We’re not huge country music fans, but while in Nashville this summer, we figured it was only appropriate to listen to what the locals listen to and blend in with the crowd. There’s no better place to listen to, and learn about, country music than the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s located in downtown Nashville, close to many area attractions.
I was uncertain if my children would be engaged throughout our self guided tour ( we decided to forego the audio tour). I was so pleasantly surprised at how child friendly the museum is! There is plenty to see and do, even for younger, non-country loving kids. We spent over two hours inside the museum and could have stayed longer had we not had another reservation.
Traveling with Children:
There are restrooms everywhere. I lost count at how many but there are multiple spots on each floor. Bonus: there are step stools in the bathrooms, making it easier for children to wash their hands.
You’re allowed to come and go from the museum the entire day of your visit (making nap time easier!)
The exhibits (and the elevators!) have plenty of wide space making it easy to maneuver strollers and to allow little ones to burn off some energy.
Throughout some of the exhibits there are coloring stations with tables and chairs for children. This was super helpful, as sometimes my husband and I wanted to linger and read about a specific artist or item for a longer period of time and the kids could be close by, happily coloring away.
There are two gift shops located to the right of the entrance area to the complex.
Fifteen Things Kids (and adults, too!) Must Do in the Museum: (while completing a scavenger hunt)
1. Start on the third floor at the Taylor Swift Education Center. Add your own lyrics to the “What If I” story and pick up a scavenger hunt (there are a couple of options). Submit it before you leave for a special memento of your visit (my kids chose cool museum posters). Each week there is a different themed craft to complete.
2. Pick a favorite ensemble out of the hundreds of musicians’ performance outfits and costumes. We especially liked all the sparkle of Shania Twain’s “Rock this Country” display.
3. Check out two convertibles: Webb Pierce’s “Silver Dollar” and Elvis Presley’s “Solid Gold” convertible from the early 1960s. Pierce’s convertible is outfitted with pistols as door handles.
4. Create your own ensemble for a musician through touch screens that allow you to dress up your favorite star.
5. Rest your feet while watching the “Country Music on TV” compilation of tv clips.
6. Count the number of Gold Records Garth Brooks has on the wall of records.
7. Stomp on armadillos projected on the rug on the second floor.
8. Guess the statistics of current country stars and pay your respects at the “In Memoriam” honor wall for the current year.
9. Take a personality test at the Bottlehead exhibit to figure out which job your personality is best suited for (manager? musician? songwriter? attorney?)
10. Record your own version of a popular song (my husband had way too much fun recording Taylor Swift’s “We are Never Ever Getting Back to Together”) inside a replica tour bus.
11. Use the word magnets on the massive refrigerator to create new song lyrics.
12. Spin the massive record, and when it stops, write a song about the three images that appear. There’s paper and pencil for you to leave the lyrics to inspire others.
13. Climb inside the massive guitar for a cool photo opt.
14. Walk through the Rotunda and read about your favorite Hall of Fame inductees.
15. As you walk down the staircase to the first floor promenade, check out the cascading water that follows the path of the stairs.
Parking: We parked in the Music City Center Parking Garage. It is centrally located, an easy one block walk to the CMHOF, and costs $10 for up to 4 hours, $15 for up to 8 hours.
Eating Locally: Right inside the main atrium is Southern Eatery 222, open for lunch each day except Sunday. It’s a short walk from the CMHOF to the famous South Broadway with dozens of options for meals. We chose ACME Feed and Seed, a staple of Nashville since 1890. The food was yummy and the place has a super cool, laid back vibe. They don’t have an official children’s menu, but they did let our kids split a large cheeseburger and sweet potato fries, which they gobbled right up.
Disclaimer: I was provided media passes to visit the Museum and Hall of Fame. All opinions expressed are my own.