This Tennessee City Offers Much More Than Just Music
Nashville, TN, boasts a strong reputation for being Music City, a reputation that is well-deserved. However, there’s another side to this Southern town that families will enjoy. Here, you can play with animals, make your own science discoveries and so much more. Read on to see five activities to include on your vacation itinerary.
Explore Nashville’s Wild Side
At the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere (3777 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN), kids of all ages will love watching the various animals living in habitats all across the property. From the spider monkeys and clouded leopard to the giraffes, zebras and meerkats, there’s a wide variety of species for everyone to enjoy. Plus, zoo admission includes a visit to the Grassmere Historic Home and surrounding farm where visitors can see how farmers from the 1800s used to live and work.
Go On an Adventure
With so much to do and learn at the Adventure Science Center (800 Fort Negley Blvd., Nashville, TN), it might be hard to figure out where to start. After all, there are numerous hands-on, interactive exhibits regarding bee keeping, dinosaurs, how the body works, physics of light and more. All are great fun, but knowing the kids, they’ll head straight for the Adventure Tower, a 75-foot-tall climbing tower with an observation deck. The science center is the perfect place to spend a few hours or even the entire day.
Take a Tour
One of the best ways to see and learn about Nashville is by taking a tour on the hop-on, hop-off trolley with Old Town Trolley Tours (201 Broadway, Nashville, TN). This fully narrated tour points out more than 100 points of interest and includes 15 stops at such Nashville landmarks as the Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame. Riders can hop off, see a local attraction, and then catch the next available trolley when ready to move on. Tickets are good all day, which is great when kids want to take a break.
Visit the Athens of the South
Not many know that Nashville has been referred to as the Athens of the South because it is the home of The Parthenon (2500 West End Ave., Nashville, TN), a replica of the Parthenon in Greece. Originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, the building houses a re-creation of the original 42-foot-high Athena statue. This is a great way for families to explore another culture without leaving the United States. The building also houses the city’s art museum.
Create Some Artful Memories
What better souvenir than art created by every family member? At Martin ArtQuest Gallery (919 Broadway, Nashville, TN), visitors engage in 30 different hands-on stations, where they sketch, paint, create collages and more. Along the way, you'll learn about specific art elements, the different media and methods artists use and the meaning behind art. Plus, all children ages 18 and younger visit for free.
Making Plans to Go
Because of its musical foundation, Nashville is a busy town all year long. Throw in spectator sports for the NFL, the NHL and Vanderbilt University athletics, and Nashville can get quite crowded. Check the city’s website for a calendar of events and try to work around the major events. Also, Nashville gets quite cold and sometimes snowy in the winter, so for those families wanting warmer weather, plan to go anytime from spring through fall.
Karon Warren has covered travel for nearly 20 years with numerous print and online publications. Her byline has appeared in USA Today, USA Today’s 10 Best, WorkingMother.com, FamilyVacationCritic.com. and many others. She is a member of both the Society of American Travel Writers and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. In addition to her freelance work for other clients, she also writes for her own travel site, ThisGirlTravels.com