ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Nashville’s warm and friendly atmosphere and countless family-friendly attractions make it the perfect destination for a family getaway. From indoor, rainy-day activities to outdoor water parks, from art to music to theatre, Nashville has plenty to stimulate the mind, exercise the body and entertain the whole family!
Adventure Science Center
It’s an amazing, original, scientific adventure!Make your way down the hatch to the “Heart of it All,” engage in “BodyBattles” or explore “Adventure Tower”that features 2,800 square feet of hands-on learning plus other exciting, interactive exhibits and displays. The newest addition to the Adventure Science Center is the $21.4 million, 160-seat Sudekum Planetarium. The state-of-the-art planetarium has a 63-foot dome and can display 6.5 million stars. The addition also includes the Space Chase exhibit hall which houses 30 original displays and 63 interactive stations, including a simulated moon walk.
Belle Meade PlantationM
Once a world renowned 5,400-acre Thoroughbred horse farm and now a historic site and museum, Belle Meade Plantation is where the bloodlines of Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones and Giacomo all began. Tour the historic mansion, walk the plantation grounds and shop in the unique museum gift shop for a hands-on experience with life in the mid 1800s. After your tour, enjoy lunch or a weekend brunch at the Southern-inspired Harding House located above the visitors center.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
Tour Tennessee via a 200-foot granite map, a walkway featuring the 95 counties, 31 fountains representing the major rivers of Tennessee and an extraordinary history wall. The park also includes a large carillon, World War II Memorial, 2,000-seat amphitheatre and visitor center.
Nashville’s legendary hotspot allows patrons to enjoy songwriters performing original material in an intimate “in the round setting.” Bluebird Cafe is a great spot for older children to hear from the songwriters behind their favorite radio tunes and learn a little about the not-so-public names that are so important to Music City.
Built in 1825 by Randal McGavock and later used as a field hospital, Carnton played a central role in the Civil War when four Confederate generals were killed during the bloody Battle of Franklin. Their bodies were placed on the rear veranda of this stately Greek Revival mansion. Bloodstains are still visible on the floorboards. Today, visitors tour the distinctive large brick house to learn of19th century Tennessee life.
Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art
Cheekwood is the perfect place for the whole family. Mom and Dad can enjoy the beautiful estate, museum of art and botanical garden while the kids enjoy the arts and crafts activities offered throughout the week including “Tuesdays for Tots” and “Saturday AM.”
Take a garden scavenger hunt. Count frogs by the pond. Discover the sculpture trail. Or just let your children roam free throughout the grounds, following the stream and chasing butterflies. Family-focused, self-guided tour experiences (both indoors and out) will fire your children’s imagination and awaken them to the marvels of the natural world. With interactive art projects every Saturday morning Cheekwood is the place to be this summer! Backpack Adventure backpacks, loaned free of charge, are filled with clip-boards, art supplies and fun activity books for up to 3 people, making the experience even more enriching for families and visitors of all ages.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Engage your children in a hands-on history of country music at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Many of the exhibits in the museum are interactive. There are also programs designed for children that expand on the story told in the exhibitions and include interactions with songwriters, musicians and artists. Workshops are held one Saturday a month at 1:00 p.m. and are free.
Ernest Tubb Record Shop & Grimey's New & Pre-Loved Music
Shop for the hard-to-find vintage classic or the latest release at these legendary record shops. Ernest Tubb specializes in all things country, and Grimey’s is known for its vintage and indie collection. Both were recently listed in Paste Magazine’s “Coolest Record Stores in America.”
Fontanel Mansion and Farm
Fontanel Mansion, a 27,000-square-footlog home formerly owned by Country Music Hall of Fame® member Barbara Mandrell, opened its doors to the public on June 7, 2010. Located less than 15 minutes from downtown Nashville, The Mansion at Fontanel boasts three stories, more than 20 rooms, thirteen bathrooms, five fireplaces, two kitchens, an indoor pool, and even an indoor shooting range, all on 136 acres of pristine land. An exclusive spot for the stars, the home and grounds have been the setting for numerous photo and video shoots.
