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Can I get a yee haw!? Yes kids, we're off to the country music capital of the world - Nashville! So we are very excited to share with you our "Top 9 Family Attractions" that you can enjoy as a family, in the thumping city of Nashille!
There are so many fun things to do with kids, so keep reading to see what you might like to add to your must-do list. In addition to our favorites, in this Nashville city guide we'll share some great things to do with kids for FREE in Nashville, and if that isn't enough, we'll share our transport tips for getting around the city, as well as some fun facts you can share with friends. We list a great day trip from Nashville, and check out some famous faces that call this musical city home. We want to make sure you don’t miss out on anything when visiting the iconic city of Nashville.
So whether this is your first trip to "the Country Music Capital of the World", or you've lived within the city limits for years and just thought "I wonder what is there is to do near me", then keep reading, because we have the top things to do in Nashville with kids, just for you!
The first known settlers to the modern Nashville area were actually Native Americans who called the land home as far back as 15,000 years! The first Europeans made their mark in the 1500s, and when Tennessee was officially admitted to the union as a state in 1796, Nashville was still relatively small. In 1806, Nashville was finally chartered as a city, and in 1843, the city was officially selected as the permanent capital of Tennessee.
Today, Nashville is now the largest city in Tennessee (surpassing the population of Memphis in 2017), and when you visit, you'll see why so many people just love to spend time in this unique and vibrant city.
There are so many things to do in Nashville with kids that it won't be hard to fill those! It's an incredibly vibrant city with live music, museums, tours and much, much more! You can find delve into the history of country music at the Country Music Hall of Fame (very fitting for Nashville!), or come face to face with creatures of the world at Nashville Zoo. Nashville also has plenty of history to explore, with places like Belle Meade Historic Site an eye opening insight into the citys past.
With so much to do and see in this amazing Tennessee city, you certainly won't be short of things to do with the family! So keep reading to find out exactly how YOU can spend your next family day out in the Country Music Capital of the World!
Getting around Nashville couldn't be easier! There is a great bus system thanks to WeGo Public Transit that offers an hourly service between downtown and the airport, daily. Then, once in town you can enjoy unilmited rides for $4, taking you throughout the city. Take advantage of the FREE "Music City Circuit" offering 3 routes too.
Source and Image Credit: More information here: Visit Music City
Did you know that Nashville is home to the ONLY full-sized replica of the Parthenon in Athens? It's located in Centennial Park, and is pretty impressive! Dating back to 1897, it's made entirely out of concrete, and features a 42ft statue of Athena which is worth seeing. (Again, a recreation of what you see in Athens!) It's not only worth a stop to marvel at it, but it is also home to art installations too.
Image Credit & Website: Nashville Parthenon
Our Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In Nashville
1Country Museum Hall of Fame and Museum
You're in Nashville, so of course it makes sense to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum! Can I get a Yee Haw!? This iconic hall of fame is a great way to celebrate conutry music stars of past and present, and see how they have influenced and changed music.
The museum has a fascainating permanent collection where you can see memoribilia and artifacts from artists, plus exhibits that are always changing, so there will always be something new to see, plus they offer public programs too!
Image Credit: Country Music HoF
Science IS fun, and kids can experience that first hand at the Adventure Science Center. In fact, you might say science is an "adventure"! The hands-on exhibits are great for kids to learn all about the planet, the human body, transport, light, sound, how things work....and there is even a section for those budding scientists under 5 years.
Don't miss a visit to the Planetarium too! It's out of this world, and you just might be surprised what you uncover!
Image Credit: Adventure Science Center
Get WILD in Nashville at this charming zoo, perfect for a fun family day out. Kids can meet over 3,000 animals from all around the world, and learn about the 350 plus species that call it home!
In addition to the animals, kids can enjoy the huge jungle gym, ride a zip line and explore a historic home! Nashville Zoo is also a great place for kids to learn all about conservation, and why it's so important for us to take care of the planet and wildlife.
Image Credit: Nashville Zoo
Experience history first hand at Belle Meade Historic Site (plus winery for the parents!). Belle Meade offers mansion tours that will take you through the century long history, and the stories of the people that lived and worked there.
Also available is the Journey to Jubilee Tour that allows kids to take part in discussions about the enslaved African-Americans who were brought to (as well as born at) the mansion as far back as 1807. An invabluale learning expreince for kids.
Image Credit: Belle Meade
Make waves at the area's ONLY wave-action swimming pool - the aptly named Wave Country! Open from May to September, it's a super fun way for the family to cool off in that Tennessee summer heat.
In addition to the waves, Wave Country also has periods where the water is calm for those more nervous swimmers. There are also water flumes, speed slides and also a kiddie slides for those younger splashers. Make waves, kids, Nashville is ready!
Image Credit: Nashville Gov
It's not just incredible shows that you can enjoy at this important part of Nashville's history, you can also take a backstage tour and feel the magic first hand! The tour takes you to parts of the Grand Ole Opry that so many legends have walked in the past.
The tour includes a theater show, as well as an informative guide who can share stories of all the country music guests who have performed. You might even get a chance to step on that very stage, too! There's a daytime tour, as well as a post-show tour.
Image Credit: Grand Ole Opry
"Hello. I'm Johnny Cash". Famous words from a very famous man, and now YOU can learn all about this music legend at this AAA Gem Rated museum (one of only 6 attractions in Nashville with that rating!)
