Things to do in Franklin and Williamson County, for kids.
Ask Williamson County parents why they chose to put down roots here, and they’ll likely mention the award-winning public and private schools. But equally popular answers include the county’s vast recreation opportunities, family-friendly festivals and abundance of fun places to entertain the kids.
Clay and Laurie Carpenter moved to Brentwood from Nashville’s Green Hills neighborhood when they decided to start a family in 2004.
“We already had family that had lived in Williamson County, and they kept telling us what a great place it was to settle down,” says Laurie, a photographer. “We’ve found there is a real sense of community here. Besides the great educational opportunities, there is such a wide variety of entertainment options.”
Williamson County Parks & Attractions
The Carpenters’ two sons, 9-year-old Colin and 7-year-old Zach, love to play at local parks, including Granny White Park near Brentwood High School and River Park near the Brentwood YMCA. They also frequent the NUTRO Dog Park with their dog Henry.
“If you have young kids like we do, you want to find kid-friendly fun, and there is no shortage here,” says Clay Carpenter, who works in information technology for Ingersoll Rand. “We love living in Williamson County. It fits our lifestyle and the phase of life we are in.”
Little explorers enjoy visiting the Treehouse Playground and Discovery Room at Bowie Nature Park in Fairview, while bookworms can’t get enough of the Brentwood Children’s Library. Recently named one of the top 10 children’s libraries in the country by Livability.com, the Brentwood Children’s Library engages young readers with its whimsical decor and innovative programs, including Lego Mania and Read With Lily, where kids can read with Lily the dog.
“We also love The Factory at Franklin for its terrific restaurants and shopping and wonderful places for the kids,” Laurie Carpenter says. “Colin is our artist, and he loves to paint pottery at Third Coast Clay there. Our kids also like what we call the ‘jumpy places,’ like Monkey Joe’s, Glow Galaxy and Pump It Up. Perfect destinations for a rainy day.”
Williamson County Festivals and Events
Franklin resident Julie McGlasson and her 5-year-old daughter, Jada, enjoy flying kites at Pinkerton Park and walking around Historic Downtown Franklin.
“It’s always a fun surprise when we are downtown to find a festival going on that we did not know about,” says McGlasson, senior director of Regulatory Practices for Brookdale Senior Living. “Last year we happened upon the Celebration of Nations and had a wonderful time listening to music from other countries.”
Downtown Franklin’s annual Main Street Festival in April and Pumpkinfest in October are huge draws for families, with live music, food vendors, arts and crafts, and children’s games. Spring Hill’s Country Ham Festival in October also caters to kids, with activities, games and competitions.
“We always attend the Williamson County Fair,” Laurie Carpenter says. “It has so many attractions and is such a diverse experience for kids, and adults too. And we regularly attend the annual 4th of July Celebration at Crockett Park in Brentwood. There is great live music and a picnic scene to enjoy before fireworks start.”
Birthday Parties in Williamson County
Birthday parties are a cinch in Williamson County too, thanks to the abundance of venues geared toward children.
“The Franklin Family Entertainment Center has an area designed just for kids to bowl, so I don’t have to worry about my daughter getting in the way of adult bowlers,” McGlasson says. “Williamson County has been wonderful for birthday parties. We’ve enjoyed parties at Pump It Up, Divas and Dudes, A-Game Sportsplex, Treehouse Playground, Monkey Joe’s and so many other spots.”
The Score and Goofballs Family Fun Center are other popular options for indoor play and parties. But even more important than the plethora of entertainment options, McGlasson says, is Williamson County’s friendly, small-town feel.
“One example is at the grocery store,” she says. “Jada is on a first-name basis with several of the employees.”