NASHVILLE FAMILY-FRIENDLY ITINERARY
Guest post by Maggie Peterson Huggins
Nashville is definitely the “it city” to visit right now. It’s a top destination for those wanting to hear great and diverse, live music, celebrate birthdays or get wild with your besties before wedding vows.
It’s also a great place for a family trip. Beyond the hustle and bustle of Broadway there are many kid-friendly attractions, as well as wonderful restaurants that are a great choice for the whole family. Just because your kids will only eat chicken fingers or a grilled cheese, doesn’t mean you have to!
Friday night, go for it and get some of Nashville’s famous hot chicken at Hattie B’s on Charlotte. For the kids you can order it “southern” with no heat! If you like it hot, heat levels go from mild to “shut the cluck up!” so you can order it to your liking. The sides are to die for, pimento mac & cheese and southern greens are my favorites!
For dessert, just walk across a small side street and cool off with a milkshake at Bobbie’s Dairy Dip. It’s been a Nashville institution since 1951 for a reason! Their specialty shakes are amazing, my favorite is the Chubby Checker-fudge, peanut butter, whipped cream and twist (vanilla/chocolate) ice cream all mixed together. Don’t worry about the calories; you can walk it off tomorrow! They also have dipped cones, sundaes and lots of other fun treats.
Saturday get out early and enjoy the Nashville Zoo. This has always been one of my favorite places to take kids. Several new exhibits open in 2017, including white rhinos and Andean bears. They join a host of different animals and attractions including giraffes, clouded leopards, red pandas and a truly unique kangaroo exhibit. In the kangaroo walkabout, guests walk a paved path through the habitat. If kangaroos approach you are allowed to touch them. You might even get to see a Joey in its’ pouch! There is also a really large playground with great shaded seating if you have littles that need to burn off some more energy, as well as the Soaring Eagle Zipline if you are feeling brave.
To beat the heat, there are several free places to let the kids splash around. Recently Centennial Park unearthed Cockrill Spring after it was buried for more than a century. The landscaping is beautiful and there are plenty of different areas to play in the cool water, which stays about 60 degrees year round. There are also several “spraygrounds” around town. Our favorite is Cumberland Park. It’s near the Titans Stadium and the pedestrian bridge over the river to downtown is nearby.
When you are ready for dinner, head to the 12South neighborhood. Here you will find several great restaurants and lots of shopping all within a few blocks. A few kid-friendly favorites include Taquera Del Sol for Mexican, Mafiozas for pizza and Edley’s for barbeque. If you still have room for some sweets (and I suggest you do) check out Jeni’s Ice Cream for totally unique and definitely delicious scoops or Las Paletas for their unusual and refreshing ice pops made with real fruits, veggies and nuts.
If you have a sports loving family, try to make it to one of our sports teams’ games. The Nashville Sounds baseball games are fun and laidback with activities for the kids. If you have a hockey or football fan with you, the Predators and Titans games are also tons of fun!
Lastly, what kind of parent would I be if I didn’t give you a rain plan? There are plenty of inside activities for parents and kids. The Adventure Science Center has rotating exhibits, as well as a planetarium and adventure tower that includes lots of space for kids to play and a climb up into the building’s pyramid shaped tower. There, take in awesome city views then slide down the super long, windy slide. It’s not for the faint of heart, but kids love it! Also check out Climb Nashville, an indoor rock climbing facility and Above All Extreme Air Sports, a huge trampoline park! Make sure you check online for times that are appropriate for your kid’s age group as they vary.
Wherever you end up, I hope you enjoy your time in the Athens of the South! It would truly be difficult to go wrong here and locals are always willing to answer questions with a smile! Happy travels!