There’s always something to do in the Volunteer State. But, are there activities that are good for kids? Here are the best kid-friendly places to visit in Tennessee.
Top Places to Visit in Tennessee With Kids
Tennessee is a wonderful place filled with welcoming people, delicious food, and a thriving arts and culture scene. And while the state usually appeals more to adults, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for kids to enjoy. On the contrary, Tennessee is overflowing with destinations and activities suitable for children.
Here are the best kid-friendly attractions in TN.
1. The Parthenon
Located in Nashville, The Parthenon is a grand sight to behold. It is a full-scale replica of the one in Athens and now serves as the main draw of Centennial Park. While the structure itself is already awe-inspiring, visitors will find that there’s more to admire inside.
The Parthenon is an art museum that houses several paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to the permanent exhibits, it also hosts several rolling exhibits and events throughout the year. While you’re at it, spend an afternoon at Centennial Park to hit two birds with one stone. No list of best places to visit in Tennessee is simply complete without this landmark stop.
Tennessee is practically synonymous with Dolly Parton. And, if you want to feel more connected to the legendary country singer while spending time with your kids, Dollywood is the place to be. Heck, it’s one of the best places to visit in Tennessee for families.
Located in Pigeon Forge, Dollywood is a theme park featuring numerous areas such as Showstreet, Jukebox Junction, and Country Fair. There are several rides and attractions, with something for everyone. The park also hosts a variety of events that run throughout the year. If you’re planning a summer getaway, Dollywood’s water park, Splash Country, is the perfect way to cool off.
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an iconic destination and one of the top places to take kids in TN. This park is so big that two states share it – Tennessee and North Carolina. Apart from the Great Smoky Mountains, the park is also home to part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is known for its high mountains, some of them being the highest in all of eastern North America.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is packed with fun activities, learning opportunities, and natural wonders. Here, families can go hiking, backpacking, and camping. There are also places for fishing, horseback riding, and bicycling. If those aren’t enough, enjoy some sightseeing and visit the many historic districts located within the park.
4. Soaky Mountain Water Park
If your kids don’t enjoy the great outdoors, swap out the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the Soaky Mountain Water Park on your itinerary. This waterpark packs a whole lot of punch with family rides, thrill rides, wave pools, and even something for the littlest of kids. Plus, there are plenty of events to look forward to throughout the year. For great things to do with kids in TN, this water park will certainly keep you cool.
5. Grand Ole Opry
When it comes to must-see places in Tennessee, you can never go wrong with the Grand Ole Opry. Billed as the home of country music, this music venue boasts weekly shows featuring country music singers and icons. Taking your kids to a show is a great way to introduce them to genres such as country, gospel, and bluegrass.
If you’re not too keen on catching a show, take the tour instead. During the daytime, the Grand Ole Opry allows visitors to take a peek backstage while listening to the stories that took place in its hallowed halls. This is something that all country music lovers should check off their list.
6. Memphis Zoo
There’s just something about zoos that kids find interesting. And, when in Tennessee, the Memphis Zoo should scratch that itch.
The Memphis Zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals from around the world – from the red pandas of China and the Komodo dragons of Indonesia to the bongos of the African forests and the lesser anteaters of South America. In between viewing the animals, learn about the various plants in the zoo, which doubles as an arboretum.
7. Tennessee Aquarium
Zoos are more known for land animals. If your kids want to see marine life, head on over to the Tennessee Aquarium. This is certainly one of the more kid friendly vacations Tennessee has to offer.
Located in Chattanooga, this aquarium is home to numerous animals, including the North American river otter, the macaroni penguin, and the alligator snapping turtle. The aquarium also has exhibits dedicated to amphibians, invertebrates, butterflies, and more. Watch as your kids go from one exhibit to the next with gleaming eyes and wide smiles.
8. Ijams Nature Center
It’s important to let kids appreciate nature. And what better way to do that than to spend some time outdoors? Plus, you get to exercise together as a family.
Ijams Nature Center is definitely one of the most interesting places to visit in Tennessee. Here, visitors can hike a trail, go for a mountain bike ride, and even climb rocks. If your kids prefer water activities, Mead’s Quarry Lake is perfect for swimming and paddling. Ijams’ River Landing, on the other hand, is ideal for launching your own canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard.
9. Ruby Falls
Ruby Falls is one of the most magnificent places to explore in Tennessee. This cascading waterfall is located deep inside historic Lookout Mountain. The glass-front elevator takes you down 260 feet below the ground, which gives you a glorious view of the falls and a breathtaking look at ancient cave formations. It’s definitely a ride your kids will love.
After taking in the beauty of Ruby Falls, unwind at the Village Plaza or do some shopping. Other attractions include Ruby Falls Castle, the historic Lookout Mountain Tower, and Blue Heron Overlook. This all-in-one experience will surely be one of your family’s fondest memories!
10. Adventure Science Center
The Adventure Science Center is an interactive experience that encourages learning while having fun. You can take a gander at the Kinetic Climber at the Adventure Gallery or test out the Max Flight: Full Motion Simulator. The Infinium Room toys with the idea of infinity in an immersive way, while the Bodyquest takes you through a journey of the human body.
There are countless activities and events waiting at the Adventure Science Center. As such, if you’re ever in Nashville, don’t forget to swing by. It’s definitely one of the most fun things to do in Tennessee if you have kids.
No Shortage of Fun
Whether you’re heading out of state or staying within state limits, planning a vacation with kids is no easy feat. If Tennessee is your destination, though, you’re in luck. It’s got zoos, aquariums, parks, museums, and more. For an unforgettable getaway, these are the best places to visit in Tennessee.