Let’s be real — kids get bored easily, and the last thing you want on your vacation to Nashville is for the little ones to get restless.
Typically, when you think of The Music City, it may conjure up thoughts of rowdy honky tonks, lively bars, and loud music venues. But surprisingly, there are endless exciting activities that can be fun for the whole family, and many kid-targeted adventures waiting to be experienced.
Below is a top-five list of exceptional examples of fantastic kid-friendly activities, followed by a larger list of the same, organized by activity type.
Table Of Contents:
- Our Top 5 Picks
- Outdoor Activities
- Music & Shows To See With Kids
- Kid-Friendly Museums
- The Best Food Experiences For Kids
- Unique Experiences
- Active & Adventurous Activities
Our Top Five Picks For Things To Do With Kids In Nashville
1. Take advantage of the Refuge Discovery Series. Free classes and activities are offered by the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge for kids and adults of all ages for things like birdwatching, hunting, fishing, archery, painting, drawing, boating, horseback riding, hiking, and much more.
2. Tour Cheekwood Estates and Gardens. Cheekwood Estates and Gardens is a massive property that offers nature walks through breathtaking exotic flower and sculpture gardens, as well as, historic buildings with guided tours available.
3. Visit The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. More than just a typical zoo. In addition to animal exhibits and the petting zoo, The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere also offers rides, ziplining, movies, and a tour of a historic plantation.
4. Play at Cornerstone Indoor Playground. The indoor playground at Cornerstone Lutheran Church is well-known in the community as a fantastic place to bring young children to blow off some steam. It’s completely free, and you’re not required to be a member of the church to enter.
5. Visit The Parthenon. This historic site is a must-see for anyone traveling to the Nashville area, but it’s also a fun and educational activity for kids. It’s a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Greece, surrounded by a giant park perfect for activities. On the inside, there are several art exhibits.
Outdoor Activities To Do With Kids
Go on a family bike ride
Nothing like a family bike ride on a nice day! It’s the perfect way to view the city, get some fresh air and some valuable exercise.
There are a few great options in the Nashville area for biking. You can either choose one of the many bike lanes downtown (which may pose challenging if you have small children) or you can take one of the many greenways that will take you through some of the lesser populated areas and parks.
The Mill Creek Greenway is particularly good for this — its route will take you alongside Mill Creek and through beautifully wooded trails.
Take the kids for a swim
Swimming is a fantastic option for family fun in the outdoors and depending on where you go, it can be pretty affordable as well.
A popular place in the Nashville area to go swimming is Percy Priest Lake. You’ll be able to experience temperate waters and beautiful scenery, and if your kids enjoy fishing, it’s a great place to cast off.
For indoor swimming, check out the Centennial Sportsplex, which has a full-size Olympic pool.
Take a hike
For young lovers of nature, Nashville can be a special place to take a walk through the woods. The city is loaded with parks and trails, and you don’t typically have to travel far to find them.
A fairly popular area is Radnor Lake State Park. This area is known for its abundance of wildlife, including plenty of birdwatching opportunities. As an added bonus, the Tennessee Parks Department also offers plenty of fun activities for kids, so be sure to check the website for more info!
Walk the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge
Pedestrian bridges are a great way to get a feel for the city you’re visiting, and this one is pretty special. You and your kids will be able to stretch your legs, view the Nashville city skyline, and get a taste of the local music scene as this is a common spot for street musicians to post up.
If you’re considering getting downtown on foot, the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge is a great way to do it or an easy way to fill up the time between activities.
Hit up a playground
Is there anything that brings up childhood nostalgia like a playground? Nashville has a few gems to choose from, or if you’re feeling adventurous, check them all out!
A good place to start is Fannie Mae Dees Park, also known as Dragon Park because of a mosaic dragon sculpture that was installed there by a local artist. They have all of the classic structures — a swingset, slide, and monkey bars, but they also have a pavilion and BBQ set up, so you can make lunch there, should you wish.
Kid-Friendly Music & Shows
See a bluegrass show at the Station Inn
You might think it would be hard to find kid-friendly music in Nashville, but you’d be wrong! The Station Inn is open early and provides a low-key bluegrass music experience appropriate for all ages.
Typically there are shows throughout the day, and even some open mics and jam sessions available for the budding musician. Check out the event calendar for more information!
Check out The Grand Ole Opry
Possibly the most well-known establishment in the entire city, The Grand Ole Opry will surely provide excitement and entertainment for country music fans young and old.
There are a variety of ways to make your visit count! If it’s music you’re after, see the event calendar for booked shows, and get your tickets. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, The Grand Ole Opry also has an engaging museum full of spectacular exhibits that detail country music and the lives of those who invented it.
