Family Activities in Nashville, TN
Taking kids to the zoo is a great excuse to see it yourself. This zoo's 200 acres are home to elephants, giraffes, red pandas, clouded leopards, tigers, lynxes, African clawed frogs, toucans, ring-tailed lemurs, alligators, vipers, bats, gibbons… the list could go on. As you walk around its shady, bamboo-lined paths, you’ll come face to face with these rare animals, and learn a little bit about them. There's also a petting zoo and amazing first-class playground for kids. A day pass also lets you tour the property’s historic plantation farmhouse. For about the cost of 2 entries, you can buy a yearly membership, so you won’t need to rush to see everything. You'll look forward to returning.
Nashville lacks a major league baseball team, but who needs it? Minor league games are more fun to see: Tickets are cheap (about $10), there’s no huge crowds, and games are all the more exciting when you can score great seats. The Sounds— the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers— play games against rivals from around the country. Many past team members (like Don Mattingly) have gone on to the big leagues, so check them out before they’re big names. The slightly shabby Herschel Greer Stadium is a laid-back place to spend a summer weeknight, and they offer promotions like fireworks night, $1 hot dog night, and cheap beer on Thirsty Thursday.
If you think you don’t like bluegrass music, maybe you just haven’t experienced it in the right setting: Under a full moon on a balmy night in Nashville's Percy Warner Park. Each month from May through October 2011, the park holds these gatherings at their Equestrian Barn; headlining bands (among Middle Tennessee’s best bluegrass musicians) take the stage stage, while any enthusiastic amateur who cares to pick up an instrument can jam elsewhere on the grounds. Visitors relax on blankets or make new friends while soaking up the sounds. The $15 price of admission goes to repair flood damage in the Parks, and includes four pints of Yazoo beer. Children under 6 get in free.
If you’re sick of boring treadmill workouts, Climb Nashville has what you need. The same goes if you want to get the kids off the couch, get in shape for real outdoor climbing, or just enjoy a creative day out. This “rock gym” includes over 12,000 square feet of climbing surface, ranging from 40-foot walls to facilities safe for toddlers. Like the walls, the classes (from climbing, and belaying to yoga and abs workouts) offer something for people of all skill levels. The climbing lanes are constantly changing, so you can go often and stay challenged. Day passes, packages, and monthly memberships offer multiple options for families to spend time together. If the gang ends up hooked, look into their family membership rates for big savings.
Water becomes a valuable commodity during a Tennessee summer—at least in the form of swimming pools. And no place in Nashville has more of that element than this waterpark, on the shores of Percy Priest Lake. Their million-plus gallons of watery attractions include the Lazy River, a 17-foot-wide moving stream; Kowabunga Beach, a four-story water treehouse and "sprayground"; Breaker Bay, an ocean-sized wave pool with breakers up to four feet; water slides like Thunder and Lightning and Twin Cyclines; and “Suntan Lagoon” for plain old swimming. With all these attractions (and chances to douse unsuspecting family members), no one will get bored. And if you do, there’s a bar. Look for coupons, and consider bringing a cooler of food to picnic on outside-– snacks and extras can add up.