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June 30, 2022

Where Every Family Matters

Fun DIY Field Trips to Take as a Family

Nearby or within a day's drive, all of the following destinations have COVID-safe measures in place and cool stuff going on. Get out of the house and learn with the kids!

Field Trips – NEAR


800 Fort Negley Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37203

Live science shows, permanent and traveling exhibits, the Sudekum Planetarium (current shows include “Destination to Mars” and “Nightwatch” for ages 6 and older and “Incoming” for ages 9 and older) and lots of hands-on learning and free play. During this period of time, admission is only through timed entry, online.


Children’s Museum
123 W. &th St.
Columbia, TN 38401

A children’s museum including three play zones. Play Zone 1: a barn; baby hospital; Kroger; Dr. Office; Chick-fil-a; Vet Clinic. Zone 2: a Lite Brite Wall; Baskin Robbin’s; First Farmer’s Bank; Fire fighter/Police dress up; Dollhouse and slide; Voting Booth. Zone 3: Dentist; Dress up; Ball Wall; Tables and chairs. In keeping visitors safe, the museum has temporary operating hours and timed ticket play sessions.


4580 Rachel’s Lane
Hermitage, TN 47076

The seventh president of the United State’s former mansion is now a National Historic Landmark. Groups and individuals can tour the grounds and mansion which includes the main house, an original log cabin, and Jackson’s tomb. All ages can enjoy learning about Jackson during the self walking tour with audio. Currently only open Thu – Mon from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Carter House and
Carnton Plantation

CARTER: 1140 Columbia Ave.
Franklin, 37064; 615-791-1861

CARNTON: 1345 Eastern Flank Circle, Franklin, 37064; 615-794-0903 |
The Battle of Franklin — fought in 1864 — was one of the worst disasters of the Civil War for the Confederacy and this is where it happened. Two different farms in the vicinity of the battleground are available for touring, each which were directly impacted by the battle, and one which was used as a field hospital for the wounded. Any child studying the Civil War will benefit from a visit.


502 SE Broad St.
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Children ages 2 and younger are always free at this hands-on museum for kids including permanent and traveling exhibits as well as unique playdates.


919 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203

Kids 18 and younger are always free at the Frist. Now on exhibit (but closing Feb. 7) is the “2020 Young Tennessee Artists” made up of outstanding art by high school students. Opening Feb. 5 is “Liliana Porter: Man With Axe and Other Stories,” which showcases arrangements of objects and toys telling stories. And most notably, the opening of Picasso. Figures, which takes an in-depth look at master painter Pablo Picasso’s fascination with humans and emotions. Figures is making it’s sole U.S. appearance at the Frist — take the kids!


404 Hogan Road
Nashville, TN 37220

All ages can explore historic log cabins, a one-room school house, a blacksmith shop, a variety of antique farm equipment and tools, gardens and trails. On the first Friday of each  month, the museum hosts free 45-minute programs for young students. February’s program is “George Washington: First Farmer and President.” A special Children’s Exhibit is for little kids where they can play with Lincoln Logs, learn about animals, farming and more.

1000 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37208

While the Children’s Gallery remains closed, families can explore numerous exhbits related to Tennessee history, natural history and more. The museum also hosts free educational programs throughout the year.

Field Trips – FAR


321 Chestnut St.
Chattanooga, TN 37402

Two-hour drive
This nationally ranked children’s museum is in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, so you can make a weekend of this field trip, visiting the Tennessee Aquarium, too. Current exhibits are “Winter Wonders,” where children can build a “snow” fort and more. Permanent exhibits include “Barsamian Sculpture,” where science and art collide; “Corner Clinic,” where kids can learn and play in a medical lab.


830 Everett Blvd.
Union City, TN 38261

Two-hour and 45 minute drive
A unique center on a 50-acre site with a 100,000 square-foot building showcasing 10 exhibit galleries. Hands-on learning for all ages is found in nine permanent indoor galleries including Energy; Enlightenment; Military; Native American; Natural History; Regional History; Space, Science & Technology; Children’s Exploration; and Transportation. Outdoor exhibits include 19th century cabins; the Mill Ridge one-room schoolhouse; an Agricultural Center; STEM Landing; and more.


1055 Pittsburg Landing Road
Shiloh, TN 38376

Two-hour and 30 minute drive
If you want to explore more about the Civil War, visit some of the sites where legendary battles took place. Shiloh National Park has three battlefields, a national cemetary with 4,000 soldiers and 800-year-old Indian Mounds in the area. A visit begins at the Visitor’s Center after which you can do a self-driving 12.7 mile audio tour through the battlefield and more.


825 Cavern Road
Townsend, TN 37882

Two-hour drive
Estimated to be the earth’s oldest mountain chain, Tuckaleechee Caverns provides great science exploration in geology, mineralogy, tectonic plates and underground water formations. Other excellent caverns to visit with kids include Racoon Mountain Caverns (; Forbidden Caverns (; Bristol Caverns ( and Mammoth Cave (


One  Tranquility Base
Huntsville, AL 35805

Two-hour drive
See the 363-foot-tall Saturn V moon rocket on your way in, and that’s just the start. This museum, has numerous exhibits that will appeal to all ages, including “Apollo: When We Went to the Moon,” chronicling the space race and an impressive collection of museum experiences such as the Discovery Shuttle Experience; Enterprise Shuttle Experience and much more. Not to mention Space Camp — week-long overnight sessions that are currently waitlisted until the week of Aug. 22, 2021. Other camps include Aviation, Robotics and Cyber Camp. Note: The Space and Rocket Center is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.


1 Broad Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402

Two-hour drive
One of the world’s largest freshwater aquariums, this destination will delight all ages. Ride the escalator to the top and wind your way down in the dim, soothing light. Along your journey, visit the “River Journey” to learn about the ecosystems and animals and then the “Ocean Journey,” for penguins, jellies, sharks and reef fish. Plan on spending a full day at the aquarium since kids will want to stop and watch in the fun floor-to-ceiling space. In addition, the aquarium partners with an IMAX theater where “Turtle Odyssey 3D” is currently running in rotation with “Great Barrier Reef 3d.”


About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this publication and the mom of four amazing kids.