A fascinating museum filled with memorabilia and artifacts from the various stages in the life of Johnny Cash, from his relationship with June Carter to his time at Folsom Prison. Don't miss the delicious Johnny Cash BBQ behind the museum too!
Image Credit: Johnny Cash Museum
This now National Historic Landmark was built back in 1821 for President Andrew Jackson, and today offers an insight into the home life of the 7th President of the USA. Tours through this iconic piece of history offer centuries of stories, giving families a first hand experience of the goings on.
Kids can learn all about the history. from slavery, to post-Civil War, and of course Andrew Jackson himself, and his family. A fascinating and educational day out whilst in Nashville.
Image Credit: The Hermitage
A fascinating museum featuring a number of exhibits that tell the story of African American music and traditions, even as far back as the 1600s! Kids can learn all about music and the Civil Rights movement, the emergence of jazz and the origins of the blues.
It makes for an important family day out as it's the ONLY museum dedicated to educating, preserving and celebrating more than 50 music genres and styles that were created, influenced and/or inspired by African Americans.
Image Credit: NMAAM
Miley Cyrus is famously the daughter of singer Billy Ray Cyrus, and made her name as the star of Disney's Hannah Montana. She has since starred in a number of successful movies including The Last Song, and continues to top the music charts.
Image Copyright: Public Domain
Lark Voorhies is an award-winning actress best known for her role as Lisa Marie Turtle on the 90s TV show "Saved by the Bell". Her achievements stretch beyond acting, to singing, modelling and business.
Image Copyright: Marc Flores
5 Fun Nashville Facts
Impress your friends with your amazing Nashville knowledge!
- The Capitol Building of Tennessee is one of the oldest operating capitols in the USA
- Nashville was the first city to be granted an FM-broadcasting license, back in 1914!
- Nashville was named after Francis Nash - a Patriot general killed in the American Revolution (one of the few to be)
- Studio B at RCA studios located on Music Row, is where Elvis recorded over 200 of his songs. In fact, Christmas lights that he hung still remain to this day!
- The city is home to the largest Kurdish community in the entire country!
Top 5 FREE Things To Do With Kids In Nashville
Explore Tennessee State Museum
This wonderful, and free, museum is an amazing way to spend the day and learn all about the history of Nashville and the entire state. Discover the role the state played in the civil war, be inspired by a century of art, and uncover how Tennessee has transformed over the years.
The museum also holds a book club and events across the year, so make sure you check what's on before you go so you don't miss out!
Image Credit: Tennessee State Museum
Enjoy Centennial Park
One of many FREE parks to enjoy in Nashville, Centennial Park is one of the most popular at 132 acres, with the centrepoint the iconic Parthenon. There's a beautiful one-mile walking trail, arts center, stunning sunken garden, dog park, volleyball courts, and plenty of space for family fun!
Don't miss out on the events they host across the year, particularly across summer where live bands play!
Explore the Local Neighborhoods
The bright neon lights of Nashville are an iconic drawcard, but it's the distinct personality and character of the neighborhoods that really make the city come to life.
Visit the many iconic recording studios in Berry Hill, or immerse yourself in The Gulch - a now extremely photogenic yet once abanoned industrial area. History lovers will gravitate towards Germantown, the place of 19th century settlers, and so much more!
Image Credit: Visit Music City
Tour the Tennessee Station Capitol Building
Looking just like those in 1859 would have seen it, the Tennessee State Capitol offers free guided tours on weekdays (but not state holidays), and it's a great way to see the inner workings of such an iconic building.
The tours are 45 minutes, and you don't need to make a reservation if you have a party under 12 people. There are 6 tours daily. You can also enjoy a self-guided tour on weekdays too.
Image Credit: Tennessee State Museum
Visit Cooter's Place!
If you LOVE Dukes of Hazzard, then a visit to Cooter's Place is a must for you. Cooter's Place is run by Ben Jones - aka Cooter - from the popular TV series. This is museum and shop is dedicated to all things Hazzard County.
It's filled with amazing memorabilia, props, costumes, and some very very impressive cars! The museum is free to enter, but if you want to enjoy a photo in General Lee (and who wouldn't!?) then there is a small fee there.
Image Credit: Cooters Place
Best Hidden Gems in Nashville
Nashville is one of Tennesse's most charming and interesting cities - one of the others, is Chattanooga. Lucky for you, it's an easy day trip from Nashville and a great way to get out from the neon lights and surround yourselves with flowing rivers, cool mountains and stunning waterfalls!
Travel to Chattanooga from Nashville is about 134 miles on the I-24 and US 27, and just over 2 hours on the road. You get to check out the Tennessee landscape along the way too - lucky you!
Nestled along the banks of the stunning Tennessee River, in the shadow of the mountains, is a truly gorgeous city near the Georgia border. It's perfect for families who love indoor activities, and families who love getting out and exploring the outdoors. The best of both worlds!
Once an important area for Native American tribes (you can even still see evidence of 1500 year old rock art at Chickamauga Mound), the area succumbed to European settlements, going on to play an incredibly key role in the American Civil War. The city didn't take long to expand, and flourish into the Chattanooga we know and love today.
If you love history, you'll love the rich history of Chattanooga. The city is home to a host of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, along with three neighbourhoods on the list. The city is also home to a number of historic districts which are fascinating to explore.
For those outdoor loving families, Chattanooga is a great jumping off point for hiking, white-water rafting, rock-climbing, hang-gliding and more!
Image Credit: Visit Chattanooga
Here’s our top 4 Chattanooga attractions to visit:
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Let's get the family adventure started!