Friends of Riverside Drive, a collective volunteer effort, began with a vision to transform local neighborhoods by planting dogwood and yoshino cherry trees. Along with tree plantings across neighborhoods and involvement with the Riverside Blossom Festival, Friends of Riverside Drive’s main work is restoring beauty and dignity to Riverside Drive, a community road that provides the main route to the National Cemetery and once served as a recognized, living memorial to war veterans.
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.
Live musical acts hit the stage every night at Music City Bar & Grill, compelling feet to move and hips to request an encore. Holiday lights twinkle and guide waitstaff to tables where patrons order from a menu of hearty bar fare, which includes Angus-beef burgers, three-meat pizzas, and salads topped with grilled steak or chicken. At the pool tables, balls click together in time to the music, and outdoor seating gives people the chance to serenade the stars using voices normally reserved for sad lightbulbs.
Though the staff at Honeysuckle Hill Farm cultivates livestock and crops of seasonal produce, its other chief resource is outdoor adventure. Through their seasonal tours, farm staffers teach adults and children about farm operations, the basics of agriculture, and which fabrics scarecrows find itchy. They also give visitors a chance to work their way through labyrinthine corn mazes. At birthday parties, younger visitors can pet the resident animals, pan for gemstones at an artificial stream, and race each other in pedal-powered carts. Away from the fields, Association for Challenge Course Technology–certified guides and their guests soar down a one-mile zipline course designed and built to ACCT standards. The guides lead tours through the course’s three elevated towers, three canopy-level bridges stretched across Battle Creek, and eight ziplines, which they maintain daily to chase away loitering vigilantes. Along the way, guides showcase their knowledge of the creek’s history while pointing out local flora and fauna.
Boasting muddy obstacles and live gladiators who attempt to slow down competitors with impromptu jousts, the Tough Dash isn’t your average weekend 5K race. As participants trek through mud pits and strength-testing obstacles, microchips track their time, adding a fun competitive edge to the event. The runners aren't the only ones who get to join in the fun, however; spectators are encouraged to soak runners and unfortunate pedestrians who accidentally took a wrong turn with water balloons and water guns. A post-race celebration regales runners with food, beverages, and prizes for the top male and female times and the best costume. Proceeds from this event benefit the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital.
For baseball fans looking for a serious environment to improve their skills, 3-6-5 Baseball Academy offers a 6,000-square-foot, full-turf facility, as well as instructors who have all played at either the collegiate or professional level. Practicing baseball is as American as apple pie or as Dutch as appleflappen, which is why the gooey center of 3-6-5 Baseball Academy contains indoor batting cages, pitching mounds, and the ProBatter Pitching Simulator. The simulator uses video effects to accurately mimic the feeling of batting against a Major League pitcher—without the hassle of cussing matches and an umpire whispering dark secrets in your ear.