Belle Meade PlantationThe Grand Ol’ Opry – the weekly show that made Country famous – saw its humble beginnings in this venerable and vibrant Southern hometown of popular tourist attractions and entertainment venues Ryman Auditorium, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Country Music Hall of Fame and Belcourt Theater. Classic television favorites Hee Haw, Nashville Network and Pop! Goes the Country all had their origins here in the “Buckle of the Bible Belt;” presently, RFD TV, Country Music Television and Great American Country operate from Country Music, USA locations. This bustling industry center, rich with incredible architectural interest, a thriving and diverse university culture and fascinating Civil War history attracts visitors of all ages and walks to its location on 688-mile long “Wasioto”- the Cumberland River- in the north-central part of the state. In addition to myriad natural, cultural and historic charms, endless easy-to-elegant dining options, intriguing live entertainment venues and a dynamic nightlife await itinerants on Nashville holiday. Moderate Winters and characteristically hot Southeastern Summers present ample year-round opportunities to enjoy a wide array of exhilarating
outdoor activities in addition to the multi-genre local music scene; major events like the Nashville Film Festival in April, the CMA Music Festival in June, the nine-day-long Tennessee State Fair in September and the Celebrate Nashville Cultural Festival consistently draw the crowds. Wonderful galleries and historic exhibits provide a few hours’ respite from hectic agendas; follow character guides on narrated tours through grand old plantations and fine antebellum homes and relive in your mind’s eye the historic roles of important Civil War Era monuments and landmarks. Whatever your pleasure, a personalized adventure awaits your Tennessee travel group upon arrival in this grand, gracious and colorful crossroads of American culture.

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Sample Itineraries

3-Day Nashville Highlight Tour

Visit the many attractions of Nashville! Your group can customize their private tour.

    •  Grand Ole Opry
    •  Explore Downtown
    •  Water Park


U.S. Space and Rocket Center

Huntsville US Space and Rocket Center

Credit The Huntsville-Madison County CVB

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is located in Huntsville, Alabama. The location is the official visitor center for the NASA Flight Space Center. It contains one of the largest rocket collections in the world. Student groups can view the exhibits on display and learn about the dramatic space race. Featured exhibits include the Saturn V Hall, Rocket Park, Shuttle Park, Brick Locator, and the IMAX Spacedome Theater. Rocket Park contains 27 rockets and missiles. These rockets show how army rocketry launched America’s space program. Shuttle Park features several launch vehicles. This includes the world’s only fully-stacked Space Transportation System. Saturn V Hall has an authentic Saturn V Rocket. The rocket is one of three in the world. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center offers Children’s Workshops for student groups to enjoy. Workshops include the Science of Imagination Workshops and Saturday Scientist Workshops. The Saturday Scientist Workshops feature hands-on activities. Topics include: solar energy, precipitation, geology of space, and chemistry. The center also contains Ropes Courses. The courses promote teamwork and leadership skills. There are two courses to consider. They are the Low Ropes course and the High Ropes Course. During the Low Ropes Course, the group will do the following: brainstorm, delegate tasks, and plan for the mission. During the mission, the group will incorporate cohesive communication and trust in order to be successful. During the High Ropes program, group members will choose individual levels of difficulty. The equipment for this specific program includes the following items: a Pamper Pole Scale, a Climbing Wall, and a Zip Line. The Climbing Wall is 50 feet tall. Two people will climb this massive wall with the goal of climbing as high as possible. Bring your student group and visit this incredible space center!

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Tennessee State Capitol Tour

Groups on Nashville excursion must be sure find time to visit the majestically beautiful Tennessee State Capitol. The stately limestone Greek Revival style building rises dramatically from its foundation on a well-landscaped hill in downtown Nashville and appears today much as it did when it first opened in 1859 after 14 challenging years of construction, a commanding tribute to the people of Tennessee and the crowning achievement of noted architect William Strickland, who died unexpectedly during the project and was buried in the north façade. Inside the impressively appointed building guests will find, amongst the cast iron railings and spiral staircases, marble columns and elaborate light fixtures a range of fascinating artwork and artifact “of the day;” a fine example of 19th century renderings as well as a testament to our growth as a Nation. Magnificent statuary honoring Sam Davis, Sgt. Alvin York, and Presidents Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson as well as the tombs of President and Mrs. James K. Polk are sited on the Capitol grounds; guided tours are available Monday through Friday on the hour. Don’t forget to ask your chaperone about the bullet hole in the stone rail of the main stairs!

