I don’t like to listen to cheesy music in the car. I’m not a big fan of crafts. I don’t talk in baby talk. No, I’m not a cold, cranky $&*@#, I’m just not one with a natural affinity for preschool-type activities. So, I’ve come up with some activities that are totally engaging for our young children but that my husband and I actually enjoy as well. Here’s the short list:
1. Musician’s Corner
A highlight of the Fall and Spring months, take advantage of Nashville’s reputation for live music on a beautiful evening. Centennial Park blocks off a portion of the park for this weekly event featuring live music, food trucks and a robust kids area. Whether you choose to take advantage of the activities for children or not, you and the little ones will be entertained by live music, perusing vendor booths, and live music. There’s something for everyone at Musician’s Corner.
2. Pinewood Social
Thoughts of bowling are usually accompanied by thoughts of nacho cheese from a pump and overcooked frozen pizzas, but not at Pinewood. This upscale restaurant/bowling alley features craft cocktails and elevated eats. Invite anther family with kids to join the fun and let the kids bowl while you sit back and have a boozy brunch - or throw a few balls yourself to show your kids who’s boss.
3. Farmers Markets
Stop by and see Happy Cottons at one of your local farmers markets. The Richland Park farmers market in Sylvan Park is a personal favorite, as is the Sevier Park farmers market in 12 South. There’s plenty of room for the kids to run around in the park while you browse for some fresh food for the dinner table - or just grab lunch and have a picnic.
4. Top Golf
As long as your kids have enough spatial awareness to keep themselves from falling off this tiered driving range, Top Golf will be a hit even if you aren’t a regular at the country club. With a variety of ways to compete coupled with better-than-your-average-event-space-food, this venue provides a break from the norm.
Whether for pumpkin season, an art exhibit or holiday lights, Cheekwood always seems to have something going on that’s a cure for afternoon boredom. The Children’s Garden is a nice breather from the typical plastic play place featuring a turtle pond and playhouse. Don’t miss the train on your way out.
6. Shop a Neighborhood
If you’re in a browsing mood rather than on a mission head to 12 South or Hill Center in Green Hills for a stroll among storefronts. Even kids like to shop on occasion. Stop for a treat at Shake Shack in Hill Center or Jenni's Ice Cream in 12 South to top off the experience.
7. Pilgrimage Music Festival
I loved going to Bonnaroo pre-kids but have toned it down a bit since the arrival of our second. Now, we head to Pilgrimage Festival as a family in the fall. Bring a wagon, snacks, and plenty of sunscreen. Your kids will be entertained by the music, wide open spaces and yes, the junk food offerings (not to worry - there are plenty of solid options for both food and drink if you’re not one for a keg of root beer, hot dog and curly fries).
8. Urban Fishing
Believe it or not, there are a few places you can take your small adventurer fishing. Grab a kids pole at Wal-Mart for 10 bucks, a bag of corn for bait, and head to Centennial Park. You’ll want to catch and release (I can’t recommend eating anything that comes from the pond in the park), but I’m told your odds of catching something are about 100%. If you want a bit more natural environment, walk the Richland Creek path that loops Sylvan Park and fish the creek near the railroad track.
Nashville has sports-a-plenty. Whether you’re into Vandy baseball, football or basketball, the Sounds or the Preds, check out schedules in Nashville for college, the minor leagues and the pros. (Pro tip: The minor league baseball stadium features a mini golf course that serves craft cocktails). Even if your family isn’t sports inclined, doing something outside of the box goes a long way.
Broadway isn’t just for bachelorettes. Stroll down Broadway with your kids and stop in at Rippy’s to snack on fries and chicken fingers while taking in the live music. Once you’ve had your fill, hit up the make-your-own candy bar station at the Goo Goo Cluster shop.