year. Spend a relaxing evening on the lake enjoying the beautiful lakeside scenery from the comfort of the barge or your personal canoe or kayak. The twilight barge rides are $5 per person and free for park members. The canoe/kayak tour is $3 per person and free for park members. The canoe/kayak tour is limited to 20 watercrafts, and participants must provide their own canoe/kayak and a coast guard approved personal flotation device.

The days and times for these activities are as follows:

  • Zip Line – Wednesdays at 3:00 and 4:00 p.m., Saturday and Sundays at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. (April & May)
  • Barge Rides – Monday through Friday at 3:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1:00, 2:00 and 5:00 p.m.
  • Canoe/Kayak Tours – April 18th and May 16th at 6:00 p.m.
  • Twilight Barge Rides – April 25th and May 23rd at 7:30 p.m.

To book a zip line ride or to reserve a spot for the canoe/kayak tour or twilight barge rides, please call the Nature Center at 423-229-9447. To reserve your spot for daily barge rides, please visit the Nature Center before the scheduled barge ride. Bays Mountain only accepts barge ride reservations in advance for parties of 15 or more.

For more information on Bays Mountain Park please call 423-229-9447 or visit http://www.baysmountain.com.

Open Call for Vendor Applications for the 39th Annual Christmas Connection

Calling all artists, artisans, creatives, and craftspeople of all trades! Applications are being taken for those wishing to exhibit in this 3-day event, which is by invitation only. All applications are reviewed by a selection committee, taking various factors into consideration in order to create a high quality, attractive show having a good mix of artistic and crafting creations.  Application deadline is July 1, 2018.  There is no cost to apply.

The Christmas Connection, an event sponsored by the City of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, is celebrating 39 years of artistic creations in 2018! A very well established cultural event in Kingsport, the event hosts the region’s best craftspeople, artisans, artists, and creatives.  People from our region and beyond look forward to The Christmas Connection year after year.

This year’s event will take place the 2nd weekend in November, Friday through Sunday, at the Kingsport Civic Auditorium.

This year’s Christmas Connection will take place the second weekend in November, due to elections taking place at the Civic Auditorium on the first weekend. 


FREE Admission to the public!

Fri. Nov. 9:  12Noon – 7PM

Sat. Nov. 10:  10AM – 5PM

Sun. Nov. 11:  12Noon – 4PM

Applications deadline is July 1, 2018.

 To access the vendor application from the city website, click here or visit www.EngageKingsport.com.

Howl & Hike

Combine two of the most popular activities at Bays Mountain Park and you get, Howl & Hike! Outdoor Pursuits is back with the second pursuit in this series, bringing you a naturalist from Bays Mountain Park to lead a hike after hearing the call of the wild.

Kick off the day with brief instruction at the YMCA, and then head to Bays Mountain Park for the 10:00 a.m. wolf howling. The naturalist led hike begins immediately after and is a 2.3 mile, moderate/strenuous hike on Lakeside Trail.

The goal of the Outdoor Pursuits series is to introduce the surrounding com­munity to more outdoor opportunities in a safe environment and with knowledgeable staff. The following programs are set for this spring:

  • April 7 – Howl and Hike: Meet at the YMCA at 9:15 a.m.
  • May 25 – Canoe/Kayak: From 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Bays Mountain Park. Participants must provide their own water­craft (no motorized watercraft permitted) and safety floata­tion gear. Limit of 20 watercraft for this program.

All programs are by registration only and are on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost for each program is $3.00 per person; free for YMCA and Bays Mountain Park members. To reg­ister and pay for these events, please visit the YMCA front desk or ymcakpt.org.

To submit requests for additional information, contact Dustin Sims at 423-765- 9722, or via email at dsims@ymcakpt.org. For more information on Bays Mountain, please visit baysmountain.com or call 423-229-9447.

Kingsport’s Annual Clean-Up Service Starts Monday

From April 2 through 13, the city of Kingsport is holding its annual spring clean-up service for residents. Residents can place extra items on the curb for garbage crews to haul away at no extra charge. The city encourages residents to clean up and clean out their yards, garages and basements. Every resident will receive their normal garbage and recycling pick-ups and one trash pick-up during each week.

