The Best Kid-Friendly Activities in Nashville
Nashville, with its popular attractions like the Adventure Science Center, isn’t just for adults | © Jennifer Wright / Alamy Stock Photo
Nashville evokes images of honky-tonk bars and late-night music venues, significant historical and cultural landmarks and hip boutiques in old-world neighborhoods that are just crying out for you to browse their inner depths. But you’d be surprised – a somewhat hidden side to Nashville
is just how many child-friendly activities you can find here. Visit the city with kids, and you’ll discover a side of it that’s laid-back, filled with adventures and a whole lot of fun.
The Adventure Park at Nashville
Amusement Park, Natural Feature, Sports Center
Adventurous kids will love this challenging treetop adventure, set among the forest canopy just outside Percy Warner Park. Harness up, clip yourself on and tackle a range of obstacles. From there, embark on a journey across bridges, rope courses, ladders and zip lines, all of which are ranked on difficulty so that you can progress at your own pace. The high-ropes course is suitable for kids aged seven plus, but it has a low-ropes course and a pretty awesome adventure playground for younger ones (and parents that aren’t too fond of heights). Recommended by local insider Leena Kollar
The Escape Game
Amusement Park, Sports Center
Engage your children’s brains with a visit to Nashville’s premier escape room. Get them to choose the theme (options include space, prison break, an art heist and even securing a record deal), and plunge into a 60-minute interactive, puzzle-tastic adventure that will keep your entire family on their toes. Book a private experience to ensure that it’s just your nearest and dearest in the room. Otherwise, the Escape Game may sell the remaining spots to other people – which is fine, but probably not the family-bonding experience you were after.
Yoga, with friendly, frolicking goats. What’s not to love? One for older kids (the activity isn’t suitable for under 11s), goat yoga will have your family in rhapsodies of delight as the farm’s cutest and most mischievous critters bound onto your backs, nuzzle at your nose and do just about anything to distract you from the yoga part of the package. Oh, and don’t forget to take your camera for some top photo ops. Combine it with brunch at the exceedingly well-regarded Old School restaurant next door for a family day out – even the surliest teenagers won’t be able to resist. Recommended by local insider Cristy Wicks
Nashville Children’s Theatre
Nashville Children’s Theatre is somewhat of a hidden gem. Not many of the city’s residents know about it, and it certainly deserves more recognition than it currently receives. Its annual program centers around family-friendly productions, performed by professional actors. It’s a great alternative to the cinema for an afternoon’s entertainment, and it might well foster a love of drama in your little ones that’s hard to achieve in adult-oriented theaters. Recommended by local insider Leena Kollar
Amusement Park, Swimming Pool
Kids love a water park, and Wave Country is no exception. Is it exceptional, as water parks go? Not particularly – it has a solid range of slides and a wave pool (one of the only ones in the area) – but it is an absolute godsend on a hot Tennessee summer day when all you can think about is how to cool off. While there are food concessions, you can bring a picnic, too. Shade is limited, so get here early to bag an umbrella or bring a pop-up tent along. You’ll need it! Recommended by local insider Leena Kollar
Make your kid’s fairytale dreams come true with a one-hour mermaid experience. Your child will receive a sparkly mermaid tail and spend time learning to swim like a mermaid (yes, there is a specific style they will need to perfect). For those under the age of seven, Aquamermaid (located on the Vanderbilt University campus) offers swimming parties headed up by one of its in-house mermaids. Younger kids won’t be able to don the tails due to safety concerns, but they will enjoy splashing around with their real-life mermaid instructor. Meanwhile, you’ll love the super adorable photo ops. Recommended by local insider Leena Kollar
The best way to describe Topgolf is as an augmented reality driving range, using microchipped golf balls to make target-based games a possibility. The beauty of it is that you can play different types of games depending on your skill level. If you’re a family of golf pros, aim for some of the advanced options, or simply stick at seeing how many times you can hit the target. Food and refreshments are available on the premises, with the cheese fries being a hit among kids and grown-ups alike. Recommended by local insider Chaney Curd
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 highlighting numerous facets of the natural world that fall under the umbrella term of “science.” Kids will enjoy moonwalking in the two-story Space Chase
exhibition hall and operating a jet aircraft in the Blue Max. 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 adventures.
Mike’s Ice Cream and Coffee Bar
Ice Cream Parlour, Dessert
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 and Coffee Bar. While other popular places, such as Jeni’s, offer smaller servings of more eclectic flavors, Mike’s 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 its authenticity and 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).
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
History Museum, Theater
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, located in the heart of downtown Nashville, is among the city’s most popular and frequented attractions, and for good reason. This 350,000-square-foot (32,516-square-meter) behemoth of a museum offers visitors a 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 can get their fill of interactive and entertaining country music education. The museum also frequently offers programs and events
geared towards the young.
As animal parks go, Nashville Zoo is especially kid-friendly. There are enough animals to see that you could easily spend the day here, and with a range of big mammals, monkeys and ferocious-looking reptiles to explore, you’ll likely find your offspring’s favorite somewhere. Alongside the animals, there’s an exciting adventure playground (perfect for blowing off steam), an animal hospital, a zip line and a carousel – plenty to keep everyone entertained on a fun family day out. Recommended by local insider Leena Kollar
These recommendations were updated on June 10, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.