(Pictured above: A local girl has fun exploring the Woolf to Woof exhibit at Adventure Science Center.)
The hot days of summer are front and center, and if it's sweltering too much outdoors for you and the kids, there's lots of cool fun to be had where there's air conditioning! While indoor play centers, inflatable spots and skating rinks are obvious go-to places, we're zeroing in on great attractions around town that have something special happening this July. So, take a break from the heat and slip into one of our favorite locations offering cool fun — literally and figuratively speaking — this summer:
COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM
222 Fifth Ave. S., Nashville
Open daily, The Hall offers hours of self-guided fun through the galleries that includes films and lots of touch-screen interactive station that kids love. The Hall also offers programs for kids and families throughout the month, and there's cool stuff happening this summer. From July 2 - 15 (running Mon-Sat), you can catch STRING CITY: NASHVILLE'S TRADITION OF MUSIC AND PUPPETRY
for free! Show times are 10 and 11:30 a.m. each day. This popular show was created as a joint effort between The Hall and Nashville Public Library's Wishing Chair Productions. Through marionettes, rod puppets, shadow puppets, colorful sets and music, the production takes kids through a fantastically entertaining journey through the history of country music. Along the way, you'll get to see puppet versions of artists ranging from Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton to the Dixie Chicks and Taylor Swift! Another free outing for kids of all ages is the MAKE LETTERPRESS ART WITH HATCH SHOW PRINT
event on Sunday, July 10. It takes place at 12, 1 and 2 p.m. Kids can learn about old-school printing techniques while creating their own letterpress print to take home.
There's even more cool fun inside at The Hall in July for kids. A variety of family programs are free with museum admission ($24.95 adults, $14.95 ages 6 - 17, free ages 5 and younger). Look forward to these outings:
• Creative Zone: Puppet Making
— through July 15 (Mon - Sat); 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.; All ages
• Creative Zone: Country Collage
— July 16 & 17; 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.; All ages
• Preschool Program Song & Storytime: Dolly Parton
— July 16; 10:30 a.m.; Ages 3 - 5
• Creative Zone: Blinged-Out Bowties
— July 18 - 23; 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Ages 5 and older
ADVENTURE SCIENCE CENTER
800 Fort Negley Blvd., Nashville
Chill out on Saturday nights with SUMMER LASER SHOWS
in Sudekum Planetarium. There are two each Saturday in July — at 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Shows change weekly, each choreographed to music ranging from classic rock to contemporary hits. Some shows have specific artists/musical groups attached like Laser Beatles, Laser Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and others. Laser shows are $8 each. Regular PLANETARIUM SHOWS
run daily at different times during the center's regular operating hours. July's shows are "Natural Selection," "Skies Over Nashville" and "STARS." You must have an ASC admission ticket or be a member to purchase tickets to a regular planetarium show. ASC admission is $14.95 adults, $10.95 ages 2 - 12. Planetarium shows are $6 each (you get a discount if purchasing them with your museum ticket). While you're at the ASC, enjoy the WOLF TO WOOF: THE STORY OF DOGS
exhibit that's here through Sept. 5 (a National Mutt Day
program takes place Saturday, July 30). On Saturday, July 16, the SUMMER SCIENCE
program takes place from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. teaching kids about the effects of the sun on the human body. Plus, learn the science behind ice cream while enjoying a frozen treat!
8109 Concord Road, Brentwood
Check the library's website for its regular ongoing programs plus special Summer Reading Program activities. Young wizards and witches, take note: HARRY POTTER'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
is Sunday, July 31 at 1 p.m. It's a free festivity where kids can enjoy an afternoon of Quidditch hosted by the Chamber of Knowledge Chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance.
DISCOVERY CENTER AT MURFREE SPRING
502 S.E. Broad St., Murfreesboro
The Discovery Center is one of our favorite places to take our kids to explore! There's tons to do here, and aside from the center's permanent attractions, this summer your kids can have fun exploring the DINOSAURS: LAND OF FIRE AND ICE
exhibit. It's here thru Sept. 11 inviting children to come face to face with prehistoric creatures in their environments. Little ones can also dig for fossils, zip down an icy slide and put on insect costumes. July also features a couple of the center's popular programs taking place every Mon - Fri: ANIMAL ANTICS
(12 p.m.) features an up close educational encounter with one of the resident critters; SCIENCE A LA CART
(3 p.m.) puts kids together with a staff scientist for experiments; STORYTIME
(11 a.m.) features readings and related activities. In addition, SNACK ATTACK
takes place Mondays, July 11 - 25 at 4:30 p.m. in the kitchen where kids can have fun making tasty treats.
