1) MAY DAY CELEBRATION
When: Wednesday, May 1 | 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Where: Cheekwood (1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville)
Admission: $20 adults, $13 ages 3 – 17, free ages 2 & younger
Info: 615-356-8000 | cheekwood.org
Designed for young children, Cheekwood's May Day Celebration highlights the opening of the new Storybook Houses outdoor exhibit. The event features a May Pole that kids can wrap with ribbons, storybook-themed crafts, live bunnies and storytimes at 10, 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m. The Storybook Houses exhibit features five whimsical playhouses inspired by beloved illustrators: "“Oh, The Places You’ll Play” inspired by Dr. Seuss; “Hill Top Garden” inspired by Beatrix Potter; “Charlotte’s Barn” inspired by Garth Williams; “We Are Wild” inspired by Maurice Sendak; and “TRAINS!” inspired by Loren Long.
2) SEVIER PARK FEST
When: Friday, May 3 – Saturday, May 4 | Fri 6 – 10 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Where: Sevier Park (12th Avenue South & Kirkwood Avenue, Nashville)
Admission: $30 Friday night; FREE on Saturday
The seventh annual family festival kicks off Friday night with a ticketed concert by the Gin Blossoms with Frances Cone. Saturday's free festivities include local vendors, food, art, fashion, live music and an expansive kids' area.
3) DAYS ON THE FARM
When: Friday, May 3 – Saturday, May 4 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Sam Davis Home (1399 Sam Davis Road, Smyrna)
Admission: $15 adults, $10 ages 6 – 10, free ages 5 & younger
Info: 615-459-2341 | samdavishome.org
Step back in time to experience what life was like on a 19th century working farm. You can try your hand at spinning and weaving, visit the blacksmith, visit barn animals and more. Friday is reserved for field trips (great for homeschoolers!); Saturday is public community day for families.
4) TENNESSEE RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
When: Saturdays & Sundays in May + Memorial Day Monday | 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Where: Ren Fest Fairgrounds (2124 New Castle Road, Arrington)
Admission: $25 adults, $10 ages 6 – 12, free ages 5 & younger (season passes are $115 in advance)
Info: 615-395-9950 | tnrenfest.com
Bring ye lads and lasses back to the medieval era where you'll experience jousting knights, fair maidens, fairies, games, man-powered rides and those giant, mouth-watering turkey legs. Each weekend has a different theme. Be sure to bring cash — you'll need it for food, beverages, rides, games and souvenirs.
5) 48TH ANNUAL SPRING TENNESSEE CRAFT FAIR
When: Friday, May 3 – Sunday, May 5 | Fri – Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sun 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: Centennial Park (2500 West End Ave., Nashville)
One of the largest craft fairs in the region, this juried show features more than 200 of Tennessee's best craft artists. The show draws circa 45,000 visitors, and the children's tent has lots of fun, hands-on art-making activities for kids along with live performances.
6) SUMNER FEST
When: Saturday, May 4 | 4 – 9 p.m.
Where: Sander's Ferry Park (513 Sanders Ferry Road, Hendersonville)
Info: 615-824-2818 | hendersonvillechamber.com
This second annual event features live music, hot air balloons (including tethered rides), food trucks Kid Zone activities (including knocker ball and inflatables), local vendors and more.
7) THE ORIGINAL MUD RUN
When: Saturday, May 4 | 10:30 a.m.
Where: Tap Root Farm (4099 Clovercroft Road, Franklin)
Admission: $80 adults, $45 ages 3 – 12
There's a 5K, a 10K, a Kids' Mud Run and even a dog run — all in the mud with over 30 obstacles to climb over, crawl under and otherwise navigate. It's a fun mess for kids and adults alike!
8) HISTORIC RURAL LIFE FESTIVAL
When: Thursday, May 9 – Friday, May 10 | 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Where: Tennessee Agricultural Museum (404 Hogan Road, Nashville)
Admission: $3 ages 2 & older (cash/check only)
Info: 615-837-5197 | tnagmuseum.org
This annual festivity is a great way for children to learn about our state's rural history. See demonstrations in woodworking, spinning, weaving, blacksmithing, Jersey milking and more. Plus, kids can meet farm animals and enjoy storytelling. New this year is a musical instrument petting zoo.
9) MUSICIANS CORNER
When: Fridays & Saturdays, May 10 – June 29 | Fri 5 – 9 p.m., Sat 12 – 6 p.m.
Where: Centennial Park (2500 West End Ave., Nashville)
Free music by several bands each Friday and Saturday, plus Kidsville children's activities. Among this year's lineup are the Nashville Symphony, Langhorne Slim & The Law, Jason Eskridge, Sierra Hull, Will Hoge and Parker Millsap.