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Nashville Ghost Tours

Groups on Tennessee getaway in search of an extra-sensory evening activity will want to check out Nashville Ghost Tours! A variety of intriguing options get you and your travel partners after-dark face time with the mysterious and macabre side of Music City. Be regaled with intoxicatingly intriguing tales of Nashville’s past as you visit “spirited” taverns; enter at your own risk and feel free to enjoy a beverage while you “meet” your guides and clink a toast –to ghosts! Hop into a converted hearse and embark on a 60-minute tour of some of Nashville’s most infamous “haunted” sites, or opt to scare that big dinner off with a narrated lantern-lit 90 minute trek through the city’s most notoriously “occupied” landmarks. Be regaled with terrifying tales surrounding Ryman Auditorium, Printer’s Alley and the Tennessee State Capitol, visit Nashville’s oldest-and scariest- cemetery, meet the ghosts of Union Station and learn the sordid details of a “Murder on Music Row.” Experience firsthand the nervous rush of anticipation and spine-tingling chills of stepping into documented haunts; decide for yourself if it’s more than “just your imagination.” Don’t forget your camera – you’ll want to capture sightings – and remember to wear comfortable shoes, in case beating a hasty retreat is your only “recourse”!

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Tennessee State Museum

Visitors on Music City getaway will definitely want to make a stop at the Tennessee State Museum, featuring three floors and over 120,000 square feet of permanent as well as fresh, ever-changing Tennessee-related exhibits, including one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of Civil War uniforms, weapons and battle flags. The Military Museum, a branch of the Tennessee State Museum, located in the War Memorial Building across the street, showcases exhibits dealing with America’s overseas conflicts, beginning with the Spanish-American War in 1898 and ending with World War II in 1945. Originally created to house World War I artifacts and other collections from the State, the State Museum’s fascinating arrangements treat visitors today to a rich cross section of Tennessee history, from a fascinating look at Prehistoric native cultures and a trek through the wild frontier first discovered by Spanish conquistadors to studies of the gloriously prosperous Antebellum period, the terrible upheaval and division of the Civil War and an introduction to the Post-Civil War South. The Museum Store tenders guests a fabulous array of beautiful jewelry, masterful wood carvings, hand crafted soaps, wonderful pottery and fine photography by noted Tennessee artisans.

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The General Jackson Showboat

Groups plotting a restful Nashville holiday won’t want to bypass this traditional riverboat cruise opportunity. The magnificent 300 foot General Jackson – the largest showboat in the world – ferries guests past natural and manmade landmarks and points of interest on Nashville’s beautiful Cumberland River; stunning views from  four massive decks treat guests to incredible views of the Tennessee countryside. A variety of options allow you to design your perfect riverboat experience  – leisurely lunchtime and holiday cruises and peaceful evening excursions including mouthwatering Southern- Style luncheon buffets, elegant prime rib dinners, Victorian Theatre and classic showboat musical performances and comedy routines in the grand ole Nashville tradition ensure your group will come away with wonderful lifetime memories!

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Opry Mills

Groups on Music City getaway won’t want to miss a stop at this beautiful AND conveniently located indoor “mega mall” – Tennessee’s largest – featuring fabulous outlet and value retail shopping and excellent casual, quick-bite to full-service dining options. Over 200 popular storefronts , cafes, restaurants and specialty shops hawking everything under the sun await super-shoppers in need of an exciting vacation-time spree! Enhance that tired travel wardrobe, do a little window shopping and browsing, pick up perfect gifts for friends and family back home or follow your nose to some fantastic foodstuffs! When you’ve shopped til you can shop no more and possibly even saved more than you ever imagined in spite of it, and that yummy dinner needs to make room for dessert, Regal Cinemas/IMAX theater serves up BIG-screen entertainment almost certain to leave you craving something sweetly satisfying post-popcorn: how about a stop by Marble Slab Creamery, where freshly baked waffle cone perfumes the air around you as you make that all-important decision: one scoop, or two?

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Nashville Shores

Groups visiting Music City in the warmer months will certainly welcome a chance to take a little break from sightseeing to beat that sticky Southern summertime heat, and Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort has just the ticket! A wonderful world of wet and whacky watery entertainment awaits guests at the resort’s fabulous family waterpark, situated on the scenic shores of 14,200 acre J. Percy Priest Lake. Ride the wicked waves of Breaker Bay, kick back and stay cool on Castaway Creek Lazy River, go all kamikaze at Kowabunga Beach, and cool off quick under the Giant Bucket of Fun! No fewer than eight water slides stand ready to take your breath away, turn your tummy inside out and tickle your “funny”-bone eight ways to Wednesday with zig-zags, body slides, tube rides, free falls and vertical drops certain to satisfy guests of all sizes, from timid types to waterslide warriors. Go for a swim in crystal clear Suntan Lagoon, the facility’s largest pool with a breathtaking view of the Lake, or hop the crazy Banana Boat and zip across the water; jet ski, canoe, kayak, pontoon, paddle boat, and board rentals are also available by the hour or day – something for everyone! The park hosts a variety of special events throughout the season – Drive In Movies, Homeschool Week, Fish Family Fun Day, Hometown Heroes, Military Days, Duck Splash and more – be sure to check with your Exploring America team when planning your great Nashville getaway to see what’s happening when you’re in town!

