Nashville is the capital of Tennessee and is situated along the Cumberland River in the north central area of the state. It's a great place for a vacation, as it is the center of music, museums, and other forms of entertainment. In fact, it is called the Music City! Here are the top 10 attractions that you and your family won't want to miss:
Started in 1925, the Grand Ole Opry is one of the longest running and most famous weekly concerts featuring country music stars performing on stage. It is located in the Grand Ole Opry House, located in downtown Nashville. It honors the history of country music by offering a mix of folk, bluegrass, gospel, and comedy skits. Members through the years have included stars like Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, Blake Sheldon, Garth Brooks, Patsy Cline, Rascal Flatts and many others.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum categorizes and conserves country music's history and traditions throughout and teaches this to visitors. It's located at 222 5th Avenue South and is visited every year by fans, pupils, teacher, music industry stars and many others. The original museum opened in 1967, but was closed in 2000. The following year, a brand new $37 million facility opened just a few blocks away. The building is shaped like a bass clef with round discs surrounding it to symbolize records and CDs.
Founded in 1996, the Nashville Zoo is a 200 acres containing an historic plantation house named Grassmere, which is now museum with gardens on its grounds. The zoo is active in animal conservation, and has exhibits featuring clouded leopards, gibbons, elephants, giraffes, red pandas, lemurs, rhinos, kangaroos, birds, and a special exhibit with reptiles, fish, bats, amphibians and insects. There is also a children's playground and Jungle Gym area with slides, swings and places to climb that kids will love.
General Jackson is a fun attraction for the whole family based in Nashville on the Cumberland River. It looks just like a vintage steam-run showboat, but really runs on diesel generators. It can hold 1,200 people and features two or three cruises a day in the morning, mid-day and evening, with the evening cruises offering dining. There is entertainment from country and gospel music on all the cruises as passengers also enjoy the views along the river as they travel down along its banks.
A visit to Belle Meade Plantation is led by costumed guides, who are trained to show off John Harding's beautiful mansion, which was built in 1845. You also get to see some of the other historic sites like the old dairy, stables, carriage house, the garden, the mausoleum, and even a log cabin. Plus there is free wine tasting and you can shop in the onsite gift shop or eat at the Harding House, a restaurant on site. It's open Mon - Thurs and tours go between 9:30 am and 4 pm.
The Hermitage was the home of the 7th US president, Andrew Jackson and is now a museum people can visit. Jackson owned the plantation until he died in 1845, but didn't live there much until after he retired in 1837. As of 1960, it was declared an historic landmark and now it receives millions of guests every year. Visitors can get tickets for entry into the Hermitage every day from 8:30 am to 5 pm and it closes at 6 pm. There are also frequent special events and exhibits to see throughout the year.
The Parthenon is considered as a centerpiece in Nashville's Centennial Park. It's a 42ft tall full scale replica of the Greek Parthenon in Athens. It was built in 1897 for that year's Tennessee Exposition. Today, it is an art museum and features more than 60 paintings done by 19th and 20th century artists from America. It also occasionally is home to other shows and exhibitions. The Parthenon is open for visitors Tuesday through Saturday between 9 am and 4:30 p, and on Sundays from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm and closes on Mondays.
Ryman Auditorium was once the home of the Grand Ole Opry and Union Gospel Tabernacle. It holds 2,362 people and is situated at 116 5th Ave. North. As of 1971 it has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Ryman Auditorium is a great place that visitors won't want to miss as Nashville's cultural musical center. You can take a self-guided tour or a group tour of the museum.
The Tennessee State Museum features the history of the state from its beginning to the 20th century. It is in the John K. Polk building and there are more than 60,000 square feet of exhibitions including those on the Civil War, the frontier and the 7th US president, Andrew Jackson. There are three entire floors holding permanent and visiting exhibitions. Part of it is a special museum dedicated to wars and military conflicts from the Spanish American War to WWII. Plus there is a museum store that sells handmade crafts and memorabilia. Admission is free and it's open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sundays from 1 pm to 5 pm.
Adventure Science Center is devoted to inspiring the love of science with its 44,000 square feet of exhibits. There are almost 200 exhibits where visitors can get hands on with displays dedicated to biology, listening, physics, visual, mind, energy, space, earth and other sciences. There are also workshops, lectures and camps. It's visited by more than 300,000 people a year and is sure to fascinate you and your entire family. Don't miss this fantastic example of the combo of fun and learning all in the same package.
Address: 800 Fort Negley Blvd, Nashville, TN 37203