Family Fun in the South, Part 2: Nashville

This is my second post about our family's travels through Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. You can see the first post here. Because I blog about educational travel, I received complimentary admission tickets, media rates, and other benefits for some of the places we visited. Many attractions we toured are free to everyone and we paid full price for all of the rest. This has no bearing on my reviews, as I only share what I honestly recommend.


Family Fun in Nashville

We woke up on Sunday, December 26 eager to explore Nashville. But first, we had breakfast at the Homewood Suites. You know you're in the South when there are grits and chicken-fried chicken patties on the hotel breakfast buffet. Yum!

Our first destination was the Country Music Hall of Fame

We got there before it opened, so we had some time to explore the fascinating architecture of this unique music-themed building. 

Once we were indoors... wow! The museum does an outstanding job taking visitors through the history of country music. There was so much to see. 

As I mentioned yesterday, we don't know much about country music, but I recognized far more performers than I expected. Is there anyone who doesn't recognize the musical legend on the mural behind us?

I enjoyed seeing the many costumes on display. 

There were a lot of hands-on activities throughout the Country Music Hall of Fame, including this one where visitors colored in costumes, cut them out, and hung them up on display. So fun to see everyone's creativity!

There were a lot of other hands-on activities at the Hall of Fame. This display talks about the many people besides the singer who come together to create music. Each bobblehead represents a job in the music industry. By answering a series of questions, you can determine which might be the best fit for you. 

I am most like the songwriter. 

Trevor got publicist and Steve got graphic artist. 

Being the word nerd that I am (and the songwriter that I apparently should be), I absolutely loved the activities about song lyrics. I could not stop laughing with this Mad Libs style lyric generator that gave me "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be Paleontologists." 


The next time I played, I got these catchy lyrics: "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to audit. You never count your money when you're sitting at the buffet..." 

This was fun, too. Surely you all remember Elvis singing, "Well, since my baby left me, I found a new place to yell. It's down at the end of lonely street at heartbreak cowbell."

The best way to learn about the parts of a guitar is to make them enormous. 

Speaking of enormous, the amount of archived material at the Country Music Hall of Fame was impressive. 

The actual Hall of Fame itself was also impressive. 

We loved our time at the Country Music Hall of Fame. It was hard to leave, but we had the rest of the city to explore. Our favorite way to get the lay of the land and learn as much as possible about a city is to take a hop-on-hop-off tour, which is what we did next. 

Old Town Trolley Tours was perfect. With a 90-minute loop with 14 stops throughout the city, we were able to see so much of what Nashville has to offer. Our guide, Zach, was one of the best tour guides I've ever met. He was so good, in fact, that we opted not to hop off at any of the sites lest we end up with a guide who didn't measure up when we hopped back on!

Zach taught us so much about Nashville and shared fascinating stories as we drove by some of the city's most interesting sites, including the Ryman Auditorium, Marathon Motor Works, Centennial Park (home of the Parthenon), the Belmont Mansion, Music Row, and the Frist Art Museum. 

And, of course, this 16-foot tall whisk called "Good Eats" that doubles as a bike rack. 

I HIGHLY recommend Old Town Trolley Tour, whether you hop on and off, or ride the full loop. I learned so much and we would have happily done a second loop if we hadn't had other places we needed to be. 

But first, food. We went to the fabulous Assembly Food Hall for a meal that turned out to be both lunch and dinner. Everything we got was great but filling. 

After eating, we took a brisk walk to our next destination, the Tennessee State Museum

It was fantastic and large enough that we had to really rush through the last third to see it before the museum closed for the day. 

The Farmers Market is next door, so we checked out the food options. To clarify, the farmers market itself was not open at 5:00 pm on a Sunday, but the Market House restaurants and shops were. None of us were hungry, but several things looked really good. 

Our walk back to the hotel took us past the Capitol building. Look directly above Trevor's head - that's the flag on top. In the second photo, we climbed up the hill for a better view. 


Speaking of hills, Nashville is a hilly city. Somehow, it felt like we were always walking uphill, no matter where we were going! It wasn't that big of a deal for this first full day in Nashville, but it would be an issue the following day. I'll tell you about that tomorrow.

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