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Belle Meade Plantation

While on Nashville holiday, your group will not want to bypass an opportunity to visit and wander the lavish grounds of this magnificent Greek Revival plantation mansion, formerly home to one of the largest slave populations in Nashville history. The forty-five minute character-guided and narrated tour of the exquisite 1853 home and other plantation attractions including a dairy, mausoleum, stable, massive carriage house, garden and log cabin is an absolutely immersive experience not to be missed on your Tennessee sojourn. Hear the fascinating account of the renowned plantation’s rich past through the eyes of the aristocratic Harding and Jackson Family and the skilled laborers who invested heart and soul in the collective vision of making Belle Meade America’s Premier Thoroughbred Horse Farm. Once you’ve experienced the mansion and grounds in all their resplendent glory, enjoy a tour of the historic winery with an optional complimentary tasting. Afterward, a sumptuous brunch or lunch at The Harding House will charm your hearts with “Southern Plantation-Style” hospitality while tempting your taste buds with tantalizing menu offerings of regional favorites like Overnight Caramel rolls, Plantation Pancakes with warm maple syrup, Fried Green Tomatoes, Candied Pecan Spinach or Carriage House Cobb salads and South Carolina Low Country Shrimp and Grits all served with a unique Belle Meade flair. How about a warm slab of whipped-cream-topped Pecan Fudge Pie for dessert?

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Nashville Zoo

Zoo Keeper with Macaw and Tour Group

Credit Amiee Stubbs – Nashville Zoo

Sunny Music City isn’t just the birthplace of country music; it’s also the home of a fabulously progressive, conservation-oriented 188-acre zoological park -  a place “where animals, nature and fun converge” – and the stately Grassmere historic home, open for daily guided tours. The  Nashville Zoo swung wide its gates in 1991 and has since become the area’s #1 attraction, hosting nearly 750,000 visitors annually; its demographic is comprised of more than 6,000 fascinating residents – some 339 species – all thriving in healthy, happy and daily-enriched environments; special exhibits encourage guests’ participation in  a diversity of entertaining and educational interactive experiences. Highlights include the recently debuted “Kangaroo Kickabout” where adventurous “mates” step out on a zippy walkabout through red ‘roo stomping grounds, Critter Encounter – which tenders an opportunity to snuggle, feed and be photographed with super-affable residents, and “Lorikeet Landing”, where patrons treat resident winged rainbows to cups of nourishing nectar. The Zoo participates in myriad Species Survival Plan programs, and proudly persists at the forefront of Clouded Leopard Conservation efforts; with a little luck, you’ll have a chance to observe these stunning rare creatures, enjoy their unique lingo and meet the newest “Cloudy” babies! Need refueling? Snack huts and kiosks are conveniently located to ensure a well-fueled expedition; post-lunch, a train ride through uncharted territories, a turn on the wild animal carousel or a swing through the canopy on Soaring Eagle – the Zoo’s thrilling two-way zipline experience – lets you recharge while you rest those barkin’ dogs!

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Hermitage House InteriorGroups on Nashville holiday will enjoy exploring this renowned Tennessee plantation, once the home of Andrew and Rachel Jackson. Some years after moving with his wife into the “Indian-fortified” two story log farmhouse he purchased from Nathanial Hays in 1804, (which he promptly remodeled to his considerably extravagant tastes and dubbed “Hermitage,”) Jackson enlisted a troop of skilled contractors, carpenters and masons to construct a new, federal-style, two-story brick mansion, as well as brick slave dwellings and a dazzling formal garden for his wife Rachel to enjoy. Today, Andrew Jackson – “Old Hickory” – is not only remembered as a hot tempered Scots-Irish rabble rouser and daring duelist, backwoods attorney, successful merchant, formidable General, the first Governor of Florida, American hero and the only US President to have ever paid off National Debt before departing office, but as a very wealthy and successful plantation owner who had more than 160 slaves working on the farm at the time of his passing. Guests of the meticulously restored and maintained Hermitage Plantation, once Jackson’s refuge from the public eye, are afforded a glimpse of the seventh president’s time on the “farm” (as he called it) where he pursued a most comfortable, self-sufficient existence as well as his life’s passion of raising racehorses. Wonderfully informative and fascinating tours let you study the mansion, wander the beautiful acreage and spectacular gardens, view the enslaved memorials and thousands of slavery-related artifacts and visit what remains of the original historic log home as well as the stately tomb where he and his wife Rachel are buried. Wagon rides and seasonal evening tours are also available.

