31 Days of Nashville – Adventure Science Center

12 - Adventure Science Center

Way up on the hill behind Fort Negley, facing Nashville’s beautiful skyline is the Adventure Science Center where children of all ages can spend a day learning about many areas of science and have fun.

I have visited the science center more times than I can count. When I was a kid, it was called the Cumberland Science Center, and we went on numerous field trips with school throughout the years. The center had been remodeled several times since I was a kid, but I can still clearly remember a few exhibits that were there when I was a kid, like the brain in a jar where we could push a button, and it rotated around so that we could see a 360 view of a real human brain, not from a photo or drawing. There was also the general store set up in a little town-like environment with a real cash register (a big deal for kid me!).

I’ve been a few times as an adult, too, when the credit union where I am a member offers a family night once a year for members. Each year I’ve been, I always try to visit one of the planetarium’s presentations to see the stars and constellations. Maybe Neil deGrasse Tyson will show up one year 🙂

The Adventure Science Center also offers Way Late Play Dates where every few months they open their doors from 7-10 pm to adults-only for a night of science and fun. They offer themes for these nights, and the next Way Late Play Date is October 24th with the Zombie theme, Blood Thirsty Thursday. The price for the ticket includes 3 beverage tickets (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and they also have food trucks on site, because what event in Nashville doesn’t have food trucks these days?

Adventure Science Center
800 Fort Negley Blvd
Nashville TN 37203
(615) 862-5160

This post is part of a series I am writing, 31 Days of Nashville, where I am introducing several awesome places that make Nashville a great place to live and visit. Each day of the week has a different theme, and I am trying to focus on those hidden gems that aren’t as well known but just as worthy.

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31 Days of Nashville – Centennial Park

16 - Centennial Park

The hub of Nashville events can be found in Centennial Park. Most weekends when the weather is pleasant, there’s usually an event going on somewhere in the park. There’s a huge amount of open space that makes it perfect for festivals and large events that attract many people. If there’s not a specific event on a nice weekend, the park is usually filled with people playing frisbee, walking or just enjoying the scenery.

In the middle of the park is The Parthenon replica, which was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition to celebrate Tennessee’s 100th anniversary. Tennessee was added as a state of the union in 1796. If you’re figuring the math, the exposition was a year late. History seems to indicate that they decided to build a replica of the Parthenon in Greece because Nashville is nicknamed The Athens of the South.

My favorite memories of Centennial Park are of the gardens on the northwest side near the pond (aka Lake Watauga). There are photos of me when I was very young, playing among the flowers, and I still enjoy being in that area when I go to the park today. Also nearby is a train and airplane that have been parked there for as long as I can remember.

When you decide to visit Centennial Park, it’s well worth the $6 admission to see the massive Athena Parthenos reproduction statue, standing 42 feet tall. It’s quite an experience to be in the open hall with her standing on the other end in all her golden beauty. The park is also really close to Cori’s DogHouse that I wrote about yesterday!

 

Athena

 

Centennial Park
2500 West End Ave
Nashville TN 37203

This post is part of a series I am writing, 31 Days of Nashville, where I am introducing several awesome places that make Nashville a great place to live and visit. Each day of the week has a different theme, and I am trying to focus on those hidden gems that aren’t as well known but just as worthy. 

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31 Days of Nashville – Cori’s DogHouse

15 - Cori's DogHouse

If there is a combination of ingredients to be topped on a hot dog, then Cori’s probably has it. I first discovered Cori’s at their first location in Mount Juliet back when David and I were still dating, and I live in Mount Juliet. Cori’s was our go-to restaurant when he came to my side of town. Shortly after we moved in together (in Nashville), they opened a second location on West End, so I kinda feel like Cori’s knew I would miss them being close to home. 

Most of their menu dogs are named after states, cities or areas in the US. You can basically eat your way across the country, and if you do eat one of each (and get your card marked), you can be added to the Wall of Wieners at either location. Seriously! David and I have been slowly working or way across the US since 2009, and I think we’re each about half way there. We have a rule between the two of us that we can’t get our card marked unless we’re dining together so that we can both be wieners on the same day.

Without a doubt, my absolute favorite dog is the Jersey Breakfast dog that comes with bacon, shredded cheese and a fried egg. I get weird looks sometimes when I mention it, but it really is good if you like bacon and eggs. I also prefer the turkey dog over the beef dog, but that’s just a personal preference, and there’s nothing wrong with the other choices. You don’t have to order exactly what is offered on the board (unless you’re trying to get your photo added to the Wall of Wienders), so they will add any topping they offer if you order it that way. They also have sausages and other sandwiches, too.

If you’re feeling brave, try the Fried Twinkie for dessert. I’m usually full by the time I’ve eaten my hot dog, but I’ve had a bite or two of the dessert. It’s well worth it if you still have room for more.

