Can the home of country music really be a fun place to visit with kids? As home to numerous clubs and concert venues, one may wonder if there are many things to do with kids in Nashville, Tennessee. We decided to take our extended Thanksgiving vacation and spend four nights in the Music City, and were so impressed with how much there was to do with our family. All of us, including our two kids, loved our stay in Nashville and would definitely return.
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Things to Do in Nashville With Kids
One of the things that we absolutely wanted to do was to learn more about country music. We started on that mission by doing the backstage tour at the Grand Ole Opry House. Located between the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center and the Opry Mills Mall, the Grand Ole Opry House offers several different tour options. During our stay, the Grand Ole Opry show had moved to the Ryman while the How the Grinch Stole Christmas show took over the Opry House, so we opted for the backstage tour.
Tickets for the backstage tour are available in advance (you can choose a tour time) or in person. The tour lasts about 45 minutes, and includes two small videos that explain the history and importance of the Grand Ole Opry, as well as what it means to be selected as a member. During the tour, you’ll see the talent entrance, the member mailboxes, the themed dressing rooms, and the stage. Professional photos are taken on stage, and you have the option to purchase them when the tour is over.
My kids loved the tour, and enjoyed learning about the history of the Grand Ole Opry and the Grand Ole Opry House.
Read reviews of the Grand Ole Opry House here.
The original home of the Grand Ole Opry is also worth a visit. The building is absolutely gorgeous, and the introductory movie is very well done. Even my children were impressed with learning about the history of the building. There are two different tours – a backstage tour and a self-guided tour (which goes on stage, but not backstage). Since we’d already visited the Grand Ole Opry, we opted for the self-guided tour. It didn’t take long, but was still interesting. However, if your children don’t love the Grand Ole Opry (I’d go there first), it may be best to skip the Ryman.
You can choose to have your photo taken on the stage, and can decide to purchase the picture if you like it. Aspiring country singers can also opt to do a music recording in their studio. Admission to the Ryman is required, and you need to make a separate reservation to use the studio (an additional fee applies).
On our last day, before flying back home, we decided to stop in at the Adventure Science Center. It’s a great place to take kids of all ages. Several different ticket types are offered, including a regular ticket, and a ticket with the planetarium show. We opted for the regular ticket, since we didn’t have too much extra time.
The highlight of the museum for my kids was the Moonwalker and EVA Experience in the Space Chace section of the museum. Height and weight restrictions apply, so only my daughter was able to participate in the EVA Experience (pictured above). It’s a fun way for kids to experience how astronauts deal with zero gravity.
There are also a variety of other exhibits worth exploring, including the Body Quest section (we loved playing the Body Battles game). Younger children will love the three-story Adventure Tower. Overall, expect to stay at the museum for a few hours.
Music lovers will love the Country Music Hall of Fame, located downtown. It includes a number of costumes and exhibits, including Elvis’ car, as well as walls and walls of gold and platinum albums. The Taylor Swift Education Center offers different activities for little ones. While we were there, they were offering a make-your-own puppet craft. The Hall of Fame also has interactive elements for children, including the one pictured below.
During certain times of the year, the Country Music Hall of Fame offers a complimentary puppet show, in conjunction with the Nashville Public Library. If the show is playing during your stay, I highly recommend seeing it. It runs about 60 minutes, and includes popular country music throughout the years.
My kids love history, so we absolutely wanted to check out the Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson’s home, during our stay. There are a few different tour types, but we chose the basic one (the General’s tour). After purchasing tickets, guests head into the main building to receive their audio tour (you’ll need to leave an ID with your name on it). There are three different audio tour options, and you can switch between them. There’s a standard option, a kids’ option, and an option that focuses on Andrew’s wife Rachel. The kids’ tour is narrated by Andrew Jackson’s parrot Poll, and my kids loved it.
After learning more about Andrew Jackson in the main house, we headed outside and toured the grounds with the audio tour. There’s also a guided tour through the main house. Expect to spend about half a day at the Hermitage.
While Gaylord Opryland is a hotel, it’s also a fun destination to visit with kids. If you are there during the holiday season, definitely check out ICE!, an exhibit filled with amazing ice sculptures, including ice slides. Read our review of the Gaylord Opryland here.
Did you know that there is a full-sized replica of the Parthenon right in Nashville? Located right in Centennial Park, the Parthenon is a museum that you can tour. You’ll find artwork and history of the Parthenon on the first floor of the museum, and a gigantic statue of Athena on the second floor. It’s definitely fun to visit, and doesn’t take very long to tour. Note that they charge a fee for credit cards, so bring along cash if you can.
See reviews here.
Places to Eat in Nashville With Kids
We made it our mission to eat delicious food throughout the city. Here are some of the kid-friendly restaurants we checked out.
Where to Stay in Nashville With Kids