WHO: Mom Reporter Samantha and daughter, 18-month-old Sadie
WHAT: Cracking Art exhibit at Cheekwood, 1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville
WHEN: Through Monday, Sept. 2
INFO: 615-356-8000 | cheekwood.org
Cheekwood might not be the first place that comes to mind when searching for activities for a rough-and-tumble toddler, but nothing could be further from the truth! As a Mom, I jump at the chance to mix entertaining my toddler with a dose of “grown-up” culture for me. When I saw Cheekwood's Cracking Art exhibition was touchable, colorful and mostly indoors, we jumped in the car and made our way there.
This exhibit was a hit with my 18-month-old. In a world where she hears "don't touch" daily, Cracking Art was the exact opposite. We were greeted by vibrant and towering snails in the Color Garden before heading toward the mansion. The next stop was the reflecting pond behind the mansion — we hopped right over to see the floating frogs. Sadie loved watching these enchanting frogs "swim." For her age group, this is an opportunity to teach animals and colors outside of the classroom walls.
Once inside, Sadie found her favorite installation, “Sallow and Eggs.” The room is filled with touchable, colorful eggs begging for toddler play. The exhibit teaches older children about recycling through 100-percent recycled materials. Sustainability is a theme of the works of animal art that also include bears, crocodiles, turtles and wolves.
MOM POINTERS FOR YOUR VISIT
Getting to the Museum of Art is a bit of a trek, so wear comfortable shoes. Food and drinks aren't allowed inside the museum itself, but you can bring refreshments to the gardens for a picnic. I give Cheekwood a four out of five for stroller friendliness due to the terrain. It’s doable, and the friendly staff is helpful in guiding you toward more stroller-friendly paths.
Cheekwood opens at 9 a.m., and I recommend getting there early to see the outdoor exhibit before the day warms up. When things get too hot, cool your heels in the museum, and let your kids immerse themselves in art (and air conditioning!). Cracking Art is here until Sunday, Sept. 2, so make haste and schedule a play-date at Cheekwood soon.
Cheekwood admission is $20 adults, $13 ages 3 - 17, free for ages 2 and younger. Parking is $5. It does cost a bit more than your daily jaunt to the park, but the chance of inspiring a lifelong love of art? Priceless.