Family-friendly Adventure Science Center in Nashville, TN

Explore the Wonders of the Universe at Nashville’s Family-Friendly Science Center

Toddlers, teens and kids will love the interactive exhibits at this fun-for-all attraction

For almost eight decades, Adventure Science Center has opened minds of all ages to the wonders of science and technology. From their humble beginnings as The Children's Museum of Nashville in 1945, to building their current home on the hill overlooking the city in 1974, this maven for education has steadily grown into a premier science museum, earning notoriety both in the state and beyond. 

Today, the independent, not-for-profit science and technology center is expanding again, planning to re-envision 15,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space to create even more out-of-this-world experiences for a multigenerational audience. After all, science isn’t just for kids.

Interactive Exhibits at Adventure Science Center Make Learning Fun

The center offers more than 170 interactive and hands-on exhibits, as well as experiential learning geared for all ages. Covering topics such as science, technology, biology, math, physics, health, earth science and astronomy, the exhibits promote learning while making it fun.

The i2 Makerspace offers high-tech exhibits with 42 rotating STEM activities, and soundBox allows you to visualize sound waves, see how a microphone converts the vibrations from your voice into a laser’s movement and create your own composition. The EY Sensory Room provides sensory-friendly elements for those who may feel a bit overstimulated during their science center experience.

At more than 75 feet tall, the Adventure Tower provides terrific views of the city and an observation deck. Hands-on activities include exploring sound and light, air, health, energy and earth science. You can stand inside the body of a giant guitar, write a song as you step on large piano keys or freeze-frame your shadow on the glow-in-the-dark wall.

And if that’s not enough to pack your day, there are plenty more exhibits to explore, including ones focused on beekeeping, the Physics of Light, a Vapor Vortex, a Tinkering Garage, a Solar System Survey and a Surge of a Tsunami.

The Stars Are Aligned in Adventure Science Center’s Sudekum Planetarium

Wish upon a star and see them up-close in the Sudekum Planetarium, a 63-foot domed theater, widely known as the centerpiece of the science center since its early days.

A variety of immersive astronomy experiences are offered here, including live star shows, laser shows set to your favorite tunes, and presentations on celestial phenomena. More than 6.5 million stars fill the dome, showcasing a realistic night sky and providing guests with an exhilarating experience.

Sudekum Planetarium’s “Nightwatch” live show will help you learn to locate and identify naked-eye constellations, planets and stars, changing with the seasons as the night sky shifts. 

Camps and Special Events at Adventure Science Center

With education at the forefront, it’s no surprise that Adventure Science Center is well known for its exploratory camps, designed for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. 

Kids can attend daylong and weeklong camps where they can explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), helping to foster an even better understanding of the world around them, all while keeping their minds engaged and entertained.

Camp themes vary from A Star Wars Camp to Senses of the Season and many others. Plus, the science center hosts all kinds of special events, including Touch-a-Truck, where guests can see and touch heavy machinery that are used in diverse industries, and TWISTER (Tennessee Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research), a one-day event geared to female students grades 7-12, with dynamic STEM presentations and hands-on activities. 

School groups are always welcome at Adventure Science Center, where Tennessee teachers and students are admitted free. You can even schedule a birthday visit or book a birthday party.

But who said science is just for kids? There are plenty of events for ages 21+. Science of Beer and Science of Spirits are crowd favorites - showcasing an array of spirits, brews, specialty cocktails and inventive mocktails alongside exhibits, live demonstrations and light shows in the Sudekum Planetarium. 

Adults can also participate in the Way Late Play Date, which helps demystify the science behind popular movies and cultural phenomenon.

What’s Next for Adventure Science Center?

The Beyond 75 campaign, which started in 2022 to commemorate the science center’s  continued evolution while reflecting on their milestone anniversary in 2020, outlined new exhibits and experiences for visitors – which now number about 300,000 annually from every state and the District of Columbia. 

That expansion, some of which has already taken place, breathes new life into Adventure Science Center’s mission, which is to open every mind – young and old – to the wonders of science and technology. 

The largest footprint for the center will be PEAK Performance: The Science of Health, opening in early to mid-2025. This 9,500-square-foot space will replace BodyQuest and feature new exhibits that explore human performance and how to care for our bodies so they can perform at their absolute best.

Other new exhibits include Adventure Gallery, which provides information about the creative engineering it takes for feats like mountain climbing and exploring deep under the ocean, not to mention the mechanics of roller coasters, airplanes and skydiving. 

Adventure Gallery also houses the Kinetic Climber, where you can take on nine different climbing challenges with a state-of-the-art magnetic auto belay system. 

And if you worked up an appetite, don’t worry – family-friendly dining options, including frozen yogurt, are available right inside the building.

All these programs and exhibits provide an opportunity to learn about scientific topics in hands-on, interactive settings that help develop – and sustain – an interest in science. 

So, no matter what you’re curious about, whether you are young or young at heart, Adventure Science Center is sure to expand your mind, engage your senses and encourage a whole lot of fun.