It’s the country music capital of the world, rich in culture and fun, and it’s only a quick hour and a half away from the Rocket City. This week, we’ll highlight how to enjoy Nashville with your family, and host a giveaway you won’t want to miss below! Click on the orange titles for each feature’s hours and admission rates.
First stop: the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is a must-see for kids of all ages. It has the biggest Jungle Gym my boys have ever seen, very thoughtfully laid-out grounds, and a new DinoTrek feature ($3 extra zoo admission).
This interactive space of the renowned Frist Center art museum is perfect for kids, and boasts 30 hands-on activities in the Martin ArtQuest Gallery, often called the heart & soul of the Center. Visitors are invited to sketch, paint, create prints, and learn about artistic elements such as texture, color, pattern, and dimension. Kids 18 and under are always FREE! The museum cafe has as election of kid-friendly items on the menu, and there is cool kid’s mementos in the gift shop.
Nashville’s children’s science museum almost needs a full day to enjoy it completely. From the signature Adventure Tower to their latest exhibit, Space Chase, a spectacular two-story high astronaut training and technology center where kids can experiment with space exploration tools and experience 1/6 gravity! The new exhibit, “Science in Toyland”, will be there through September and will delight young and old alike. At night, there are Cosmic Concerts in the Sudekum Planetarium that little ones, older siblings, AND mom & dad will think are “far out”.
If you’ve never seen this full-size replica of the Grecian Parthenon, it stands proudly as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, and includes a recreation of the 42-foot statue of the goddess Athena. There is a small admission, and includes a permanent art collection of 19th and 20th century American artists. Older kids will love that this building was used as the backdrop for the 2010 movie (and popular book series), Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and there are summertime productions of classic Greek plays by local theatre groups.
Where to Eat
There is no loss for great food in Nashville, but this post is about travelling with the kids, so we’ll keep our suggestions family-friendly. (However, if you find yourself in a Date Night situation, try Suzy Wong’s House of Yum and order the Asian Wonton Nachos!)
If you’re staying the weekend, you’re likely to see a celebrity or two at the Pancake Pantry for breakfast. Kids love the Rain Forest Cafe and the Aquarium Restaurant at Opry Mills; if you bribe them with it, you might just get some shopping done. Dave & Buster’s downtown is great for families with older kids and/or sports fans. Cheer on the home team (GO DORES!) and grab the best burger of your life at local hole-in-the-wall, Rotier’s. No matter where you go for lunch or dinner, be sure to head to Las Paletas for a once-in-a-lifetime gourmet popsicle dessert.
Other Notable Nashville Destinations
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Stephenie has worked with and around books and authors for over 12 years, both at retail booksellers and public libraries. She is a rare Huntsville native, mother of two high-energy boys, wife of one, and eerily addicted to community volunteering. When she's not being the Managing Editor for RCM she likes to stalk her favorite authors online, cook with way too much butter, and also manages to conduct freelance marketing and PR work.