See a movie or event at The Belcourt Theatre
The Belcourt Theatre is a local Nashville independent movie theatre and event space. Here you can find films that you might not necessarily have access to in a more mainstream theatre, or old favorites and classic films that haven’t been premiered in a long time.
They also hold special live cultural events and speakers that are worth checking out for an educational experience for the whole family.
See a play at the Nashville Children’s Theatre
Nashville is obviously well-known for its musical performances, but few people know that Nashville also has a thriving performing arts culture, and this includes plays and performances that are geared toward kids.
The Nashville Children’s Theatre has been around for nearly 100 years and provides endless entertainment for the young and young at heart. If you’re local to the area, the Nashville Children’s Theatre also offers drama classes and summer programs for kids.
Kid-Friendly Museums In Nashville
Tour Belle Meade Historic Site
For an educational day of fun for the whole family, Belle Meade Historic Site is a fantastic choice.
The estate was purchased in the early 1800s and has significant ties to the Civil War. You’ll learn about all of the informative historic events that unfolded on the property, as well as view beautiful antebellum architecture, and beautiful landscapes, and at the end of the tour, there’s an arts and crafts table for the kids.
Parents also have the option of checking out the winery and gift shop.
Visit Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
One of the most engaging tours you can take in Nashville is one of many tours available at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. This is the home site of the former President of the United States, Andrew Jackson before and after taking office. You’ll tour the beautifully manicured grounds, as well as the family cemetery, and house.
As an added bonus, kids under five are admitted completely for free to this fun, and educational experience.
See the exhibits at the Country Music Hall of Fame
There’s so much fun to be had by kids or their families at The Country Music Hall of Fame.
While the regular tour is completely kid-friendly, if you call ahead to make reservations, you will receive a Youth Explorer Bag, an accompanying tote for your child to carry with them through the hall of fame. It comes with puzzles, games, an audio tour device, and a booklet describing some of the exhibits.
Visit the Frist Art Museum
The Frist Art Museum has so much to offer kids in terms of fun and cultural education.
For starters, admission for all kids and teens is completely free. Secondly, there is a long list of kid-specific activities and events available to kids and their families, including an entire floor dedicated to creative exploration, and a gallery where kids can create their own art and have the opportunity to have it framed and displayed in the gallery.
For these reasons and many more, the Frist Art Museum has been consistently voted as one of the country's most kid-friendly museums.
Tour the Tennessee State Museum
The Tennessee State Museum is a free museum that provides insight into Tennessee’s history as a state and the system of government it operates under.
But in addition to all of that, the Tennessee State Museum also has an entire wing dedicated to kids and their families! Your child will have the option to play educational games, see live cultural events, play dress up with historical outfits, and create historically-themed arts and crafts.
View the National Museum of African American Music
African Americans have contributed to a wide array of music in America, and this Nashville museum is the only national museum with the purpose of preserving that legacy and history.
Families have a special opportunity to visit this important collection of exhibits at a discounted rate for kids aged seven to seventeen and completely free admission for kids younger than that.
Tour the Tennessee Agricultural Museum
The Tennessee Agricultural Museum is a completely free museum operated by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. It’s a great place for kids and families to learn about the history of agriculture in Tennessee, as well as the current systems of agriculture still around today.
It’s also a great place for kids to get some hands-on learning experiences, including a petting zoo, and local farm product tasting. There are also yearly events like puppet shows and live music.
The Best Restaurants To Eat At With Kids
Grab a bite at the Rainforest Cafe
With its beautifully crafted rainforest-themed decorations, lively animatronics, and delicious menu items, Nashville’s Rainforest Cafe is a great place to bring kids.
Choose from delicious courses such as ravioli, beef stroganoff, or lobster mac and cheese, and keep an ear out — the trees come to life every thirty seconds.
Customize your own ice cream sandwich at The Baked Bear
Nothing says childhood like an ice cream sandwich, and The Baked Bear isn’t serving up any old boring ice cream sandwich. Their product is a fully customizable, handmade ice cream sandwich.
The process goes as follows: Choose your cookie (snickerdoodle, chocolate chip, funfetti), choose your ice cream (peanut brittle, mud pie, toasted s’mores), and finally, choose your toppings (whipped cream, hot caramel, brownie bites). You can even have them toast the ice cream sandwich for you (yep, just like Subway).
Get a sweet treat at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen
Everyone knows kids love candy, and if you’re feeling like treating your kid to a special treat, Savannah’s Candy Kitchen is the place to do it.