The city will pick-up:
Tires (only 4 per household and off the rim)
Small amount of building materials (drywall, carpet, scrap lumber)
Yard debris
Bagged grass
Bagged or loose leaves
General junk

The city will not pick-up:
Hazardous material
Propane tanks
Tires on rims
Contractor generated building materials
Contractor generated tree debris

During the clean-up weeks, the city will accept items outside the garbage can. A leaf truck will also be running during this time. While the spring clean-up service is free for residents, the city will still charge for contractor generated waste and tree debris during these weeks.

Computer items, such as monitors, keyboards and hard drives, can be taken to the Sullivan County Transfer Station on Brookside Drive.

Sullivan County will hold its annual hazardous material collection on April 28th at Sullivan Central High School from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

For more information, please call 423-229-9451 or visit www.kingsporttn.gov.

Outdoor Survival Series Returns

Learn how to adapt to the rough conditions of the outdoors! Outdoor Survival Basics is a series of classes taught at Bays Mountain Park to help teach the average person the techniques for outdoor survival. After a successful introductory run in December, the program series returns this April.

The following survival classes will be held in the Discovery The­ater at Bays Mountain Park at 3:00 p.m.

  • April 1 – “Snake Bites”
  • April 8 – “What To Take Hiking?”
  • April 15 – “Lost & Afraid”
  • April 22 – “Outdoor Survival Basics”
  • April 29 – “Bear Aware”

These classes will cover the techniques a person should use in a dan­gerous situation to save themselves or others. These techniques are meant to provide the basic ne­cessities for human life including water, food and shelter, as well as the need to think straight, to signal for help, to navigate safely, to avoid unpleasant interactions with animals and plants and for first aid.

Many of these skills can be used to enjoy extended periods of time in re­mote places and to thrive in nature. Even when hiking, back­packing, horseback riding, fishing or hunting, you need to make sure to have the basic wilder­ness survival skills to handle an emergency situation.

Each class in the series is $3/person and free for Bays Mountain Park members. Participants can complete as many classes as they would like, and those who attend all five classes will receive a certificate of completion. For more information please call 423-229-9447.

Water Park Passes Available Now at Kingsport Aquatic Center

Summer is just around the corner and that means it’s time to get your water park pass! The outdoor water park at the Kingsport Aquatic Center will open its gates on Monday, May 14 at 10:30 a.m.

Purchase your pass for the summer season and get access to both the indoor facility and the outdoor water park. Passes grant admission to the indoor facility beginning May 1 and to the outdoor water park May 14, when the park opens.

Swimmers can enjoy two waterslides, the Eastman Credit Union 900-foot lazy river, climbing structure and play area with water cannons, lily pad crossing and concessions stand. New this year, the Kingsport Aquatic Center will have cabanas available for rent.

“We’re excited to open early again this year for the swimmers who can’t wait to jump in,” said Kari Matheney, director of the Kingsport Aquatic Center. “With our new park additions on the horizon, we hope to see even more guests taking advantage of the water park this summer.”

The Waterpark Pass entitles the user to admission to indoor and outdoor pools during the water park operational season (early May through September).

  • Lil’ Splasher: Under 48”- $75/ season
  • Big Splasher: 48” and taller – $100/ season
  • Master Splasher: Age 55+ – $75/season
  • Splash Pack: 4 people/same household – $200/season ($15/add. person)

Outdoor waterpark hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

For more information about the Kingsport Aquatic Center or to purchase a water park pass, please visit www.swimkingsport.com or call 423-343-9758.

Kingsport Aquatic Center is Hiring For Summer Season

If you are looking for the perfect summer job that offers competitive pay and a great work environment, apply for a position at the Kingsport Aquatic Center! The KAC is hosting a job fair on March 22nd for those interested in learning more about the KAC’s available positions and for those who would like to apply.

With the summer season ramping up, the KAC is hiring lifeguards, concessions attendants, aquatic attendants, gate attendants and water safety instructors. The job fair will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kingsport Aquatic Center. For those who cannot attend the job fair, applications can also be submitted online at www.swimkingsport.com, under the Employment Opportunities tab.

“All of our positions allow for flexible schedules and a fun work environment,” said Chassy Smiley, assistant manager at the Kingsport Aquatic Center. “High school and college students make great candidates for these positions. They get to enjoy a job that’s rewarding and active.”

For the month of March, the Kingsport Aquatic Center will be offering a 20% discount on American Red Cross Lifeguard training classes for those applicants who need to become certified. The American Red Cross Lifeguard Training with CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer will take place March 19 – March 23, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. With successful completion of this course participants can apply to become a lifeguard at the Kingsport Aquatic Center.

