Knowing that we needed to get an early start in order to make the trip to Nashville worth it and that we had yet to decide who may be going with us, we woke early (Weston also made sure of this) and started to get ready. Once we had surveyed the group, Emily, Caitlyn and Arabella were to be our fellow travelers to The Music City. We shifted around car seats, packed some snacks and got on the road just after 8 AM. The drive was easy on I-24 into Nashville and our first stop of the day at the Adventure Science Center .
Our annual membership at MOSI in Tampa provided us reciprocal free passes into the Science Center. We were there for “rope drop” as they opened the doors and budgeted 1.5 hours to explore. In the center of the building was a seven story climbing structure with many interactive and learning elements, like climbing up veins, through a heart, riding a bike and so many slides and climbing areas. We did our best to follow the kids up and down the structure, with a stop at the very top. The top allowed for 360 degree views of Nashville from atop their building. We also spent time in the space expo (Emily did a Moon Walk) and the body exhibit where the kids did a mind battle to move a ping pong ball by relaxing.
The girls spinning!
Arabella and Caitlyn launching a rocket!
Our time was up and the kids were ready, so we left the Science Center and headed to our favorite restaurant in Nashville; Monell’s!.
Monell’s is an amazing southern style family restaurant, where you sit with other customers at a table usually seating 12-15 in total and pass food around the table. We enjoyed delicious food such as biscuits and gravy (or jam), mashed potatoes, fried chicken, pot roast, green beans, white beans and spinach stuffed shells (these were amazing).
We ate to our fill and waddled out of the restaurant to explore some more. The kids were already ready to run, so we found some areas to explore at the Bi-Centennial Park. Again, the open fields called to the kids, but so did the World War II memorial and the bells focused on the musicians of the area.
Cousins in front of Capital Building
Behind the scenes of picture taking….
After some time, we took our group into downtown and the famous strip of honky-tonk bars on Broadway. During the day, this area is much more family friendly and we searched for a place to let the kids hear some live country music. We ended up at Robert’s and the performer was quite good, however, he was playing classic country music which ended up only enticing our little ones (who were tired from running and full from the all you can eat buffet) into slowly falling asleep.
Before that event horizon, we left the building and walked for a bit longer until getting into the car and toward the Belle Meade Plantation. While we were unsure if we would do the full tour of the mansion and the ground, we did intend to at least explore the grounds. However, once we arrived, we learned that all tours were sold out for that day. We explored what we could on the grounds, which was an old cabin that showed how people would have furnished their homes in the early 1800’s and 1900’s.
Outside the old cabin at Belle Meade
Inside the old cabin at Belle Meade
Our next stop was to visit the historic town of Franklin, TN which was about 25 minutes south (and slightly west) of Nashville. Brooke and I had visited Franklin before on our previous solo (CLEW-less) trips to Nashville, so we knew what to expect. We were slightly ahead of our expected schedule, so we decided to detour to a thrift store near downtown called “Our Thrift Store” . Brooke loves finding great deals at thrift stores and it is always a great place for the kids to pick out books and toys. They all found something to buy, so we made our purchases and headed for Main Street. We had hoped that it would be fully decorated for Christmas, but only slightly so. We parked in front of the Theatre and walked down the main strip.
We explored a few stores before deciding on 55 South for dinner. There was a wait, and the kids were already really hungry, so we pondered our options. We could ditch 55 South and headed to the pizza place for immediate service, or we could try and find something to occupy and satisfy them while we wait. Knowing that we can get pizza anywhere, we opted for the latter and ended up at the candy store. The kids picked out a treat each, enjoyed it and then our table was ready. While that sounds like it worked out perfectly, there were a few times in the candy store that the kids made us rethink our decision. Dinner was very good (though not as good as the fancier option across the street, Red Pony) and we were all getting tired. After dinner, we got back in to the car and made the 2 hour drive back in to Bryant, AL. Caitlyn and Arabella were asleep, but not Emily, though it was not long after this that everyone (including us) were fast asleep.