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Adventureworks Zip Line Tours

Nashville’s most popular ziplining outfitter expects guests to show up ready to rock and roll, and wild things on Music City excursion down for anything awesome will happily kick off those dusty cowboy boots, lose the shopping bags, lace up those Asics and grab a safety helmet. Perfect for adding a splash of excitement to any travel itinerary, Adventureworks offers a variety of exhilarating zip tours and aerial treks tendering groups of all ages in search of the ultimate outdoor/fitness activity an exceptional teambuilding experience as they soar through the lush green Tennessee canopy or “rise” to the challenge of action-packed Aerial Trek obstacle courses. Eco Canopy Zips average 90 minutes in duration and feature nine lines up to 85 feet high and 800 feet long; special Full Moon and Firefly (viewing) tours let your group zip the light fantastic. Planning to travel once temps cool down a bit? Several nights in October an exclusive Haunted Forest Zip whisks more intrepid souls on Nashville getaway quietly through the deep, dark autumnal woods on the land where Middle Tennessee manufacturing magnate Montgomery Bell lived and died for a glimpse of the area’s most notorious ghost. As you slice through the chilly night air, you’re regaled with tales of his life and times; you’ll want to keep a sharp eye out for his restless specter, frequently spotted searching for lost buried treasure. Special add-ons like Quantum Leap and Giant Swing are the sprinkles and cherry atop an absolutely energizing, multi-tiered treetop adventure!

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Ryman Auditorium

Ryman AuditoriumThis beloved Music City landmark attraction and live venue with the “best sound in town” was built by riverboat captain and Nashville businessman Thomas Ryman to celebrate his new-found salvation, and debuted in 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle; it was renamed after his death in his honor. The Ryman Auditorium was the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 until 1974, when a larger venue was built at the Opryland USA theme park; a five-foot diameter circle was removed from the old stage floor and inlaid into the center of the new one in an effort to maintain continuity with the Opry’s colorful, storied past. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2001 and christened Theatre of the Year four times in one decade, the Ryman has appeared in memorable movie scenes over the years and hosted scores of events from community gatherings, political rallies, ballets and operas to popular televised music shows and dazzling theatrical productions; legends like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, distinguished guests like Helen Keller and President Teddy Roosevelt and world-class performers from the Zac Brown Band to ZZ Top have taken the stage at this grand old auditorium, the “Mother Church of Country Music” and “the Birthplace of Bluegrass.”

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Country Music Hall of Fame

No quintessential Music City tour would be complete without a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame! This premier Tennessee institution and ever-popular attraction, where Country Music’s cream of the crop are honored in grandest Nashville fashion, recently revealed an ambitious 210,000 square foot expansion nearly doubling the iconic Museum’s size, including 10,000 square feet of additional exhibit space and a beautiful new Event Hall affording guests breathtaking views of Nashville’s stunning skyline. The Museum’s permanent exhibition has been updated as well, to include over a 100 new artifacts from some of today’s hottest Country talents. Browse hundreds of incredible stage costumes and fine musical instruments, explore extensive archives of captivating oral interviews, photographs and moving images, and enjoy a comprehensive multi-media history of Country Music and its brightest stars, beginning with the touching “Sing Me Back Home” exhibit. The Hall of Fame Store tenders guests a wonderful array of exhibition-related merchandise featuring Nashville-made gifts and food items, clothing, jewelry and accessories , ensuring no one goes home without that perfect memento!

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Grand Ole Opry

Grande Ole Opry SignGroups exploring the best of Music City won’t want to miss a visit to the most popular attraction in all of Tennessee, “The Home of Country Music” and “Country’s Most Famous Stage;” hundreds of thousands of fans annually make the trip to see the show live. “The Grand Ole Opry celebrates the diversity of all the musical styles under the country music umbrella. In addition, the Opry presents the many generations of artists who have formed country music’s rich legacy and continues to forge its future course,” says Opry General Manager, Pete Fisher. The show that made Country Music famous regularly features a fabulously dynamic line-up of superstars, rising stars and legends and showcases no less than eight artists per show, treating enthusiastic audiences to a vibrant sampling of each performer’s signature style; a variety of backstage tours get you a fabulously exclusive look at what makes the show tick. Years ago the Opry outgrew its home at the Ryman and moved to a brand new multi-million dollar venue a few miles outside Nashville; at the heart of its stage lies a six- foot inlaid circle of well-worn oak cut from the very center of the Ryman’s old stage – a hallowed portion of magic and memories lovingly carried into the Opry’s future, where new generations of Country Musicians, honored to be standing on the very spot that Johnny Cash, Hank Williams or Patsy Cline may have stood on so many years before, take the stage in that solid circle of welcome and give fans their all.

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