With its live music, vibrant nightlife, and active sports scene, Nashville is well known for being a fun and exciting place for adults to visit. As it turns out however, there is plenty of things to see and do with kids too. If you're heading to the Music City with children in tow, here are a few suggestions of how you can keep them active, engaged, and entertained, while still having plenty of fun yourself.
Visit the Nashville Zoo
The Nashville Zoo is a great place to take kids for a full day of activities. Not only will you find an amazing collection of exotic animals — including rhinos, giraffes, and bears — there is also a petting zoo, an animal-themed jungle gym, a carousel and a train to ride too. Throw in opportunities to interact with kangaroos, tortoises, and an assortment of birds, and your little travelers are likely to be enthralled for hours. The bravest of them may even want to ride the Soaring Eagle zip line, which may look a little scary at first, but is a fun and unique way to see the zoo from the air.
Get Educated at the Adventure Science Center
A visit to the Adventure Science Center can be fun and exhilarating, while giving kids a chance to learn something new at the same time. With more than 175 exhibits to explore, not to mention plenty of special events and interactive displays, the ASC is unlike any other place in Nashville. Here, visitors can learn about gravity, experiment with the physics of light, discover how tsunamis work, and much more. If you have the time, be sure to take in one of the shows at the planetarium as well, as they are guaranteed to amaze and delight.
Romp Through Fannie Mae Dees Park
Nashville as many parks to explore, many of which have a lot to offer young travelers. But Fannie Mae Dees Park is especially enthralling for the little ones thanks in part to its colorful dragon statue. This feature has given Fannie Mae the nickname "the dragon park" and often lures in visitors young and old. The famous drawing is the main attraction of course, but once there you'll find several play areas that small children in particular will love. They'll have a blast discovering all of the swings, slides, suspended walkways, and other attractions that are on hand.
Take in a Show at the Nashville Children's Theatre
The Nashville Children's Theatre has played an active role in the city's art scene since 1931, putting on a wide variety of plays and special events all year long. The theater selects plays that are designed for kids of all ages, with professional actors and a dedicated staff working hard to bring those performances to life. Regular workshops and camps are also offered, giving kids an empowering outlet to explore their creative sides and foster their talents. This is a great place for children to learn about the arts, potentially creating a lifelong love of the theater in the process.
Get the Adrenaline Pumping on a Zip Line
Zip lining is one of those activities that is fun to do just about anywhere you travel. In Nashville, the place to go for a zip is Adventureworks, which has two locations in the area. Here, kids and adults will have a blast taking on the zip lining course as a trained guide leads them through the fun. Afterwards, if they're still looking for more of an adrenaline rush, the Adventureworks West venue also offers an aerial adventure course that sends visitors up into the canopy of the trees where they'll walk, climb, and swing through the forest.
Beat the Heat on a Water Slide
There are several waterparks in the greater Nashville area, but one of the best and most easily accessible is Nashville Shores. The park features eight unique slides, multiple pools, a lazy river, and more. Additionally, visitors also gain access to nearby Percy Priest Lake where there is a whole different set of attractions, including the Aqua Park and Banana Boat. If that still isn't enough to keep the kids busy, then perhaps the Treetop Adventure Park, complete with its own set of zip lines, will add yet another dimension of fun.
Wander Through Opryland Resort
The Opryland Resort may look like just another hotel, but it truly does have plenty to offer families looking for fun things to do with their kids. The on-site gardens are filled with lush, beautiful plants and as well as lovely fountains and waterfalls. There are several kid-friendly restaurants on the premises and a new water park, called SoundWaves, has recently opened. There is even an option to take a Delta tour by boat, all while remaining indoors. These attractions make Opryland a good option on rainy days or when the legendary heat and humidity of Nashville are just too much to handle.
Feel the Need for Speed on a Go Kart
Travel a short distance from Nashville to nearby Hendersonville and you'll discover the Holder Family Fun Center. With its well-stocked arcade, 36-lane bowling alley, two-story laser tag facility, and 18-hole miniature golf course, the Fun Center is practically a kid's dream come true. But, the top attraction just might be the indoor go-kart course, which sends racers flying around a track designed to test their nerve and skill. This is one of those places where it is tough to tell whether it is more enjoyable for kids or adults, but it will definitely keep the entire family occupied for quite some time.
Escape From Reality for a Little While
Escapes rooms are trendy and popular attractions everywhere, and Nashville is no exception. The Escape Game offers visitors a half-dozen different themed escape rooms to choose from, including Mission: Mars, Prison Break, and the especially kid-friendly Playground. Once you've picked the room you want to try, you and your family are locked inside and given one hour to try to break out. You'll do that by discovering clues, solving puzzles, and uncovering hidden objects. The various rooms offer an incredibly immersive experience that has to be seen to be believed, and since The Escape Game operates three different locations throughout Nashville, you'll never be too far from your next adventure.
Take a Walk Through Centennial Park
One of Nashville's premier green spaces is without a doubt Centennial Park. This 132-acre oasis located in the heart of the city has plenty of things to do, most of which don't cost a thing. For instance, the park has a scenic one-mile walking trail that is great for stretching your legs. It is also home to Lake Watauga, the Centennial Art Center, several historical monuments, an arts activity center, and a sunken garden. If that wasn't enough, it also features a band shell where live music is performed regularly, an events shelter, several sand volleyball courts, and a dog park. Oh, and did we mention it also features an exact replica of the Parthenon found in Greece? Yep, that's right. Nashville has its very own Parthenon and it is a lot of fun to wander through.