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.
Throughout the week, Ebonite Galaxy Lanes offers a spectrum of entertainment options in the forms of 32 synthetic bowling surfaces, arcade games, live DJ performances, and an outdoor volleyball court. The alley also hosts an onsite snack bar that fuels guests with bubbling pizzas while they enjoy recreational rivalries, league nights, or live broadcasts of slot-car races every Sunday. At the in-house watering hole, Front Row Sports Bar, live DJs spin digital discs and host karaoke every Thursday through Saturday.
A-Game Skate Academy’s staff of experienced skating instructors helps pupils perfect their gliding form year-round from the indoor rink at A-Game Sportsplex. Though the teaching approach varies based on skaters’ age and experience, the skating curriculum begins with classes that focus on basic balance and posture before pupils advance to more challenging material in later classes, such as hockey-specific skills, figure-skating jumps, and how to parallel-park a zamboni.
A-Game also offers many open-skate sessions, allowing guests to practice their form on their own time. Before taking to the ice, skaters can peruse the pro shop for skate guards, blade covers, gloves, and other necessities or rent out a pair of skates so they don’t have to fashion their own out of a cowboy boot and a machete.
On the evening of November 30, 1864, the town of Franklin, Tennessee, bore witness to more than five hours of carnage as Confederate forces under the command of General John Bell Hood assaulted an entrenched corps of Federal troops led by General John M. Schofield. The heaviest fighting entailed a frontal attack on the Federal lines—incorporating about 20,000 soldiers on each side, or more soldiers than Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. General Hood hoped this attack would dislodge the Federal forces and that he would be able to eventually recapture Nashville.
Over the course of the next five hours, this charge resulted in a staggering number of casualties and General Schofield steadily withdrew his forces toward Nashville, leaving behind a battle-scarred town as well as a battered Confederate force. Today, the Battle of Franklin Trust allows visitors to learn more about this key battle by visiting and taking guided tours of several sites that played integral roles in the events that took place on and around November 30, 1864.
The Carter House served as the command post for General Jacob D. Cox, a Federal officer tasked with overseeing the construction of defensive positions as the Confederate forces advanced. These defenses were constructed within 300 feet of the home, and guests have the opportunity to explore the grounds as well as the home, including the basement where the Carter family and roughly two dozen civilians sought shelter from the battle being fought outside their doors.
One of those civilians was Albert Lotz, whose own home still stands 110 steps away from the Carter residence. The Lotz House bears its own battle scars, too, including a charred indentation in the wood flooring that was caused by an errant cannonball.
Located one mile away from the two houses, the McGavock family's Carnton Plantation also welcomes guests, providing them with tours of the site that served as the area's largest field hospital after the fighting ceased. The plantation features two acres of land that the McGavocks offered as the final burial site for approximately 1,500 Confederate soldiers who died at the Battle of Franklin, making it the largest privately owned military cemetery in the nation.
The 4,800-square-foot activity arena at The Monkey’s Treehouse, named Best Children's Play Program by Nashville Parent, dazzles pint-sized patrons up to eight years of age with a plethora of interactive and climbable activities. Once inside, tiny jaws drop at the sight of a four-room wooden tree house complete with bridges and slides. Children use their imaginations in a pretend town and play with trains, cars, Calico Critters, doll houses, and baby dolls and can create masterpieces in the art studio. The little ones two and under can enjoy a gated play area designed just for them.
The Treehouse's proprietors, who are parents of young children themselves, work with trained staff to keep the jovial funhouse meticulously clean and safe. There are plenty of diverse activities for everyone, including free Wi-Fi.
Pump It Up specializes in indoor, inflatable arenas for children. During three fun-filled pop-in visits, children can leap around gargantuan air-filled bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an air-filled obstacle course. Pump It Up’s giant indoor air arenas are climate-controlled and maintained according to rigorous guidelines enforced by a well-trained staff and local police. Parents bounce for free during pop-in and family jump time, so childless adults who want to play will need to borrow a neighbor’s kid or win one by collecting soda tops.