The Discovery Center enlivens kids’ learning experiences by cleverly disguising exhibits as awesome playtime arenas. Tiny tots and even 10-year-olds are encouraged to run wild at this hands-on children’s museum and nature center, trying their hand at the many fun activities.
At the creation station, which is stocked with paint, clay, chalk, paper, and just about anything a young da Vinci or police sketch artist needs, kids are free to unleash their creative potential. Alternatively, at the fire-truck exhibit, they can put on a firefighter’s boots and hat and climb aboard the full-sized 1954 Oren fire truck to learn about a firefighter’s job in Murfreesboro. Nearby, at Tennessee Live!, they can get in touch with their natural surroundings when they come face-to-face with turtles, fish, and snakes at the living stream table, dig in the fossil pit, and learn about the customs of the native Cherokee.
Replete with ornate gardens and a brick mansion fronted by towering, white columns, Rippavilla Plantation winds the clock back to the time of the Civil War. In the fall, the smells of bonfires and steaming hot chocolate fill the sprawling grounds as they host pumpkin paintings and other old-timey, outdoor fun. The Rippavilla corn maze tests internal compasses and scarecrow-bribing techniques on a 10-acre, labyrinthine path. As they pass through the maze, guests encounter signs that boast historical facts about major Civil War battles in 1862, putting them in touch with the site's legacy. For a plus-size serving of fresh, autumn air, guests can also board the hayride to circle the grounds, which are devoid of the sinister ghouls that often emerge at many fall festivals; instead, the grounds remain family-friendly throughout the night.
Perched atop an 80-foot bluff overlooking the Tennessee River, Hunter Museum of American Art hosts collections ranging from colonial times to contemporary America. The permanent collection includes historical works by renowned painters such as Thomas Cole, Mary Cassatt, and Winslow Homer as well as contemporary pieces in less traditional mediums such as filmmaking, which artists turned to after paintbrushes went extinct. Educational programs guide visitors through these core works as well as temporary exhibits, which have included Depression-era photographs by Dorothea Lange and the sculptural installation art of Beverly Semmes.
Hunter Museum's buildings are as much a work of art as the paintings they house. An outdoor sculpture plaza and a sleek structure of steel and glass built in 2005 give the compound a contemporary edge. In contrast, the massive fireplaces and hand-carved woodwork inside the original edifice—a classical revival-style mansion built in 1904—recall the days when horses still chauffeured their owners around in Ford Model Ts.
Priscilla was born in Bristol, England in 1967. She toiled in public transportation until the 1980s, when she begrudgingly entered early retirement. She spent some of it in Liverpool, and some in Flitwick, but eventually succumbed to the promise of greener pastures in the U.S.—she moved to Kansas in 1993, and eventually settled in Tennessee.
Priscilla is the double-decker bus that Rufus, the owner of Nashville Double Decker, loads up with guests before touring the city. The idea for a bus-tour company came to him before his second deployment with the Tennessee Army National Guard on a visit to Nashville. He took a trolley tour that left him disappointed. The tour didn’t cross any of the city’s bridges, and he couldn’t enjoy some of Nashville’s best views thanks to the trolley’s closed top. So while Rufus was still overseas, he convinced a friend to drive Priscilla across the country from Washington, and now she shows guests the sites around Nashville.
Thousands of dragons glitter and glimmer within the Dragon Dreams Museum. So many, in fact, that the museum owner is working on her entry in the Guinness Word Records book for—you guessed it—the biggest collection of dragons on earth. One-of-a-kind antiques and handcrafted figurines made from silver, jade, and ivory highlight the expansive collection. The on-site gift shop can help you start your own collection as well as purchase other items such as jewelry, magnets, ornaments, and posters.
Frame and Art Gallery's staff preserves keepsakes using archival framing materials in addition to conservation-clear, conservation-reflection, and museum-quality glass. Many of their moldings sell for less than $175, efficiently enclosing photographs and other valuable items. Frame and Art Gallery also specializes in framing jerseys, stretching canvases, and art restoration. If shoppers don't already possess artwork they'd like to frame, they can pick up John A. Maxwell original paintings or purchase a pet portrait to memorialize domestic animals without constructing a shrine out of fur.