1/14/22

Family Fun in the South, Part 3: Nashville

This is my third post about our recent travels through Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Click for the first and second posts from the trip. Because I blog about educational travel, I was given complimentary admission tickets, media rates, and similar benefits for some of the places we visited. Many attractions we toured are free to everyone, and we paid full price for everything else. This has no bearing on my reviews; I only share what I honestly recommend.

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Family Fun in Nashville

 
We started our final full day in Nashville with an Urban Adventure Quest. Actually, we started our morning by me pushing Steve and Trevor out the door way too early because I was stressed out about having time to do everything on the schedule, which meant we arrived at the Capitol to tour it 45 minutes before it opened. Oops. Sorry, guys.


Not wanting to stand around doing nothing, we flipped our scheduled events to begin the day with the Quest, which began by the Country Music Hall of Fame. This turned out to be a great decision for a number of reasons, the main one being that Quests are MUCH easier to do when there aren't crowds around. By starting before 8:30, we were able to solve a bunch of questions without people in the way. Look how empty Broadway is. Another hour or two later and people were spilling off the sidewalks because it was so crowded.  



I love Nashville's diagonal crosswalks, particularly when they are empty. 


We had the Walk of Fame all to ourselves, which was crucial for efficiently solving one of the questions. 


An Urban Adventure Quest is one of our absolute favorite things to do in a new-to-us city (and in cities closer to home, too). Nashville was our 16th Quest, having previously solved them in Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, San Jose, San Francisco, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Portland, Indianapolis, Austin, Boise, Chicago, and New Orleans. We love working together to solve the questions, just like a mini Amazing Race!

They've added a new feature to UAQ, which is the ability to pause in the middle of a Quest. Ordinarily, if you needed to stop for a meal or whatever, the clock kept running. Now, you can pause the game twice if you need to. This came in very handy. Remember how I said Nashville is hilly? And that we'd started our morning not-touring the Capitol before going to the Country Music Hall of Fame to start the Quest? The Quest takes you to the Capitol (at the top of a hill) then returns to the Country Music Hall of Fame. If we hadn't paused, we would have had to hoof it up Capitol Hill for a third time that day in order to tour the Capitol and our day's walking would have looked something like this:


So in the interest of not losing our hard-gained elevation, we pressed pause on the Quest and popped into the Capitol for a tour. 


  

Here's the view looking north from the Capitol. Hilly, to say the least. 


Then we looked for the Liberty Bell replica. This was as close as we could get. We've found that it's unusual for Capitols NOT to be under construction when we visit. 


The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum is next to the Capitol, so that was our next destination. 



It was incredible. There were so many interesting artifacts and displays about various genres of music. 






I particularly enjoyed seeing the different versions of the Grammy award over its history. The video screen in the background shows artists accepting Grammys. 


This display showed how the Grammy award is made, which was really cool. 


The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum has lots of hands-on exhibits. We each tried our hand at all the instruments, which was so much fun. 

  


After a thoroughly enjoyable visit to the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, we resumed the Urban Adventure Quest (downhill, thankfully) and finished with a good score. As usual, we saw and learned a lot we otherwise wouldn’t have. 

We had a very late lunch back at the Assembly Food Hall, then went next door to the National Museum of African American Music. I cannot properly describe how amazing this museum is. I've been to hundreds of museums and this easily ranks among the top ten. It's brand new, having just opened in Fall 2020. 


The "Rivers of Rhythms Pathways" extends down the center of the museum and focuses on the evolution of African American music. Five galleries, representing different eras of African American music, branch off to each side. 







The website recommends staying 90 minutes. This is not enough time. If you have any interest whatsoever in African American music, I would spent at least 2 hours. Allow more than that, just in case you love it as much as we did. In addition to looking and listening to the exhibits, there are lots of hands-on activities.


Trevor and I worked together in a studio to produce hip hop music, mixing the different components together until we had something we liked. 


Based on our choices, it identified our production style as New Jack Swing


This next exhibit was really interesting. Pull down on the handle and you see that Fats Domino's Ain't That a Shame (1955) was covered by Pat Boone a month later in an attempt to bring the song to a more 'mainstream' audience. No offense to Pat Boone, but I have a strong preference between the two versions and it's not his. 


The coolest feature in the whole museum was a digital music discovery experience. You pick an artist, then it shows you that artists' influencers, peers, and followers. Here, you can see that I am listening to Big Joe Turner, pictured in the center. His influencers, shown in the top left, include Count Basie and Ma Rainey. His peers, shown at the bottom, include Duke Ellington and Dinah Washington. His followers, listed on the right, include Ray Charles and Elvis Presley. You can click on any of them and keep going and going, listening to the music of each performer. Best of all, you can save your results to enjoy at home. 


We stayed at the museum right until closing. All three of us absolutely loved it. I can't say enough good things about the NMAAM. Go!

Our next destination was Goo Goo Chocolate Co. I cheated and took this picture early in the morning while it was light out and the streets were empty because I knew I wouldn't be able to get a good picture when we visited in the early evening. 


Before researching this trip, I hadn't known that the Goo Goo Cluster (affiliate link), was the United States' first combination candy bar. It was born in Nashville in 1912. In case you've never had them, let me assure you that Goo Goo Clusters, with their perfect balance of caramel, marshmallow, peanuts and milk chocolate, are absolutely delicious. 


The store, while not a factory per-se, shows all of the steps that go into making the Goo Goo Cluster. 




Even though this is not the location where the Goo Goo Cluster you buy at the store or from Amazon (hint hint) are made and packaged, plenty of candy is made here. They offer candy making classes...

  

... sell DELICIOUS goo goo milkshakes... 


... and have computer stations where you can design your own custom goo goo and then watch it being made!


You can even design your own custom goo goo from home and have it shipped to you. Check out all the options - it's so hard to choose! Here's my order. 


We packed so much into our time in Nashville, yet we hardly scratched the surface of what is there. Three days is not enough, but it gave us great idea of where we'll go next time we visit. There WILL be a next time! 


As disappointed as we were to say goodbye to Nashville, we were really excited for our next destination. I'll tell you all about it on Monday.

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