Long, scorching Nashville summers with kids mean you need head-to-toe H20 (and probably a margarita or three…). Sure, you can throw a sprinkler out in the front yard and tell your crew to pretend like it’s Water World, but that only gets you so far. So grab the swim diapers, pack a sack lunch and head out to our favorite five places to cool down with kids on Nashville’s most sweltering summer days.
Maryland Farms YMCA
Y’all, this isn’t just a community pool—it’s basically a full-blown water park for your littles. If you have the Y membership that allows you to visit any Y, stop what you’re doing and immediately pack up the kids and go here (and if you aren’t a member, stop what you’re doing and immediately sign up for their affordable membership program).We were blown away when we first stumbled upon this gem—waterslides, splash pads, fountains, playgrounds, zero-entry beach-style pools perfect for toddlers, tons of pool chairs, picnic benches and so much more—and it’s much less expensive than joining country club pools that don’t have nearly as much to do.
BONUS: If a friend refers you, give the Y your friend’s name and both you and your friend receive a discount!
Green Hills YMCA
If you’re in the market for a pool with no frills, you can’t go wrong with the Green Hills Y. Clean, safe and conveniently located, you can have access to a huge pool where you’ll undoubtedly run into friends with kids the same age as yours. There is a small baby pool for the younger crowd, but unfortunately if they’re understaffed they don’t always have it open to the public. Get your fitness fix by dropping your kids at the Y-Play beforehand while you sneak in a quick workout.
BONUS: Swimming and exercising will surely have everyone starving in no time; simply walk next door to Whole Foods for a healthy lunch and a juice out on the patio post-pool.
Bicentennial Mall Fountains
Besides having a stunning view of the State Capitol Building, visiting Bicentennial Mall lets your kiddos (and you, too!) frolic in an array of fountains for endless fun and entertainment. There’s also a HUGE open green space for your kids to run around in, play sports or even have a picnic.
BONUS: If you want to make a day out of it, hit up the Nashville Farmer’s Market, a baseball game at First Tennessee Park or explore the restaurants and shops around the historic Germantown neighborhood, all of which are located nearby.
You can find multiple fun spraygrounds—which are water-spewing play areas designed especially for younger children—around the city for hours of fun that don’t involve an actual swimming pool. Free and open to the public, Watkins sprayground has fenced playgrounds with lots of water-spraying features and is open seven days a week 99am – 5:30pm on weekdays and 10am – 3pm on weekends).
BONUS: Since this is a smaller park, it doesn’t get as busy as the others, which could be a definite plus if you’re looking for something simple and low key.
Cumberland Park Sprayground
Cumberland Park Sprayground is even more elaborate and interactive than the others and by far one of the absolute best free children’s activities in Nashville. Featuring innovative spaces for children and families using unique play structures, the activities are spread out over a sprawling 6.5 acre area and open seven days a week (9am – 7pm Monday-Saturday, and noon-6pm on Sunday).
BONUS: In addition to water play, the park includes an outdoor amphitheater, a climbing wall embedded with fossils, butterfly trails, and several play areas for kids that include fun features like sand play, a bouncing pad, a maze and a tandem see-saw for parents and kids.