Summer Travel with the Family: Nashville

We didn’t have a lot of time to spend in Nashville because we had to work our trip around gymnastics class and t-ball games, but we find some fun things to do for everyone in the family.

Opry Mills Outlet Mall

We’re not much of a mall family, but this outlet mall was right down the road from our hotel and looked like an interesting place to spend our first evening after a long car ride. We were not disappointed! This place had something for everyone…Coach and Kate Spade outlets for mom, Bass Pro Shop for dad, and a huge Lego store for the little one. And the restaurant offerings do not disappoint either.  We opted for Rainforest Café, but other fun places available were Aquarium, Johnny Rockets and Dave & Busters.  Check out everything the mall has to offer here.

Nashville Flea Market and Antique Archeology

This part of the trip was definitely for me. The flea market is amazing, and I fully intend to go back without the little one so I can spend more time perusing the endless buildings and pavilions full of unique “junk.” The flea market is held the third weekend of every month at the Nashville Fair Grounds.  Find out more here. We also visited American Pickers’ second home, Antique Archeology Nashville, during our trip.  While the site seems more like a museum than a store, it was still fun to look at all the antiques and search for items you watched Mike and Frank purchase on the History Channel show.  Check out more about the store and its hours here. Be prepared to get to the store early or wait in linewpid-imag1832.jpg…this is a popular attraction!

Adventure Science Center

This place really makes learning fun.  It has several exhibits, including BodyQuest and Space Chase, as well as several interactive play/learning stations. The best part of this center is the giant jungle gym that climbs the height of the building, with plenty of slides, stairs and ladders along the way. Learn more about the center’s exhibits here.

Puckett’s Grocery

This historic restaurant and grocery is family-friendly during lunch and dinner hours, and offers live music later in the evening.  It’s a must-eat when in downtown Nashville. The menu features down-home cooking and the atmosphere is relaxed. In addition to great food, the kids will have fun checking out the unique décor covering the walls.  Check it out here.

Since we were only in town two days, there were several activities we didn’t get to check out.  Here are some other places I researched but didn’t have time for during this visit:

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage 

Belle Meade Plantation

Country Music Hall of Fame

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Summer Travel with the Family: St. Louis

We love to travel in the summer, and since we live in the Midwest, we have several great options to checkout over the weekends.  Our first (and most frequented) city excursion was to St. Louis.  We love traveling to the Lou mainly because it’s so close, but also because there are so many great family-oriented options there!  This trip was totally kid-focused.

St. Louis Zoo

Summer travel with the family: St. LouisRated as one of the top zoos in the country by several family and travel publications, the zoo is a staple of our visits to St. Louis.  It’s clean, beautiful, and FREE!  Some of our favorite activities here are the penguin and puffin cove, elephant safari trail, and the train ride around the entire complex.  The zoo recently welcomed a baby polar bear, which will surely be a major attraction as well!

Science Center

Summer travel with the family: St. Louis

Boasting an Omnimax theater, planetarium, and exciting rotating exhibits, the St. Louis Science Center never disappoints.  The center offers something for kids (and adults) of every age, making this a great option or any family…and did I mention, it’s FREE?  My little guy especially loves the fossil digging section, featuring a huge T-Rex replica.

City Museum

Summer travel with the family: St. Louis

The City Museum is another staple of our trips to the city.  There is so much to explore in this giant, educational jungle gym, that you could spend more than one day exploring this attraction.  Each floor features new and exciting adventures, including an elaborate cave and tunnel system, rooftop bridges that lead to a suspended bus and airplane, an aquarium, and interesting museum exhibits (like the world’s largest pair of underwear!).  The City Museum never disappoints, and while it isn’t free, the cost of admission is a very reasonable $12 per person.