If you’re thinking you’d like to be a part of a team of individuals that work together to save lives, register online for the training course at www.swimkingsport.com. There are prerequisites to taking the class and there is a $175 class fee.

For more information, please visit www.swimkingsport.com or call 423-343-9758.

Spring Wildflower Hikes at Bays Mountain Park

Come out, enjoy the spring weather, and get to know some of our local wildflowers! Bays Mountain Park will be hosting six wildflower hikes this spring, both at Laurel Run Park and at Bays Mountain Park.

Hikers can expect to see anywhere from 20-30 species of flowers in just a couple of hours on one of these naturalist led hikes. Many of the wildflowers are showy and easy to find, including redbud, dogwood, pink azalea and wild geranium. The hike days and times are as follows:

  • Laurel Run Park – March 23rd, April 6th and April 20th
  • Bays Mountain Park – March 26th, April 9th and April 27th

Given the effects of elevation, the wildflowers seen on the hikes will be somewhat different at Laurel Run and Bays Mountain.

“Generally, mid-April to mid-May seems to be the time we have the largest numbers and diversity of wildflowers here on the mountain,” said Megan Krager senior naturalist at Bays Mountain Park.

The wildflower display at Laurel Run Park can be much earlier because of its lower elevation. There is often a good display of flow­ers at Laurel Run by mid-March. The combination of richer soil and more consistent moisture means that hikers can find wild­flowers at Laurel Run that do not grow well at the upper elevations of the Bays Mountain Park. These flowers include columbine, Dutchman’s breeches and trilliums.

The wildflower hikes are free and do not require registration. Hikes at both parks will begin at 10 a.m. Hikers should meet in the main parking at Laurel Run Park for the Laurel Run hikes and at the Nature Center for the Bays Mountain hikes.

Depending on weather and what is blooming, the hikes may take up to two hours and participants may walk 2-3 miles. The hikes will go rain or shine, so hikers should dress for the weather.

For more information on Bays Mountain, please visit baysmountain.com or call 423-229-9447.

Outdoor Movie Series, Cinema Under The Stars, Returns To Bays Mountain Park

Cinema Under The Stars is back just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! Come out and celebrate with us by watching Leap Year in the Bays Mountain Amphitheater!

Leap Year will be showing this Saturday, March 17th at Bays Mountain Park. This is the third movie in the Cinema Under The Stars movie series sponsored by Bays Mountain Park and Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union. The series, which started in October of 2017, has sold out at each showing.

“With the success of the first two movies in the fall, it was a no brainer to continue the series this spring” said Mark Kilgore recreation coordinator for Bays Mountain Park. “We are thrilled with the amount of support for special programming like Cinema Under The Stars.”

The movie will be shown in the amphitheater and begins at 7:00 p.m. The gate opens at 6:00 p.m. No outside food or drinks are allowed, but concessions will be available for purchase. Attendees are encouraged to bring a stadium chair or blanket.

Admission is $5 for anyone over the age of 6 and free for children ages 5 and younger. All proceeds will benefit Bays Mountain Park.

Tickets are available for purchase in person at the Bays Mountain gift shop or online at Eventbrite. To purchase tickets through Eventbrite, visit http://bit.ly/2GxwL1Z. For more information, please call Mark Kilgore at 423-230-6357.

New Planetarium Show At Bays Mountain

Look at the big ideas that have guided human understanding of the cosmos and its patterns in the sky! Bays Mountain Planetarium’s latest alternate presentation, A Part of the Sky Called Orion, starts this month.

A Part of the Sky Called Orion looks at how three different ancient cultures viewed the same part of the sky we know as the constellation Orion. The show focuses on the Greek, Egyptian and Inupiaq cultures along with their different star stories and images using the night sky. The program is followed by a tour of the current night sky using our exceptional Carl Zeiss ZKP-4 star projector.

The show was produced in-house by Bays Mountain Productions and is shown at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through April.

Also showing through April, is the main feature, Out There – The Quest for Extrasolar Worlds. Bays Mountain Planetarium’s main features are shown at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on the weekends and at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Tickets are $5 per person. Children ages 5 and younger receive free admission with a paying adult. For more information on Bays Mountain’s planetarium shows, please visit baysmountain.com or call 423-229-9447.