Cori’s DogHouse Jersey Breakfast

Cori’s DogHouse – Nashville
106 29th Ave N
Nashville TN 37209
(615) 329-9444

Cori’s DogHouse – Mount Juliet
(near Belk, facing Mount Juliet Road)
401 S Mount Juliet Rd
Mount Juliet TN 37122
(615) 758-6960

This post is part of a series I am writing, 31 Days of Nashville, where I am introducing several awesome places that make Nashville a great place to live and visit. Each day of the week has a different theme, and I am trying to focus on those hidden gems that aren’t as well known but just as worthy. 

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31 Days of Nashville – Mall Memories

14 - Mall Memories

All across America, the concept of “the mall” is changing. It’s not just in Nashville. Most everywhere is going away from the one indoor building holding multiple stores to the multiple buildings in an area where the stores are all outside. It’s almost like the days before malls where everything was in a strip mall. I can honestly say that I am not a big fan of the new outdoor mall concept. I miss going into one building to visit several stores all inside, away from the heat, the cold or the rain. I suppose I can see the appeal of driving to the one store you need to go into, and not having to walk past several other stores to get there, but if there’s a second store you need to visit, you’re probably going to drive there instead of walk. Of course, as I say that I miss the old-style malls, I haven’t really been much of a mall shopper in the past several years, anyway, and do a good bit of my shopping online now. I guess either way, I’m not walking as much as I used to walk 🙂

Anyway, the idea of this blog post is not to debate which style is better. I wanted to relive the memories I have of the great times I had when going to the mall. In the 80’s and 90’s when I was a teenager, THE Mall was THE place to be. Early in my youth, Nashville had 3 major malls, Hickory Hollow Mall, Rivergate Mall and One Hundred Oaks Mall.

One Hundred Oaks Mall was the first to start fading away, and tried a few times to revamp and come back, but never quite recovered. My memories of One Hundred Oaks go back way far and are a bit blurry, but I do remember Harveys had the giant carousel horse hanging on the wall beside the entrance to the store. The last time I remember One Hundred Oaks being a mall was in the very late 90’s, and even then about the only store worth visiting was the video game store to trade in your old NES games for newer games. One Hundred Oaks is now home to Vanderbilt Health on the second floor, where many of the outpatient clinics of Vanderbilt are located. It’s interesting to go inside now if you have a memory of the old mall, because it still kinda sorta has the same look. The first floor that faces outside has several stores and is pretty much like the outdoor malls that are more popular today.

I grew up living closer to Hickory Hollow Mall, so we went there more often than the others. I remember we almost always went into the mall through the back entrance of JC Penney. It didn’t matter if we needed to shop in JCP or not; we just always entered through that door. 9th grade was about the time that I started noticing fashion and no longer wanted to get my clothes at KMart and WalMart, so the mall was where you had to go to get name brand clothes, like Skidz and I.O.U….oh, and Hypercolor! I never talked my mom into buying Skidz pants but I did have two I.O.U. shirts that I treasured. I also wanted some Doc Martens, but my parents seem to think that was way too much money to spend on fake combat boots, so I inherited a pair of my dad’s old combat boots that he had retired for a newer pair for his Army National Guard job. David said recently that real combat boots were probably much more cool than Doc Martens, but my teenage mind didn’t quite see it back then. I haven’t been to Hickory Hollow Mall in at least 5 years (maybe more). It started going downhill and attracting criminal acts. They are trying a comeback again this year with Global Mall at the Crossings, with a branch of Nashville State Community College one of the old anchor stores. A branch of the Nashville Public Library and an ice rink managed by the Nashville Predators is also planned for the future.

Rivergate Mall is where I frequented more often after I started driving. Most of my high school friends lived on the north side of Mount Juliet (where I lived on the south side), so Rivergate was closer when I was with them. Rivergate had most of the same stores that Hickory Hollow had. To my knowledge, Rivergate Mall has never shut down, even temporarily like Hickory Hollow, but I believe they are also trying to regain popularity.

Other malls, have come and gone in the Nashville area, but these three are the malls of my memories. What mall memories do you have in Nashville or where you live? 

This post is part of a series I am writing, 31 Days of Nashville, where I am introducing several awesome places that make Nashville a great place to live and visit. Each day of the week has a different theme, and I am trying to focus on those hidden gems that aren’t as well known but just as worthy. 

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31 Days of Nashville – The Loveless Cafe

13 - Loveless Cafe

The Loveless Cafe is another one of those timeless favorites that both tourists and residents of Nashville enjoy visiting.  It’s a bit off the beaten path and outside of Nashville proper, but we still claim it as one of Nashville’s treasured restaurants.

