Lucky Ladd Farms
Located south of Nashville, halfway between Franklin and Murfreesboro, amid the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee, Lucky Ladd Farms offers kids a chance to get in touch with their inner farmer. Lucky Ladd enjoys bragging rights as the largest petting zoo in the state, with more than 100 friendly farm animals on 60 acres. And, while brushing goats, feeding chickens and petting llamas can be a blast, Lucky Ladd offers about 70 different activities that range from wagon rides and acres of playgrounds to nature trails, pony rides and a 3-acre corn maze. Don’t miss the goofy goats as they scale the Goat-A-Coaster over the barn’s roof. Before leaving, duck into the country store that’s brimming with local treats.
4374 Rocky Glade Road, Eagleville, Tenn. 615-274-3786, luckyladdfarms.com, @FARMERLADD.
American Museum of Science and Energy
Born out of necessity and sustained in secrecy during the days when it was built to create materials for the Manhattan Project, the town of Oak Ridge now is home to the American Museum of Science and Energy. Loaded with kid-friendly, interactive exhibits that will, literally, stand their hairs on end, the museum also offers a good dose of history for adults — some quite sobering. For instance, there’s a replica of Little Boy, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, which was made with uranium-235 from Oak Ridge. History at the museum is told through short films, demonstrations and plenty of photos and exhibits, which you can browse at your leisure. And don’t forget to hit the AMSE Discovery store, where you can pick up a science kit or a Tesla glow-in-the-dark T-shirt.
300 S. Tulane, Oak Ridge, Tenn. 865-576-3200, amse.org, @A_M_S_E.
Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park
Sitting in the Eastern Woodlands, this complex of prehistoric mounds built by Native Americans is thought to have been used as burial grounds and ceremonial altars as well as temporary dwellings. There’s a museum at the park, but you might miss it at first glance because it was designed to mimic the mounds. An archaeological treasure of Native American culture, the park celebrates the mounds with Archeofest, a three-day event that attracts thousands to Pinson Mounds. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the complex comprises the largest group of Middle Woodland mounds in the U.S.
460 Ozier Road, Pinson, Tenn. 731-988-5614, tnstateparks.com, @PinsonMounds.
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