Operated by the nonprofit Country Music Foundation, this monument to the genre’s local and international history honors inductees—including the inaugural trio of Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams and Fred Rose—with bronze plaques in a vast rotunda. The core permanent exhibit, Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music, traces country from its pre-commercial roots in the 19th century to its current place in the entertainment industry with hallmarks such as photos, original recordings, and 10-gallon hats still filled with whiskey. On the packed event calendar, a quarterly Poets and Prophets series honors legendary songwriters, and weekly instrument demonstrations reveal artists' deft finger work. At the onsite Frist Library and Archive, patrons can explore more than four decades of historical media, from fan-club newsletters to Johnny Cash's amateur photographs of dogs dressed in striped prison jumpsuits.
Founded as the Union Gospel Tabernacle by steamboat captain Thomas Ryman after an angel got trapped in his smokestack, the Ryman Auditorium has since become a different kind of hallowed ground, lovingly referred to as the "mother church of country music." The Grand Ole Opry and The Johnny Cash Show have both taken residence among its wooden pews, and the twanged voices of country legends such as Hank Williams and Patsy Cline have reverberated off the stenciled artwork on the face of the balcony. Today, the venue plays host to a variety of acts, from rock concerts to television specials to comedy shows.
Outer space is a vast ocean full of stars, planets, space-time rifts, and creepily goateed doppelgängers, with large stretches of nothingness in between. Today's deal takes all the cool parts of the universe and cuts out the boring multi-generational road trips to create an action-filled edumacational experience of galactic proportions. For $8, you get one admission to the Adventure Science Center and one admission to a show at the center's very own Sudekum Planetarium, which is a $17 value for adults (see other regular prices here). Your Groupon cannot be used on the Cosmic Concerts or any other laser shows, and all daily shows are first-come, first-served, so get there early to reserve your star-gazing seats.
Started as the road-baby brainchild of Jeff Lane from his private collection, the Lane Motor Museum is now 40,000 square feet and displays more than 150 cars and motorcycles in showroom quality or near-original specifications. Specializing in exotic European cars, the collection is arranged by country and showcases vehicles from Europe, Asia, the Galilean moons, and North and South America. Visitors can stroll through the museum, formerly the Sunbeam Bakery, and view microcars, amphibious road swimmers, military machines, alternative fuel vehicles, and yeast cars with biscuit wheels that only run in temperatures more than 100 degrees. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday, the Lane Motor Museum features an enthusiast-worthy collection of antique, exotic, retro, ethereal, unusual, and sometimes downright bizarre automobiles sure to entertain guests of all ages.
During a trip to the Nashville Zoo, guests greet animals who crawl, swim, creep, and fly through a wide range of habitats and displays, including a three-acre savannah and 15,000-square-foot lagoon. Pack a map and board a train to peek at elands, swap tales with zebras, and challenge ostriches to a game of Simon Says. The fun continues indoors as the Unseen New World exhibit enthralls visitors with reptiles, snakes, and bats, and the amphitheater plays host to daily animal shows. Elsewhere throughout the park, kids can scale a 66,000-square-foot jungle gym and emit whoops on the Wild Animal Carousel, burning off excess energy before moving on to meet toucans, cougars, and sasquatches.
Sitting in a Waco N369AS with an open cockpit, aviators take in panoramic views at up to 2,000 feet during flights with Music City Biplane Tours. From John C. Tune Airport in West Nashville, passengers embark on one of five set tours or create their own jaunt around Nashville airspace, with each excursion including 15 minutes of flight time. The roar of a 300 hp radial engine rips through air while the wind whips past eyes of eager, aerial sightseers. Self-style a flight that glides over Nashville's country music-history, scenic riverbanks, and views of Dolly Parton's biodome. Other tours include a Romantic Sunset tour and the Cumberland River tour.