10 Exciting Family-Friendly Activities to Experience in Tennessee

Tennessee, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural landscapes, is a treasure trove of experiences perfect for families looking to explore, learn, and have fun together. From the soulful streets of Memphis to the scenic peaks of the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee offers a diverse range of activities that cater to all ages and interests. Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures, educational outings, or just some good old-fashioned fun, here are some exciting, family-friendly activities to experience in Tennessee.

1.     Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is not just a feast for the eyes with its stunning natural beauty, but it’s also a playground for families seeking adventure and relaxation. Beyond the trails, families can participate in the Junior Ranger Program, which offers children a hands-on educational experience about the park’s flora, fauna, and history. During the winter, the park offers different experiences, from skiing to snowshoeing. With picnic areas scattered throughout, families can enjoy a meal surrounded by nature, creating lasting memories in America’s most visited national park.

2.     Experience SkyFly

SkyFly: Soar America takes families on an extraordinary journey without leaving Pigeon Forge. This state-of-the-art flying theater attraction simulates the sensation of flight as you glide over some of America’s most breathtaking landscapes, from the icy Alaska wilderness to the Grand Canyon’s vast expanse. It’s an experience that combines education with exhilaration, as guests learn about the diverse ecosystems and historical landmarks of the United States while feeling the thrill of flight. SkyFly is an attraction that appeals to all ages, making it a must-do for families seeking unique and memorable experiences in Tennessee.

3.     Discover the Wonders of Dollywood

Dollywood goes beyond thrilling rides and entertainment; it’s a deep dive into Appalachian culture with a warm, family-oriented atmosphere. Kids can learn about the bald eagle at the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, a refuge for America’s symbol. The park’s commitment to preserving the Smoky Mountains’ heritage is seen in its craftsman’s valley, where families can watch and learn from skilled artisans practicing blacksmithing, candle-making, and glass-blowing. Seasonal events, like the Harvest Festival and Smoky Mountain Christmas, offer unique themed entertainment, making Dollywood a year-round destination for families.

4.     Visit the Tennessee Aquarium

At the Tennessee Aquarium, families embark on an aquatic journey that is both educational and captivating. The River Journey building presents a detailed exploration of freshwater ecosystems, allowing kids to get up close with river otters, alligators, and a variety of fish species. The Ocean Journey introduces visitors to the wonders of the deep sea with mesmerizing exhibits like the Secret Reef, where sharks and rays glide past, and the Butterfly Garden, which showcases the delicate beauty of these insects. The aquarium’s commitment to conservation is highlighted through interactive exhibits and educational talks, inspiring young visitors to become stewards of the natural world.

5.     Take a Stroll Down Beale Street in Memphis

Beale Street isn’t just for adults; it’s a cultural hub where families can soak in the rich musical history of Memphis. Street performers and live bands provide a soundtrack as you explore, making it an immersive experience. The Beale Street Flippers astonish crowds with their acrobatic performances, creating a lively atmosphere. For a sweet treat, families can stop by one of the many cafes for some famous Memphis barbecue or a stack of fluffy pancakes, providing a taste of the local cuisine in a family-friendly setting.

6.     Tour the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is not just a pilgrimage site for country music fans; it’s a fascinating, interactive experience for the whole family. The museum’s vast collection of memorabilia, from Elvis Presley’s gold Cadillac to Dolly Parton’s iconic costumes, offers a tangible connection to music legends. Interactive exhibits, like the songwriting station where visitors can pen their own lyrics, provide a hands-on way for kids and adults alike to explore the artistry behind the music. It’s a place where the stories behind the songs come to life, offering insights into the cultural impact of country music that resonates with all generations.

7.     Go on a Scenic Train Ride

Tennessee’s scenic train rides offer a unique vantage point from which to appreciate the state’s natural beauty. The Tennessee Valley Railroad in Chattanooga and the Three Rivers Rambler in Knoxville provide leisurely journeys through rolling landscapes, over rivers, and past historic sites. These excursions often include educational commentary about the regions you pass through, making them both enjoyable and informative. Seasonal rides, like the autumn leaf-peeping tours or the magical Christmas express, add a thematic charm that can turn a simple train ride into an unforgettable family adventure.

8.     Visit the Adventure Science Center

The Adventure Science Center in Nashville is a wonderland of discovery for curious minds of all ages. Exhibits ranging from space exploration to human biology encourage interactive learning and exploration. The state-of-the-art Sudekum Planetarium offers mesmerizing shows about the cosmos, while the Adventure Tower gives visitors a bird’s-eye view of Nashville. Special programs, like the Little Labs for younger children, ensure that even the smallest scientists can get in on the fun, making science accessible and entertaining for everyone in the family.

9.     Enjoy Outdoor Activities at Radnor Lake State Park

Radnor Lake State Park, located just outside Nashville, is a peaceful escape into nature. The park’s well-maintained trails are perfect for family hikes, where you can observe wildlife, admire the lake’s serene beauty, and perhaps spot some of the many bird species that call the park home. Educational programs led by park rangers offer insights into the area’s ecology and history, making a visit here both a recreational and learning experience. It’s an ideal spot for families seeking a tranquil retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle, offering a chance to reconnect with nature and each other.

10. Experience History at the Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

Exploring Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage offers families a unique opportunity to step back in time and learn about the 7th President of the United States and the era he lived in. The beautifully preserved estate includes the mansion, garden, and original slave quarters, providing a comprehensive view of 19th-century life. Interactive tours and educational programs bring history to life, making it relevant and engaging for visitors of all ages. It’s not just a history lesson; it’s an immersive experience that allows families to walk through the pages of America’s past, offering valuable perspectives on the nation’s history and heritage.


Tennessee is a state filled with wonders waiting to be discovered by families looking for adventure, education, and fun. From the heights of the Smoky Mountains to the historic streets of Memphis and Nashville, there’s something for everyone in the Volunteer State. Whether you’re experiencing the thrill of SkyFly, exploring the depths of the Tennessee Aquarium, or soaking up the musical heritage of the region, Tennessee promises a memorable and enriching experience for families. So pack your bags, gather your loved ones, and set off on an adventure to Tennessee, where every visit is bound to be an unforgettable journey.

There are affiliate links in this post. At no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.