This special location has been making candy from scratch for over forty years, and they specialize in treats such as saltwater taffy, pralines, and peanut brittle. Pick out a few of your favorites from this massive retail location.
Make your own pancake at Pfunky Griddle
Pfunky Griddle is a unique place to get breakfast in the Nashville area, and it especially appeals to kids because of one special reason — they’re given the opportunity to make their own pancakes and eggs.
Here’s how it works — you’ll be seated at a hibachi-style table equipped with your own cook and a flat iron grill. You’ll pick your meals from a menu, and for those special menu items with the option to cook yourself, you’ll be given all the necessary ingredients and tools to make that happen!
Get your game on at Tito’s Playland
Believe it or not, there are more bar-cades in Nashville than good old-fashioned kid’s arcades, but Tito’s Playland is an exception to the trend.
This exciting location has all of the classics — pinball, Pacman, driving games, shooting games, and so much more. If you work up an appetite after gaming all afternoon, there are many great restaurants in the same mall for dinner options.
Take a cooking class at Flour Power Nashville
Does your child show an interest in cooking? Flour Power Nashville is a great way to help your budding chef foster their passion. They offer weekly classes for kids to learn how to cook and bake a wide range of dishes and desserts.
Not local to the area? Not a problem! Flour Power Nashville also offers one-time classes, as well as family events, so you don’t have to commit to weekly sign-ups. They also sponsor Kid’s Night Out, so you can drop your kid off for some cooking fun while enjoying some quiet time to yourself.
Unique Experiences To Do With Kids
Get creative at Brushfire Pottery Studio
Pottery can be a challenging activity for young children but Brushfire Pottery Studio has a system that makes it a little easier.
They provide over four hundred pieces of pre-made, unglazed pottery which your child can choose from to decorate, glaze, and design and a staff member will assist in firing the piece to set the design before taking it home to keep!
Brushfire Pottery Studio also has many special events such as Story Time for kids or Ladies' Night Out, so make sure you check out the event calendar!
Create a work of art at Firstlight Art Academy
Firstlight Art Academy is a great way to bring out your child’s inner creativity. They offer various weekly classes organized by age group (yes, they have adult classes too).
If you don’t want to commit to weekly classes or you are from out of town, they have an Art Buffet with various materials and supplies available to your child to create their first masterpiece.
Check out the Nashville Public Library
The appeal of taking your child to the library really doesn’t need to be expressed. It’s the perfect place to emphasize the joy and importance of reading, and a special opportunity for kids to explore topics and reading materials that they’re passionate about.
But in addition to all of these advantages of a public library, the Nashville Public Library also offers many fantastic events such as live speakers, story-telling, and puppet shows. Check out the event calendar for more details!
Visit the Gaylord Opryland Resort Botanical Gardens
The Gaylord Opryland Resort Botanical Gardens are really a must-see for out-of-towners. There are hundreds of different varieties of exotic plants to view from the lobby of a magnificent resort.
If that isn’t good enough, admission is 100% free, and there’s also a spa and massage parlor in the same facility so you can let the kids browse the gardens while you unwind a little! It is vacation after all.
Active Activities To Do With Kids In Nashville
Fuel your need for speed at K1 Speedway
Nashville’s K1 Speedway is an exciting way for kids to compete against other kids on a racetrack, designed with endless twists and turns.
There are many packages available, but one of the highlights of this location is the membership option which includes a free birthday race within a week of your child’s birthday, and a free t-shirt!
Cool off with some Ice Skating at Centennial Sportsplex
Centennial Sportsplex offers many exciting activities including a full-size Olympic pool, a fully stocked weight room, and a running track, but it’s also one of the few places in Nashville where you can ice skate year-round.
The ice skating rink at Centennial Sportsplex also offers lessons to kids in ice skating and hockey and considering their lesson schedule is recommended if you’re looking to just free-skate.
Take the kids rock climbing at The Crag
If your child has an interest in rock climbing, The Crag is a great place for them to explore a new hobby!
The Crag offers several youth climbing classes for budding climbers as young as four years old. If you’re not local, The Crag also has guides that can instruct your child on climbing techniques and insure that they have a fun and safe experience. All equipment needed for the perfect climbing experience is available for rent, so all you have to do is show up!
Get some height at Altitude Trampoline Park
Altitude Trampoline Park is more than just your average trampoline park. They have challenging obstacle courses, fun electronic-trampoline combination games, and a foam pit!
Additionally, if you have toddlers that want to try out the trampoline park, but are concerned for their safety in a normal time slot due to the bigger kids there, they offer a Junior Jumpers time slot from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm so they can enjoy the park in a more low-key environment, and at a discounted price!