8 Reasons to Visit Nashville

There's art and culture too.

Don't let the laid-back spirit of Nashville fool you. It's a mini metropolis that includes a state-of-the-art science center, botanical gardens, and a great zoo where your kids can climb a 14-foot catwalk to get face time with the Masai giraffes. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts ($8.50 for adults, free for kids 18 and under; fristcenter.org) has a huge exhibit called ArtQuest, which features more than 30 hands-on stations where educators will help your child paint, sculpt, or learn printmaking.

The city is also home to the oldest professional children's theater in the country (nashvillechildrenstheatre.org), and the owners had the brilliant idea to create a soundproof "cry room" with a great view of the stage -- which means you don't have to miss the show if your baby gets fussy or your toddler has a tantrum.

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