Nashville’s Best Bets For Families

“Music City” aka Nashville, Tennessee is full of fun, history and good eats. It’s an easy four-hour drive from metro Atlanta. Make sure not to miss these family-friendly places on your visit.

Best Hands-On Learning Spot:

Adventure Science Center
More than 150 exhibits offer hands-on experiments and activities for children. Learning is disguised as fun. Plan on spending at least three hours to explore the digestive system and the solar system, live shows, silly mazes, and the observation tower. Sudekum Planetarium is also at the Adventure Science Center with three different planetarium shows. (additional fee)

800 Fort Negley Blvd., Nashville. 615-862-5160.
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $13; ages 2-12, $11; younger than 2, free.

Best Nashville Music Experience:

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Grab your cowboy hat and head over to the Country Music Hall of Fame to learn about the rich history of country music. Check the calendar of events ahead of time, you may be able to catch an autograph session, free concert or even the popular musical petting zoo.

222 Fifth Ave. South, Nashville. 615-416-2001.
Hours: Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day)
Admission: Adults, $22; ages 6-17, $14; ages 5 and younger, free.

Best Way to Enjoy Outdoor Nashville: 

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
Located on 200 acres of the historic Croft plantation, the Nashville Zoo is a great way to enjoy natural outdoor beauty and visit a historic home. The zoo features 400 species of wildlife and over 2,000 animals. It’s also home to the “Jungle Gym,” one of the country’s largest playgrounds. With a 35-foot tall tree house, super slides and swings,  kids will enjoy crawling around in their own jungle habitat. Don’t miss one of the interactive animal shows, particularly the “Animal All Stars,” where you may be chosen to compete against the animals.
3777 Nolensville Pike, Nashville. 615-833-1534.
Hours: Open daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Admission: Ages 13 and older, $15; ages 2-12, $10; younger 2, free.

Best Way to Tour the City:

Music City Trolley Hop
Explore historic downtown Nashville on this guided sightseeing trolley tour. You can hop on and hop off as you wish. Stops include Ryman Auditorium, Bicentennial Park, the Parthenon, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Frist Museum. Purchase your trolley tickets at the 2nd and Broadway stop (at Hard Rock Café). Tour lasts one hour (without hopping off). Trolley tickets are good for 24 hours.

2nd and Broadway, Nashville. 615-248-4437.
Hours: Open daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tours on the hour.
Tickets: Adults, $20.00; ages 4-11, $10; younger than 4, free.

Best Place to Get Artsy:

Frist Center for the Visual Arts
Let the kids discover their inner artist at this art museum. The best part: kids are free. With 30 interactive stations in the museum’s Martin ArtQuest Gallery, children will have the opportunity to paint in watercolors, create prints, make collages and more. Art exhibits change every 6-8 weeks.

919 Broadway St., Nashville. 615-244-3340.
Hours: Mon.-Wed. and Sat., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (Martin ArtQuest closes at 5:30 p.m.); Sun., 1 p.m.-5:30 p.m. (Café opens at noon)
Admission: Adults $10; ages 18 and younger, free.

Best Off the Beaten Path Treat:

Elliston Place Soda Shop
Travel back in time to1939 Nashville, belly up the counter bar and enjoy an old-fashioned milkshake or soda. Elliston Place Soda Shop is Nashville’s oldest continuously operating restaurant. No ritzy décor found here, just the simple joy of Nashville history and ice cream.

2111 Elliston Pl., Nashville. 615-327-1090.
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 7 a.m.-4 p.m.

Best Nashville Eats:

Loveless Café
When your stomach starts to grumble, go ahead and dial up the Loveless Café for call-ahead seating. The best ‘from-scratch’ biscuits, fried chicken or even breakfast (served all day) is sure to satisfy every appetite. While there’s no kid menu, youngsters can easily share a meal or order a la carte items. Check out your fellow diners, you just might be seated next to one of Nashville’s country music stars.

8400 Hwy. 100, Nashville. 615-646-9700.
Hours: Open daily from 7 a.m.- 9 p.m. Closed Christmas Day. Closes at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve.

Best Place to Stay in Nashville:

Gaylord Opryland Hotel
Featuring the DreamWorks Experience Packages (Starting at $189) with Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and the Madagascar Friends, the Gaylord Opryland Hotel offers lots of fun for the family. Dine with the DreamWorks characters – the breakfast buffet (ogre juice anyone?) is a delicious way to mingle with characters and get some great photos (available through Sept. 1). Nine acres of lush indoor gardens with more than 8,000 tropical plants make the Gaylord Opryland worth a visit even if you’re not staying there. Waterfalls, bubbling brooks and gazebos allow for lots of photo opps. Try to see one of the fountain shows – you’ll not be disappointed.

2800 Opryland Dr., Nashville. 615-889-1000.

by Dana diLorenzo
Kirby Cooperman also contributed to the story


Nashville visitor information:

Online at or call 800-657-6910. E-mail:
Check the website for special event listings and exclusive information regarding vacation packages, discounts, and deals. The Music City Total Access Discount Attraction Pass lets you build-your-own pass. Choose from a list of top Nashville spots and save up to 50 percent.