Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How Homeschoolers Go on Vacation: Six Hours in Nashville

There are many things that I, personally, want to do in Nashville--watch a show at the Grand Ole Opry, eat hot chicken, check out the Johnny Cash Museum--but I didn't do any of them on this afternoon and evening that was all of the time we had in Nashville on this trip. Nashville will still be there another time, so this time we did just the things that I thought that the kids would love--a hands-on museum, dinner in a novelty theme restaurant, and an hour or so tromping around a fake Greek ruin.

First, 2.5 hours in the Adventure Science Center, an ASTC Passport Program participant that scores us free admission, thanks to our membership in our local hands-on science museum:

You know what connoisseurs we are of hands-on museums! This one was pretty special--it had the same nano exhibit that we've seen in several museums, BUT it also had an interior climbing area several stories tall, that ended in an aerial view of downtown Nashville. It had a VERY quirky exhibit on poisonous and invasive plants, based on this book--

--a space exhibit that not only encouraged Will to shoot tennis balls directly at my face--


but also let the kids experience what it's like to try to walk on the moon--

--a human body exhibit with a body systems display scaled to the average ten-year-old (how convenient!)--

--AND what is possibly the best thing ever:

a fart slide. Matt didn't know that it was a fart slide until he landed, which is pretty great.

I've seen these interactive projection games before, but they've always been projected onto the ground. This one was on a wall, and it mesmerized both children:

Oh, and they had eclipse glasses for sale! Buying eclipse glasses has been on my to-do list for MONTHS!!!, but I hesitated to buy them online because I wanted to inspect them first and make sure they wouldn't cause us to go blind when looking through them. I was stoked, then, to see a bunch of new ones in this gift shop, and I looked at them all and bought my favorite five. Now we have a spare, and perhaps a handy source of cash on the day of the solar eclipse.

I had planned to skip the Grande Ole Opry altogether, since we weren't going to tour it, but it turns out that the Aquarium Restaurant is in the mall across the street from it, so we popped by for just a sec:

I hadn't thought about this in years, nor am I a listener of country music currently, but as we walked across the parking lot towards the theater, suddenly stories began to pour out of me, stories of such little consequence that even Matt hasn't heard them, just stories of how I spent much of my childhood with Mamma and Pappa--lying on the floor in front of the couch and watching TV. We watched The Grand Ole Opry Live, and Hee Haw, and Wheel of Fortune, and a whole slew of black-and-white westerns that I barely looked up from my Barbies to notice, but I can still sing along to all the songs of the golden age of country, and I wanted to go to Opryland USA SO badly, and I could draw Minnie Pearl from memory, if I could actually draw, which I can't.

After that five minutes that's given me the gift of those memories, we went to the awesomest restaurant on the planet: Aquarium Restaurant. Its shtick is a little obvious, but effective:

I can't even tell you what we ate, except that it was expensive, but I was pretty much vibrating with happiness at eating whatever it was right by this giant aquarium with sharks and rays and puffer fish and such. I almost knocked over my glass of VERY expensive cocktail three separate times.

We wandered the entirety of the aquarium after dinner, then headed to what is probably the weirdest thing that Nashville has to offer:

Yes, that IS a life-size, full-scale, utterly accurate recreation of the Parthenon.

After our months-long mythology study, how could we NOT go there?!?

I think they have an art museum in there, but since it was nighttime, we had the place mostly to ourselves.

Atlanta was our tour stop for the next day, so when we could finally drag ourselves away from the Parthenon, we drove south for another hour, then stopped at a cheap motel, where Syd and I played Battleship and then I showed the kids a bunch of Youtube videos from The Grand Ole Opry. They were surprisingly into it--although much of it may have been their humor at the some of the appallingly racist songs of those decades of country music, sigh--and Will even became indignant that I hadn't been nice enough to book us a tour of the Grand Ole Opry.

I see a History of Country Music unit study in our future, with a culminating project that involves a return to Nashville!

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