Adventure Science Center
800 Fort Negley Blvd., Pie Town
This behemoth of a building is devoted entirely to kids activities. There is a spaceship where they can simulate zero gravity, a three-floor soft jungle gym where they can slide, climb, and jump through a model digestive system, a child-size firemen’s truck and ambulance that reveals what’s inside those mysterious vehicles, and so much more. The biggest hit were the wheelchairs they could try—we heard about them for days.
Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art
1200 Forrest Park Dr., Belle Meade
Tuesdays for Tots (from September through May) and Saturday AM activities (year round) are based on the museum’s exhibitions and on the season. You can bring your kids from 10 to 12 for a drop-in art class. It's a good opportunity for little ones to get down and dirty with glue, markers, glitter, and paint.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
919 Broadway, Downtown
The Frist has an entire gallery—the Martin Artquest Gallery—devoted to art activities where children can come by every day between 10 and 5:30 and on Sunday starting at 1pm. There are thirty decked out stations set up for kids to experiment with different media including drawing, sculpting, printmaking, and even filmmaking with toy dinosaurs, plastic animals, and big toy spiders.
1186 Antioch Pike, Curreywood Acres
Gymnastics was the main event in Nashville for GP's kids. They loved every minute of their classes with Gaby and came back asking for more. She is wonderful with children and they are completely entertained from start to finish. You can book private lessons or go to classes with a bunch of other kids.
Mike’s Ice Cream
129 2nd Ave, Downtown
Mike's has murals on the wall that remind you of a soda fountain, and tall bar chairs with coiled backs. Plus, perfect sundaes: Not too large, made with good vanilla ice cream, drenched in chocolate and peanuts, and topped with just the right amount of toffee.
Nashville Public Library
615 Church St., Downtown
Here, there's storytelling on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and marionette shows on Fridays and Saturdays. Stories are presented by a cast of wacky characters including “The Professor” who not only reads but gets sing-alongs, and lots of rainbow drawings going too. The professionally crafted marionettes at the library are something special, made by a master puppeteer named Tom Tichenor. GP's kids got to see “The Princess and the Frog” but the shows change often and throughout the year.
Phillip’s Toy Mart
5207 Harding Rd., Belle Meade
Tim and Faith’s girls, Gracie, Maggie, and Audrey McGraw, recommended this store to us—it’s a kid’s dream come to life: there are toys crammed in every nook and cranny of this shop. You will find no big-brand toys in here—it’s been there forever, full of costumes, books, and wooden toys. Reese Witherspoon used to go there with her grandparents. GP's kids could have spent an entire day in there and would get excited at the very mention of the word, “Phillip’s.”
4027 Hillsboro Rd., Green Hills
The people at Snap are incredibly nice and helpful and they seem to have all the lines little ones like best: They carry Tea Collection, Bonpoint, Ella Moss, and Splendid, plus the displays on bright white lockers are really sweet.
The Monkey’s Tree House
91 Seaboard Lane, Brentwood
This is a big hit with kids: It's a huge playroom with soft, cushy floors and walls, and an enormous “tree house” that kids can climb and crawl through. There’s a dollhouse and train cars that kids can ride, and a section for babies, too. We were amazed by the cleanliness of the place and found the staff really helpful. On Sundays you can rent the entire tree house out for a birthday party.
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