wave country

Summer 2013: Family Fun in the Nashville Sun

The long summer days and warm Tennessee nights are the perfect time to get out and discover a kaleidoscope of family-friendly mini vacations right here in Middle Tennessee. Whether you’re traveling to Music City, or call this area home, there are innumerable activities to put you in the Kids Zone.

Puppet Around puppet3

We’ve all been spellbound by puppet shows that capture the imagination of young and old alike. Nashville Public Library is hosting the 2013 Nashville International Puppet Festival June 21-23. Mayor Karl Dean will serve as Grand Marshall and lead Nashville’s first International Puppet Parade on Saturday, June 22, departing the Nashville Public Library on Church Street at 9:00 a.m. Enjoy the free European Street Festival in the Library Courtyard. Kids are also invited to make their own puppets in the Children’s Craft Room.

parthenon at night2

Catch Some Culture 

The Parthenon, the stunning centerpiece of Centennial Park in the heart of Nashville, is the world’s only life-size replica of the Greek Parthenon. Hidden inside is the gold-covered 42-foot statue of the goddess Athena. This is a good stop for a little culture, where students can learn some fascinating history and peruse Nashville’s art museum housed inside. If you picnic on the lawns and feed the ducks, time your visit to stay late enough to see the Parthenon lit up at night. It’s absolutely breathtaking!

What’s New at the Zoo

keeper with Lynx for TT

Add a little zest to your visit to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. During the summer you can meet the keepers of these magnificent creatures. Check out the times of feedings for some more excitement, but keep your fingers away from the Piranha! When in South America several years ago, I had fun turning the tables on those voracious little fish, when we caught and ate them! A day at the zoo doesn’t have to end at dusk. Zoovie Nights at the Nashville Zoo feature a family-friendly movie on the outdoor screen, plus games, inflatables and music.

Draw Something!

Summer art camp2


Aspiring young artists can sign on for Summer Art Camp at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts through July 19. Week-long age-appropriate classes draw out hidden talent in a fun and relaxing setting. Your child may be a budding Picasso!

Blaze a Trail 

Hit the hiking trail at Shelby Bottoms – a greenway and nature park in East Nashville with three miles of Cumberland river frontage. It’s a mixture of forest, open fields, wetlands and streams. The trails are ideal for hiking, biking, running, skating, bird and wildlife watching. The Shelby Bottoms Nature Center at the main trailhead offers free programs, exhibits and student fieldtrips.

Keep It Cool 

Cool off on ice at the Centennial Sportsplex Ice Skating rink. Try your skill in the fun and exhilarating public skating sessions, bring a group or party, learn ice hockey, or take a private lesson. trampoline

Jump, Jump!

Do your kids need to let off steam? Let them bounce off the walls at Sky High Sports, an indoor trampoline fun center. This is a jumper’s paradise!

Water Park Paradise 

On those steamy hot days, make a splash at Wave Country waterpark on Two Rivers Parkway close to Opryland Hotel. Operated by Nashville Parks & Recreation, the waterpark has super-long slides, a kiddie area and wave pool.

Nashville Shores is more of a water village on Percy Priest Lake, with jet ski & pontoon boat rentals, beach access, water slides, wave pool, lazy river, children’s playground, RV sites, cabin rentals, TreeTop Adventure Park and zipline. You may want to camp out for the whole summer! cosmic putt putt

Family Fun Zone 

Holder Family Fun Center in Hendersonville is open 24 hours and offers entertainment for the whole family. Try your hand at cosmic or open bowling, indoor go karts, putt putt, laser tag, bumper cars or bungee jumping. While the kids are testing their skill at arcade games, adults can kick back in the 11th Frame Lounge for a snack and game of billiards or darts.

mansker station

Experience Living History

Learn the skills of early pioneers at Mansker Station in Goodlettsville, a living history site first settled by longhunter Kasper Mansker in 1780.



Find Thrills in Kingston Springs

Looking for more thrills? Head south of Nashville to Kingston Springs for family fun ziplining through the trees or paddling a canoe down the Harpeth River.

We have only just touched the surface of family fun activities for the summer.  Share some of your favorites!

Hi! I’m Dayle Fergusson. As a transplanted Aussie living in Middle Tennessee since 1986, I have been a freelance travel...Read on

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