CARMIKE CINEMAS' SUMMER KIDS SERIES
Locations in Bellevue, Franklin & Murfreesboro
Taking place Thursdays through Aug. 4 at 10 a.m., catch family-friendly movies for $4 (including popcorn and a soft drink). A partial list of titles includes Epic, Home, The Peanuts Movie
and Kung Fu Panda 2
MALCO'S KIDS SUMMER FILM FEST
100 Movie Row, Smyrna
Mark your calendars for Tuesdays and Wednesdays through July 27 and see movies for only $2! A few titles include Turbo, Horton Hears a Who, The Croods
. Movies are at 10 a.m.
REGAL'S SUMMER MOVIE EXPRESS
Locations include Green Hills, Hollywood 27, Hendersonville, Opry Mills & Mt. Juliet
What better way to get out of the heat than into a movie theater for $1 flicks!? Every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. through Aug. 3 (through Aug. 10 at Hollywood 27), see favorite kid-friendly hits like Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, The Peanuts Movie, Shaun the Sheep, Smurfs 2, Curious George
KIDSVILLE AT THE PARTHENON
2500 West End Ave., Nashville
Every Saturday at 11 a.m., kids 12 and younger can participate in this free program that includes a different theme each week with an accompanying story and craft activity. July's themes are:
July 9: Myth of Odysseus
July 16: Intersection Music Ensemble
July 23: Panathanaeic Festival & the Olympics
July 30: Hummingbirds
FRIST CENTER FOR THE VISUAL ARTS
919 Broadway, Nashville
If you've yet to take the kids down to the Frist to see all those amazing Italian autos, what are you waiting for?!? Bellissima! The Italian Automotive Renaissance, 1945 - 1975
(it's here through Oct. 9) features 20+ extremely rad cars and motorcycles including vehicles by Alfa Romeo, Bizzarrini, Ducati, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lancia and Maserati. Dad will want to join this outing for sure. No visit to the Frist with kids is complete without some creative time in the Martin ArtQuest Gallery on the second floor. More than 30 stations offer kids — and YOU, too! — fun opportunities to make art, and there's even a project related to the Bellissima!
exhibit. Admission is $12 adults, and always free for kids ages 18 and younger.
433 Opry Mills Drive, Nashville
On Friday, July 29, mosey on over to Opry Mills for the free MUSIC & MAGIC SHOW
. Mario the Magician (whom your kids may have seen on Sesame Street and Sprout!) joins Grammy Award-winning entertainer Tim Kubart for a pop-meets-vaudeville show just for kids. It's at 1 p.m. at the entertainment stage.
MARTIN CENTER FOR NASHVILLE BALLET
3630 Redmon St., Nashville
NATIONAL DANCE DAY
is Saturday, July 30 and Nashville Ballet invites families to its studio space for a day of free dance instruction that includes choreography from the hit TV show So You Think You Can Dance
. It's takes place from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., and there's something for all ages.
It's the newest craze in family entertainment — being locked in a themed room that you have to escape from by using your noggin' and sleuthing skills to find clues, crack codes and decipher who knows what within 60 minutes. Each of the Middle Tennessee locations have different themed rooms that are full of twists and turns. While escape games are typically designed for ages 12 and older, kids as young as 6 can have fun participating alongside their older siblings as well as Mom and Dad. Teamwork is key. Check out one of these spots:
Beat the Clock
The Escape Game
Berry Hill and Downtown Nashville
Murfreesboro Escape Rooms
60 Minute Escape Game
SUMMER FUN AT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY
The Summer Reading Program continues through the end of July, and local libraries host lots of special storytime activities along with other programs that include performances by children's entertainers, puppet shows, craft workshops and more. Visit your local library online to get the complete list of free activities:
La Vergne: lavergnetn.gov
Linebaugh, MGL, Smyrna, Eagleville: linebaugh.org
Bethesda, College Grove, Fairview, Franklin, Leiper's Fork, Nolensville: lib.williamson-tn.org
Spring Hill: springhilllibrary.org
Mt. Juliet: mtjulietlibrary.net
COOL TREATS: WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM!
While you're out and about, you might opt to stop somewhere for a frozen yum-yum! Check out the round-up of our favorite Ice Cream Parlors in Middle Tennessee!