The sign says it’s a Cafe and Motel, but the rooms haven’t been open for guests since 1985. The Cafe has quite an interesting history, going back to the 1950’s, and the biscuit recipe has been carried along since then. The biscuits are among the best you’ll ever have, along with the country ham and pancakes.

Just like most breakfast venues that draw tourists, the weekends usually involve quite a wait to get a table, but during the week it’s much more quiet. The last few years have seen the area expand to include shops to buy jams, jellies, country ham and other food products. The Loveless Barn is also home to live music, with a public television and radio-broadcasted concert series held every Wednesday.

David and I celebrated this year’s Pancake Day at The Loveless with red velvet pancakes and bacon.

If you’ve never been to the Loveless, you should add it to your list of places to visit in Nashville for some good southern cooking.

The Loveless Cafe
8400 Tennessee Hwy 100
Nashville, TN 37221
(615) 646-9700

This post is part of a series I am writing, 31 Days of Nashville, where I am introducing several awesome places that make Nashville a great place to live and visit. Each day of the week has a different theme, and I am trying to focus on those hidden gems that aren’t as well known but just as worthy. 

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31 Days of Nashville – Nashville Rollergirls

12 - Nashville Rollergirls

The Nashville Rollergirls are Nashville’s finest women on wheels. The roller derby of the 70’s and 80’s has made a comeback in the last 5 years or so, and it has turned into quite an athletic sport. It’s highly competitive, but it’s not quite the hair-pulling, name-calling, catty sport of 30 years ago. It’s much more civilized now.

I am not a sports enthusiast AT.ALL. You won’t find me watching football on the weekends or baseball during the World Series or any other sport, but there’s something about roller derby that changed that, at least when it comes to watching roller derby. The first bout I attended was in 2009 after seeing an event posted at a pizza place in town. It was shortly after my birthday, and I told David that I wanted to go for my birthday. At that time, the Rollergirls played at the sports arena at the Nashville Fairgrounds. The audience was such a grand mix of people from all ages and groups that I never once felt out of place. Oh, and the derby bout was an amazing experience. I was hooked!

Since that first bout, we have seen the Nashville Rollergirls compete with women from other cities all over the US. Their fan base has outgrown the fairgrounds arena, and moved to the Municipal Auditorium where there’s more room for more people without being crowded on bleachers.

It takes watching a few bouts to really understand the rules of the game, but what sport isn’t without complicated rules? Once we started to understand the rules, we really got into the competition and started identifying our favorite players from the Nashville team, like Lady Fury, Hildabeast and Ramb0 Samb0 (Hildabeast has retired and Ramb0 Samb0 moved from the area).

For the younger girls ages 10-17, there’s also the Nashville Junior Roller Derby team. They play some during halftime at the Nashville Rollergirls bouts, and it’s amazing to see them play, too!

This year’s roller derby season is over, but you can catch them again next year starting in February through August for regular games and September for playoffs.

This post is part of a series I am writing, 31 Days of Nashville, where I am introducing several awesome places that make Nashville a great place to live and visit. Each day of the week has a different theme, and I am trying to focus on those hidden gems that aren’t as well known but just as worthy. 

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31 Days of Nashville – Shrine Circus

11 - Shrine Circus

The Al Menah Shrine Circus is in town this weekend! I have SO MANY awesome memories of going to the circus as far back as my memory goes. My Dad has been a Shriner for more than 30 years, so it was an annual tradition for us to go to the circus almost every year.  Even as an adult, the kid in me comes out when I attend the circus.

My favorite acts are usually any act that involves dogs and the silly and kooky clown antics between the main acts. Some people are frightened of clowns, but not me! There’s almost always at least one death-defying act toward the end, often involving human cannons or motorcycles high in the air. And don’t forget the high wire and trapeze acts!

As a kid, I always seemed to talk my parents into getting me some sort of toy that lights up, because I wouldn’t dare miss the “winky blinky light show” where they turn out all the lights, and we get to show off our new toy to everyone around. More than 30 years later, they still do this, and it’s still pretty awesome for me, though I have only been an observer and not a participant for the last several years.

Unfortunately, other plans are keeping us from attending this year, but hopefully we’ll be able to attend next year. The circus is in town through Sunday, with one show Friday night, three shows on Saturday, and two shows on Sunday. If you’ve never been to the circus, what are you waiting for?

Al Menah Shrine Circus
Municipal Auditorium
417 Fourth Avenue North
Nashville, Tennessee 37201

This post is part of a series I am writing, 31 Days of Nashville, where I am introducing several awesome places that make Nashville a great place to live and visit. Each day of the week has a different theme, and I am trying to focus on those hidden gems that aren’t as well known but just as worthy. 

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