10) 78TH IROQUOIS STEEPLECHASE
When: Saturday, May 11 | 8 a.m. gates open; first race begins at 1 p.m.
Where: Percy Warner Park (2500 Old Hickory Blvd., Nashville)
Admission: $75 ages 13+ (includes access to tailgating areas, Iroquois Shoppes & Family Area); Tailgating packages range $300 – $625
It's THE social event of the spring that's also a big fundraiser for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Experience the thrill of horse racing, and don your best bright colors (don't forget your fashionable hat!). The Family Area has inflatables and kids' games/activities. Kids 12 and younger can also participate in the stick-horse race taking place after the second horse race (sign up at the 99.7 WTN tent in the Family Area). The winning child will receive a $100 gift card to Phillips Toy Mart. You can also participate in the Hat Contest. Visit the website for details.
11) 78TH ANNUAL MIDDLE TENNESSEE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL
When: Saturday, May 11 | 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Where: Downtown Portland
Admission: FREE (some activities require minimal fees)
No place celebrates spring's favorite fruit quite like the city of Portland, Tennessee! This annual festival features more than 125 local vendors, live music, kids' activities, contests and, of course, strawberries for sale from local farmers. While the festival itself is on Saturday, there are other related events happening leading up to it starting on May 4 (including a Strawberry Slam wrestling match, a carnival and more). Find the full schedule at the website.
12) FRANKLIN RODEO
When: Thursday, May 16 – Saturday, May 18 | 7 p.m.
Where: Williamson County Ag Expo Park (4215 Long Lane, Franklin)
Admission: $15 – $20 adults, $5 – $10 ages 12 & younger
Info: 615-394-9292 | franklinrodeo.com
Enjoy three nights of rodeo competitions, specialty acts and kids' events, including mutton bustin' and the calf scramble. In addition, the Franklin Rodeo Parade takes place at noon on Saturday, May 11 in downtown Franklin, and the free Franklin Rodeo Experience on Wednesday, May 15 from 6 – 9 p.m. gives you a behind-the-scenes tour along with pony and mechanical bull rides, line dancing lessons and more.
13) FULL MOON PICKIN' PARTIES
When: Fridays, May 17, June 21, July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 13 & Oct. 11 | 7 – 11 p.m.
Where: Warner Park Equestrian Center (2500 Old Hickory Blvd., Nashville)
Admission: $25 adults ($20 in advance), $10 ages 7 – 17 ($7 in advance), free ages 6 & younger; $100 season pass
Info: 615-370-8053 | warnerparks.org
The annual Full Moon Pickin' Parties series at Warner Park is a long-running tradition that's big on family fun. Held on Fridays closest to the full moon (May – October), the pickin' parties draw nearly 2,000 music lovers. Bluegrass and roots pickers jam in circles in and around the equestrian barn while three headlining bands perform on the main stage. Kids love dancin' to the music. Local food trucks are on site, too. Proceeds benefit park preservation and educational programs for kids.
14) 42ND ANNUAL BELLEVUE COMMUNITY PICNIC
When: Saturday, May 18 | 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Where: Recreation Field Behind Bellevue Middle School (655 Colice Jeanne Road, Nashville)
Enjoy live entertainment, carnival rides, inflatables, food vendors, local vendor booths, arts and crafts, local team mascots, pony rides and fireworks.
15) ZZZOOFARI SLUMBER
When: Saturday, May 25 – Sunday, May 26 | 4 p.m. – 9 a.m.
Where: Nashville Zoo (3777 Nolensville Road, Nashville)
Admission: $58 ages 4+, $30 ages 2 – 4 (discounts for zoo members)
Info: 615-833-1534 | nashvillezoo.org
Bring your family's own tent and camping gear and set up in the zoo's festival field for a fun overnight experience. You'll experience a live animal show, do crafts, embark on a hayride, soar on the zipline, bounce on inflatables, play corn hole and other games, and have fun roasting marshmallows around the campfire. Register in advance.
16) STAR WARS WEEKEND WITH THE NASHVILLE SOUNDS
When: Friday, May 31 – Saturday, June 1 | 6:35 p.m.
Where: First Tennessee Park (19 Junior Gilliam Way, Nashville)
Admission: $19 – $37
Info: 615-690-4487 | nashvillesounds.com
The Sounds play the New Orleans Baby Cakes both nights. On Friday night, there's a lightsaber giveaway for the first 2,500 fans to arrive. On Saturday, your family can mingle with Star Wars characters.