Nashville, Tennessee, is a city that seems to become more popular with time. Known as Music City, Nashville has a vibrant nightlife, but it is also a fantastic family destination. Whether you’re stationed at Fort Campbell, which is just one hour from Nashville, or you’re planning your next family vacation during a PCS roadtrip, these five attractions offer something for the entire family.
Cheekwood is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum. The estate was formerly the family home of Mabel and Leslie Cheek and is now home to a permanent art collection of 7,000 pieces and a Top Ten Botanical Garden as recognized by USA Today. Cheekwood offers programming and family activities for guests of all ages. The estate also offers four seasonal festivals: Cheekwood in Bloom, where guests are greeted by the sight of 150,000 blooming bulbs; Summertime at Cheekwood, encouraging guests to enjoy the grounds; Cheekwood Harvest, featuring two pumpkin houses and mums galore; and Holiday LIGHTS, where guests experience one mile of lights and have the opportunity to see real reindeer. Cheekwood offers a military discount, with active duty and retired military personnel receiving half-off the price of admission for up to 5 people with their ID.
The Nashville Zoo is the top family attraction in Middle Tennessee and the ninth largest zoo in the country by landmass. Spanning across 188 acres, the zoo is home to 3,000 animals, representing over 350 different species. Dining options are available inside the zoo, but guests can bring their own food and beverages, too. Nashville Zoo offers $1 off admission for military personnel and every member of their party with a valid ID.
You and your family don’t have to love country music to enjoy a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry. When you take a backstage tour of the Opry House, you’ll see where legends, stars, and country music happen each week at the Grand Ole Opry. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood will virtually kick the tour off before you have the opportunity to see where the talent enters the building, themed dressing rooms, and the member mailboxes. You’ll even get to take the stage and have your photograph taken.
Standing at three-and-a-half stories, Adventure Science Center features over 175 hands-on interactive exhibits. One of those exhibits, Adventure Tower, is 75-feet tall and offers an observation deck with breathtaking views of Nashville. Adventure Science Center is also home to the Sudekum Planetarium, which hosts monthly sensory-friendly shows and laser shows in addition to their regular planetarium shows. Adventure Science Center does not currently offer discounts on General Admission tickets as they continue to recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19. However, if you are interested in purchasing a membership, they offer a $10 discount with your military ID.
You do not have to be a guest at Gaylord Opryland Resort to spend the day exploring its 9 acres of indoor atriums, nearly 20 restaurants, and shopping and entertainment. Located inside Opryland, there are waterfalls, lush gardens, and even a river with Mississippi-style flatboat rides. There even are two on-site arcades for the gamers in your family. Opryland hosts seasonal celebrations including the highly recognized “A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland”, featuring 3 million holiday lights. If you do decide to stay overnight, you have the option to add the SoundWaves Water Experience overnight package, which gives you guaranteed access to the resort’s new indoor/outdoor water attraction. Military members receive 15% off the SoundWaves package in addition to exclusive rates at Gaylord Opryland itself.
Megan Nelson is a writer, a live music lover, a proud foodstagrammer, a two-time dog mom, and an Air Force wife. Follow along with her adventures at @MegKatNelson on Instagram.