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Looking for things to do with the kids this fall break in Tennessee? Check out the attractions below that have harvest decorations, host fall-themed events and get you close to foliage for all your Instagram-worthy moments.
Kid-friendly attractions in and around Memphis
When the air is cool, take your kids to Memphis Zoo to see animals including zebras, southern white rhinos, giraffes, sloths, bears and lions among other creatures. Plan your visit around the annual Zoo Boo 2022 select nights Oct. 14-31 from 6-9:30 p.m. where kids can dress up and trick-or-treat around the zoo. Fun activities include a Mad Scientist lab, pumpkin hunt, Jack-o-lantern jamboree, candy stations, tunnel of doom, Dracula’s Disco, Mermaid Bay and so much more.
Discovery Park of America has 50 acres of an outdoor heritage park that includes a man-made river, waterfalls, bridges, a mill, gardens, a train depot and much more. During the fall months, you’ll love walking the paved paths and seeing the hundreds of artifacts in the different buildings. And, in October 2022, the annual Pumpkin Village comes back with the theme “Star Gourds: May the Squash Be With You” which includes 40,000 pounds of pumpkins and hundreds of fall flowers and hay bales. Sculptures of movie characters, fall scenes and even a pumpkin house or two can be seen while walking the grounds.
For a fun-filled fall break, take your kids to Shelby Farms Park to enjoy the many activities offered by Go Ape. Choose from the treetop adventure which includes 40 obstacles and a 624-foot zipline or the treetop journey which has 25 obstacles and a 190-foot zipline (you can also enjoy this track at night during Nights at Height). Axe throwing, Gorilla Golf and a new Forest Escape, an interactive, outdoor experience where you put your problem solving skills to the test, round out the fun. Shelby Farms Park also offers paintball and laser tag, horseback riding, biking trails, boat and paddle board rentals and hiking trails.
Kid-friendly attractions in and around Nashville
Bring the kids to Cheekwood Estate & Gardens for Cheekwood Harvest, a six-week celebration of all things fall. Pick out the perfect pumpkin, explore the three pumpkin houses at the pumpkin village and find scarecrows throughout the garden. Your children will love exploring the Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden where they can explore nature, art and history. Then, go to the Trains! exhibit to experience an enchanted train station combining a traditional depot with the natural form of a tree.
Take a self-guided tour of Oaklands Mansion to experience a slice of Tennessee history. Oaklands was built in four phases over two generations of the Maney family from 1815 to before the Civil War. Inside, you’ll see a collection of furnishings, artwork and personal items. After your tour, step outside and explore the Native Tree Arboretum, heritage flower and vegetable gardens and walking trails. You can even marvel at a 250+ year-old history white oak tree. Oaklands Park is also open to leashed dogs.
Children as young as 3 years old can experience Soar Adventure Tower in Franklin. Little ones can have a little adventure on the ground level courses specifically designed for children 3-7 years old. Kids ages 8-17 years old can access all levels of the tower featuring more than 90 elements. Kids ages 11 and younger must have an adult present when exploring. Four stories of an outdoor ropes course with more than 100 climbing elements can be explored during the day or during twilight hours, perfect for watching the sunset. After climbing, play a round of mini golf on the 18-hole miniature golf course with musically themed holes.
Kid-friendly attractions in and near Kingsport, the Smokies and Chattanooga
Stretch your legs and enjoy autumnal scenes during the kids' fall break at Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium in Kingsport. See animal habitats like wolves and owls, take a barge ride with a naturalist to learn about the park history and wildlife like beave lodges, blue herons, black bear and more. Kids will love the adventure course, featuring three different adventures with high and low ropes and a zip line. Over 40 miles of hiking trails snake through the 3,650-acre park and 32 miles of biking trails that provide fun for mountain bikers of all skill levels.
See exotic and native creatures from Tennessee at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. In the River Journey building you can see native Tennessee fish as well as fish that inhabit rivers around the world. Next door in the Ocean Journey building, see sharks, jellyfish, penguins and even lemurs in the Tropical Cove. Kids will love the butterfly garden, too. ODDtober is a celebration of strange creatures around the world and in Tennessee all October-long. Fun fall touches are in the exhibits, including flickering pumpkins with an eerie glow that flash along with the pulses of an electric eel. Additionally, AquaScarium Oct. 28, 2022 includes lights, decorations, costumed divers, candy and more.
Meet farm animals and learn about Appalachian pioneer life at the living history museum, Museum of Appalachia, about 66 miles from the Smokies. Over 250,000 artifacts are housed in three buildings displaying folk art, musical instruments, Native American artifacts, baskets and quilts. The 65 acres outside has 35 log cabins, barns, schools, gardens and churches. There’s also a restaurant and gift shop on site.