Additionally, the Mansion features one-of-a-kind items, personal photos, and keepsakes of the Mandrell family and of artists including Alabama, Kenny Chesney, Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, and many others. Guests can experience The Woods at Fontanel,The Trails at Fontanel and dine at Café Fontanella. Nashville’s only country music mansion tour, the Mansion at Fontanel gives visitors a sneak peek into the lives of country music greats by providing a truly interactive experience. Tours are available 7 days a week from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Settled on Christmas Day, Fort Nashborough was erected in 1779 by James Robertson and John Donelson. The replica fort, one-fourth the size of the original, contains five small cabins situated on the banks of the Cumberland River. Donelson led a group of settlers from North Carolina down the Cumberland River to their new home, (named in honor of Revolutionary War General Francis Nash). Among the settlers was Donelson’s own daughter Rachel, who would later become the wife of President Andrew Jackson.
Visit the largest and most important of the fortifications built by Union forces after Nashville fell in 1862 during the Civil War. Fort Negley is the largest inland stone fortification constructed during the Civil War. Admission is free, so be sure to stop by the Visitors Center and tour the fort for spectacular views of Nashville.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
A 24,000-square foot visual art exhibition center and educational facility located downtown in Nashville’s art-deco, former U.S. Post Office building has an ever-changing schedule of exhibitions from local, regional, national and international sources. The center also features the interactive ArtQuest gallery that houses thirty incredible hands-on stations. Visitors of all ages are invited and encouraged to create prints and collages, paint and sketch, or learn about photography, architecture, and the essentials of art, including depth, color, light, and perspective. The activities at the stations change as the Frist Center’s exhibitions change, so there’s always something new to try. Kids 18 and under are always welcome free of charge.
Take a ride on the famous General Jackson Showboat where you can enjoy delicious meals and world-class entertainment while cruising the majestic Cumberland River. Midday cruises and evening cruises include a three-course dinner and live music show.
Grand Ole Opry
Expose the entire family to some of country’s greatest stars at the famous Grand Ole Opry. The world’s longest-running radio show has become a live-entertainment phenomenon dedicated to honoring country music’s rich history and dynamic present. In the summer, enjoy a musical night under the stars at the free outdoor Opry Plaza Parties, located just outside the Opry House on Saturday nights.
Explore Nashville’s past as your family tours The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson by guides in period costume. Take a hands-on-history class or enjoy a ride on a horse-drawn wagon as you hear about the exciting and controversial life of our seventh president.
Lane Motor Museum
Located in a former 132,000-square-footbakery, this eclectic museum features a unique collection of European automobiles including the largest Tatra collection outside Europe, one-of-a-kind cars, micro-cars, amphibious vehicles, competition cars, and motorcycles. The museum also has a kids’ play area.
Mansker’s Fort is an authentic reconstruction of a 1779 frontier forted station typical of early Cumberland Settlements. While at the fort, visitors can experience the lifestyles of early settlers through living history demonstrations. Touch hand-hewn timbers, see the blacksmith work, and smell the smoke from the cook fire. With your visit, come to know some of the strong faith and hardy spirit of the people who lived there more than 200 years ago.
Nashville Children's Theatre
Ranked by TIME Magazine as one of the top five children’s theaters in the country, the Nashville Children’s Theatre is the oldest professional, non-profit theatre dedicated exclusively to kids and families in the country. NCT recently underwent a complete renovation and is enjoying its 81st season producing quality theatre in its state-of-the-art theatre. NCT also offers camps and classes throughout the year for children of different ages.
This 385-acre family recreation destination includes a water park with giant slides and water features, swimming area, sandy beaches, a 323-slip marina, volleyball, mini-golf and other attractions including lakeside picnic areas. The park recently expanded to include a 25,000-square-foot wave pool, a 30,000-square-foot deck and food lounge, and a 1,000-foot-long lazy river. The most recent addition, having just opened in July 2012, is Treetop Adventure Park. The new aerial adventure course features 100 obstacles including suspended bridges, 10 zip lines, cargo nets, Tarzan jumps, and more. The park is divided into courses based on age and ability so everyone can participate.
