(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 615-416-2001 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 615-862-5160 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! BRENTWOOD LIBRARY 8109 Concord Road, Brentwood 615-371-0090 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 615-890-2300 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 615-223-6252 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 and Penguins. 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 and more. 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 615-244-3340 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. OPRY MILLS 433 Opry Mills Drive, Nashville 615-514-1100 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 615-297-2966 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. ESCAPE GAMES 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 Franklin Breakout Franklin The Escape Game Berry Hill and Downtown Nashville Escape Experience Downtown Nashville Murfreesboro Escape Rooms 60 Minute Escape Game Murfreesboro 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: DAVIDSON COUNTY library.nashville.org RUTHERFORD COUNTY La Vergne: lavergnetn.gov Linebaugh, MGL, Smyrna, Eagleville: linebaugh.org SUMNER COUNTY Gallatin: gallatinlibrary.org Hendersonville: hendersonvillepubliclibrary.org Portland: youseemore.com/portland WILLIAMSON COUNTY Bethesda, College Grove, Fairview, Franklin, Leiper's Fork, Nolensville: lib.williamson-tn.org Brentwood: brentwood-tn.org/library Spring Hill: springhilllibrary.org WILSON COUNTY Watertown: youseemore.com/watertown Lebanon: lebanonlibrary.net Mt. Juliet: mtjulietlibrary.net


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!