Adventure Science Center
For children (and adults) who love all things scientific, The Adventure Science Center is a can’t-miss attraction in Nashville. The center is a non-profit museum featuring over 175 interactive exhibits that highlight numerous facets of the natural world that fall under the umbrella term of ‘science.’ Kids are guaranteed to enjoy moonwalking in the two-story ‘Space Chase’ exhibit and operating their own jet aircraft in the ‘Blue Max’ exhibit. Adults can also take part in the center’s rotating events, such as the annual ‘Science of Beer’ beer-tasting festival and the regular ‘Way Late Play Dates,’ during which the center opens its doors for a night of themed scientific adventure.
Saturday Storytime at Parnassus Books
Parnassus Books, the independent bookstore co-owned by Karen Hayes and bestselling author Ann Patchett, is perhaps most known for its unbeatable selection of new books and its impressive roster of readings and author events. However, the store also offers a wide selection of children’s books, and every Saturday morning at 10:30 the shop also hosts a Saturday Storytime in their newly renovated children’s literature space. Kids will enjoy the stories and songs, and adults can take advantage of the opportunity to browse the shelves of this ever-popular Nashville bibliophile paradise.
Ice Cream at Mike’s
Broadway may be filled mostly with bars that are definitively not kid-friendly, but nestled in the heart of this stretch of honky tonks, you’ll find one of the best local spots for ice cream in the entire city: Mike’s Ice Cream. While other popular spots such as Jeni’s offer smaller servings of more eclectic flavors, Mike’s Ice Cream specializes in generous portions of high-quality, handmade ice cream done right. Kids will love the shop’s old-fashioned feel and the piled-high cones, and adults will appreciate the authenticity of the shop and its offering of both classic and unique flavors, such as butter pecan and red velvet cake (not to mention the full menu of coffee and espresso drinks).
See a Dragon at Fannie Mae Dees Park
Nashville is full to bursting with parks and green spaces that will satisfy any craving you may be harboring for outdoor adventure. One of the most kid-friendly of the numerous Music City parks, however, is Fannie Mae Dees; here, you’ll find a giant sculpture of a dragon (constructed by Pedro Silva and decorated in colorful tile by numerous Nashville volunteers) guaranteed to keep kids entertained. (Note: Due to some cracking and tile damage, the dragon is currently surrounded by a fence. However, the city is working hard to restore the climbable sculpture to its original condition; stay updated on the city’s progress by checking their website before you head over to the park.)
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
The Country Music Hall of Fame, located in the heart of downtown Nashville, is one of the city’s most popular and frequented attractions, and for good reason. This 350,000-square foot behemoth of a museum offers visitors a truly one-of-a-kind glimpse into every facet of country music, from its historical roots to its contemporary shape and form. And while adults will certainly enjoy the museum’s many state-of-the-art exhibits and galleries, kids, too, can get their fill of interactive and entertaining country music education; in fact, the museum recently opened an exhibit space devoted entirely to children, and the museum frequently offers programs and events geared towards the young.
Play on the Largest Community-Built Playground in America
At the Nashville Zoo, you’ll find more critters and crawlers than you can count. But what the Zoo is really known for, however, is its legendary playground: the jungle gym, complete with a 35-foot-tall tree house and snake tunnel, is so popular that it was even named on of the World’s Coolest Playgrounds by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Clearly, this is not your average swing set – kids will love the opportunity to slide, swing, and climb just like the creatures they can see throughout the zoo.