The Nashville Symphony Orchestra offers several programs for children that are both entertaining and educational. Programs include “Is It a Fiddle or a Violin?” a program in collaboration with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Pied Piper Concert Series and Gaylord Entertainment Foundation’s Young People’s Concerts.
Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
The Nashville zoo features a wide variety of exotic animals from around the world housed in beautiful, natural habitats. In addition, the zoo offers animal shows, keeper talks, and a carousel. Recent additions to the zoo include seven zebras, a pair of white tigers, three clouded leopards, and a couple of giant anteaters.
The world’s only full-sized reproduction of the Greek Parthenon that houses Athena, the tallest indoor structure in the Western world, and fine art galleries, including a rotating gallery featuring the museum’s collection of American art.
Tennessee Performing Arts Center
The Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Tennessee Repertory Theatre all call TPAC home. In addition, several Broadway shows, concerts, and special engagements come to TPAC annually presenting up to 500 performances a year and attended by up to 500,000 audience members. “Family Field Trips,” is a three-show series that combines music, theatre, and dance designed for family audiences. Unlike anything else presented in Nashville or Middle Tennessee, the series, in its sixth year, gives audiences of all ages a fun, family-friendly experience with live performance.
Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame & Museumtshf.net
Featuring sports from team to extreme! Visitors can play virtual reality one-on-one basketball, strength train like an Olympic swimmer, hop in a kayak to simulate shooting the rapids on the Ocoee River, and learn about Tennessee’s sports heroes.
Travellers Rest Plantation & Museum
Built in 1779 by Judge John Overton, friend and law partner of President Andrew Jackson, Travellers Rest allows guests to experience life in early Nashville from its frontier days through the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Dive into the wave action fresh water pool and water slide complex at the area’s original wave-action swimming pool. Ride the waves or drop from a 40 foot tower.
GREAT RESTAURANTS FOR KIDS
Their mission says it all “high quality, hearty dishes at a reasonable price in a fun, relaxed and efficient setting.” The kids’ menu offers smaller portions of the restaurant’s signature items.
Elliston Place Soda Shop
This old-fashioned soda shop (opened in1939) is known for its great burgers, frothy ice cream sodas and delicious chocolate shakes. This time capsule of Americana, with its red-and-white tiled walls, old beat-up Formica tables and individual booth jukeboxes, will make you think you have stepped back in time.
Hard Rock Cafe
Walls covered with decades of Top 40 memorabilia, rock songs blaring in the background and an all-American menu typify this music-themed restaurant.
Loveless Café, which started serving its famous fried chicken and biscuits in 1951, remains unchanged in the quaint country charm and good cooking that has made it a landmark in the South since the doors opened.
An authentic New York style delicatessen, Noshville New York Delicatessen’s goal is simple: to prepare and serve the highest quality delicatessen food in a friendly, comfortable atmosphere.
The Old Spaghetti Factory
For more than a generation, families and friends have been going to The Old Spaghetti Factory to enjoy the delicious food, charming atmosphere and friendly service. You will dine amid fine antiques, collected from around the world, while savoring perfectly cooked pasta and spaghetti sauces, freshly made, using only the finest ingredients.
For a special breakfast treat, head to the Pancake Pantry in trendy Hillsboro Village, where you can choose from 24 different varieties of pancakes. The line forms early and people will wait to get a taste of the world famous flapjacks.
This upscale and vibrant restaurant boasts a perfect blend of simple southern comfort and big city flair. It has a great kid’s menu with smaller portions of their most popular dishes.
This cute cottage restaurant is outfitted with tables that double as griddles. Amateur pancake makers are given unlimited amounts of their choice of pancake mix and toppings to create their own pancake creations.
Started in 1945, Rotier’s is a family-owned meat-and-three restaurant with an old mid-South style charm. Located in Elliston Place near Vanderbilt campus, Rotier’s is a local favorite that has won “Best Cheeseburger” in town for eleven years in a row.
This hip and casual restaurant in Edgehill Village offers a made-fresh-daily menu of Mexican-inspired food and a family-friendly atmosphere. Kids eat free every Monday when they wear their Taco Mamacita shirt.