Nashville's Family-Friendly Attractions

April 29, 2011 at 3:25 am EST
Adventure Science Center in Nashville, TN

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Adkins

Everyone knows Nashville is an exciting city for adults, with cultural attractions, sporting events and a vibrant nightlife. But it’s also a family-friendly city where kids can find endless opportunities for adventure.

“Nashville is a friendly and affordable city with countless activities for both kids and adults,” says Deana Ivey, senior vice president of marketing for the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Our attractions are always finding ways to entertain their younger audiences, and several offer family programs meant to engage and educate all ages. Whether you’re looking for indoor rainy-day activities or an outdoor adventure, Nashville has plenty to stimulate the mind, exercise the body and entertain the entire family.”

Parents appreciate the educational value of places like the Parthenon, The Hermitage, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts – all of which combine education and fun.

“Kids love the excitement of places like Nashville Shores and the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere or checking out the quirky cars at Lane Motor Museum,” Ivey says.

Nashville Zoo

The Nashville Zoo transports visitors to a jungle-like destination, with green tree canopies shading trails that wind through exhibits featuring mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish.

“Nashville Zoo offers an exciting discovery of our natural world through beautiful animal exhibits, engaging educational shows, and safe, enjoyable events,” says Jim Bartoo, marketing and public relations director at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. “We recently added some new species to our collection. We have a herd of eight Damara zebra – all are female, and we believe all eight are pregnant with foals arriving in late summer or early fall 2009.”

A pair of giant anteaters also recently moved in to their new home at the zoo, and the zoo’s Jungle Gym playground was upgraded in early 2009 with new water features for kids to play in.

“Almost all our events and educational programs are designed for young children,” Bartoo says. “Nashville Zoo offers the largest Easter egg hunt in Nashville and the largest Halloween event for families. We also have several campouts in the summer that give families a chance to sleep over at the zoo.”

Adventure Science Center

Nashville’s innovative Adventure Science Center is another popular destination that provides plenty of activity – rain or shine.

“The Adventure Science Center just added the new Sudekum Planetarium and Space Chase exhibit hall, which includes a simulated moon walk,” Ivey says.

The Sudekum Planetarium impresses audiences with a star projector that fills its dome with more than 6.5 million twinkling stars. Visitors can relax in gently sloping seats while taking in the beauty of a breathtakingly realistic night sky and a booming surround sound system.

Space Chase is Adventure Science Center’s new 15,000-square-foot addition that lets kids and adults discover the wonders of the universe. The first floor’s hands-on, interactive exhibits allow visitors to experience what it feels like to walk on the moon, attempt activities in zero gravity, and try to hit lighted targets by firing a special launcher. Additional second-floor exhibits are slated to open with Phase II of the addition in fall 2009.

Frist Center

Another kid-friendly attraction in Nashville is the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, which offers free art classes one Saturday a month to children ages 5 to 10 through the free Kids Club.

Other popular family destinations include the Nashville Public Library and its many children’s programs; the Nashville Children’s Theatre, ranked by Time magazine as one of the top five children’s theaters in the country; Centennial Sportsplex, which offers ice skating, swimming and more; and a plethora of neighborhood parks, including the popular Dragon Park near Hillsboro Village with its colorful sea serpent sculpture that kids – and adults – love to climb.

Read about more fun things to do in Nashville, TN.

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