As part of our first stop on our 6 month road trip in the US, we stopped in Nashville for two weeks. I had been to Nashville several times before, but mostly for bachelorette parties or girls weekends (which it is amazing for!), so I was a little skeptical about how family friendly it would be. But boy was I pleasently suprised! Spending those two weeks in Nashville and exploring the city with my kids made me only fall in love with it even more. Below I am rounding up my favorite activities for young kids in Nashville!
My 5 Favorite Nashville Kid-friendly Activities
- Nashville Zoo
- Science Adventure Center
- Aquarium Restaurant
- Nashville Children’s Theatre
- Nashville Downtown Library
Why I love the Nashville Zoo
So we are sort of zoo snobs over here considering we visit every zoo we encounter, and I have to say the Nashville Zoo is definitely in my top 3 zoo’s. We LOVED it! It is well spaced out, very clean, has wonderful interactive exhibits, an amazing playground and is cleverly designed to minimize “cages” and “fences” to make it feel less like a zoo and more like a nature visit. We visited here for about 4-5 hours and probably still could have stayed a little longer! But at least give yourself half a day to enjoy all it has to offer.
Hands down, my absolute favorite exhibit at the zoo was Lorakeet Landing. For a few bucks, you can buy a cup of nectar and then head into the lorakeet area to feed the birds. These birds were ready for you when you came in, and it was so much fun!! They land on your arms, hand, and sometimes even your head and use their tongues to suck the nectar out of the cup. It was such a unique experience to be able to interact with and feed these birds – my kids ate it up. We loved it so much we bought a second nectar cup to do it again!
They also have some fun rides for the kids – like a carousel, a train and a fast past zip line ride. Their playground is one of the best kids playgrounds we have ever been too. The zoo is nice and spaced out, and we never felt crowded or overwhelmed. I love this zoo!
The Adventure Science Center ranks high on my list of children’s museums for its educational, fun and interactive exhibits. We spent the whole day here and had a blast. Overall, the museum is geared more towards the 4+ age group, but they just finished a wonderful exhibit on the first floor that is geared towards young learners that both my 3 year old and 6 year old loved.
The space exhibit in this museum was a huge hit with my kids. Not only do they have an awesome IMAX experience with shows about space, but my daugther got to moonwalk! She got strapped into a harness and felt what it would be like to walk on the moon without gravity. We got to see some beautiful replicas of the planets and spaceships, see how high we could shoot a rocket and experience what it is like to walk amongst the stars.
Another fun exhibit was Body Quest, which is a journey through the human body. It takes the kids on an interactive tour of what happens when you chew food, swallw it, it goes into your stomach and then out 🙂 Lets just say a fun slide is involved! There is also areas to play EMT in an ambulence and doctor during an operation.
Both my kids loved the adventure tower, which is a climbing structure located smack in the middle of the museum. If you take it to the top, you have an expansive view of downown Nashville! This is a large climbing structure so my only advice would be to stick with your kids as it goes up three levels.
We had a blast at the museum all day and both my kids loved every minute of it. It was a highlight of the trip and one we would definitely come back too!!
If your looking for a unique dining experience in Nashville with kids, The Aquarium Restaurant is absolutely the way to go! Its not everyday you get to dine in restaurant with a 200,000 – gallon aquarium filled with 100 different sea creatures. We typically bring some toys to a restaurant when we dine out with our kids to keep them entertained – not needed here! Not only did they love watching the fish and sharks swim around in their floor to ceiling aquarium, but we were even present for their mermaid show. If you have a 6 year old girl like we did, this was incredibly cool to see some ‘mermaids’ swimming around with the fish!
The main draw to the Aquarium Restaruant is definitely the ambiance, but we thought the food was really delicious as well. Both my husband and I loved our dishes, and the kids meals come out on their own cute little divided plate. While there are many appetizing entrees on the menu, be sure to save room for their incredible dessert selection! Not only did our chocolate & sorbet treat look insane (fish cookie on top!), but it tasted so sweet and savory!
Another great indoor activity in Nashville is the Children’s Theatre. They preform shows for the public on the weekend and tickets are required. We saw “The Snowy Day” short stories by Ezra Keats when we went and it was just up my kids alley. It had some artistic shadow puppetry to help tell the stories, along with three different actors that did a waonderful job playing differenrt roles.
I wasn’t sure how my kids would like it, especially my nonstop 3 year old, but surprisingly enough he sat still the whole time and both kids loved it! The show was slow at times for me, but it is geared for children, with themes and jokes that children will love, and that is exactly why my kids had fun. The show lasts about an hour but I recommend getting there early as they have crafts for children to do (we arrived on time and my kids were disappointed they didn’t have time to craft)! We loved the play and I would definitely recommend it for children! Take a look at their website to find which play would be best for your kids (the give age recommendations and descriptions to help you choose).
This has to be the best children’s public library we have ever been too! And I can’t believe its free! It is honestly worth a look at, especially for story time. This isn’t just your average story time – the room is an elaborate theatre in it of itself with comfy outcoves to sit in. Puppetry, music, juggling and singing was also a part of this production, and my kids loved it. In addition to an elaborate story time, the library has a rock climbing wall, a train table, a play structure that is a replica of downtown Nashville, laptop stations, puppet theatre and a wide range of books on the most adorable tiny shelves! If you need a great indoor activity in Nashville without spending a dime I would definitely pay a visit to this library.