Baby's Day Out in Nashville, TN
Cheekwood is usually associated with sophistication. But babies' tastes aren't so different from arty adults'; they hunger for bright colors, beautiful forms, and the sights and sounds of nature. So they'll love a day out at Cheekwood. The grounds hold a dozen themed gardens, including a water garden with ponds and bridges, and a .9 mile sculpture trail that juxtaposes contemporary sculpture with native plants. Their art includes a permantent collection and various rotating exhibits, including cool outdoor displays (like treehouses inspired by great works of literature). Visitors can buy box lunches from their restaurant and picnic under the trees. And admission is free for kids 2 and under.
A walk to the park is the perfect way to enjoy a beautiful spring or fall day with your baby. This park's convenient location makes it walkable for many Nashvillians – it's just blocks from Vanderbilt and Hillsboro Village. Adults can get some exercise, and kids love the huge concrete serpent that inspired the nickname “dragon park,” decorated with colorful tile shards painted by local artists. The park offers picnic tables and shelters, a playground, grass fields, and a tennis court. Babies can play in the shade, while older kids can run around until they're tired.
Babies are just beginning to learn about the world around them. They're fascinated by animals, so give them the chance to see more than the same old cats, dogs and squirrels at the Nashville Zoo. This 200-acre animal enclosure features Gibbon Island, an elephant savanna, an indoor animal house featuring reptiles, amphibians, fish, bugs and bats, and the Bamboo Trail with exotic animals like red pandas, hornbills, ring-tailed lemurs, and clouded leopards. The zoo's winding trails are iviting, and their re-creations of animals' natural habitats look convincing. It might be hard to see every animal in one day -- but if you do, there's also a huge playground on-site.
You're never too young to start learning about science. Babies are endlessly curious about the world around them, and this Nashville attraction exposes them to amazing sights and sounds, while providing entertainment for older children and adults. Kids under 2 get free admission, and will love watching an IMAX film or laser show at the planetarium. Exhibits include a flight simulator, human body models, “adventure tower” packed with cool displays, and special temporary installations like “science in toyland." And the center of the building is a huge playground.
Storytime is the perfect entertainment option for babies -- even if they can't understand all the words. If you're short on baby-appropriate books or inspiration, take young ones to the Nashville public library. You'll find variety of fun, free activities that will keep them riveted. Colorful characters like Library Pete share great tales, and the Puppet House showcases dramas featuring Tommy Dog, Cedric the Dragon and Jimmy Giraffe. Shows at the main branch are held thrice daily on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; some neighborhoods like Inglewood and Richland Park have their own storytime. And you can help toddlers pick out their own books for at-home storytelling.