Most of us have had our fill of rain lately. I think that's called an understatement.
As long as the temps stayed warm-ish I was fine to send the kids out to play in our muddy backyard in boots and rain gear, but when it turned wet AND chilly, well, then we needed a few other playtime options than a round of pneumonia.
I've learned over the years to keep a list of go-to spots on hand for where to head when Cabin Fever creeps in. These are simple, relatively inexpensive spots and, important to me, let my kids get the wiggles out, learn something usually, and be around the happy energy of other parents and kids. Check out my 8 ideas below, and and feel free to add your own favs in the comments!
It's almost a local parenting rite of passage to get that first Discovery Center membership—you're now a parent who officially has family fun covered, rain or shine. Kids and adults alike can enjoy standard exhibits like the train tables and steam engine upstairs next to the auto mechanic activities, or get all splashy at the water tables. Take in rotating exhibits like the current MathRox, which gives kids and adults alike life-sized math symbols and puzzles to solve while working together.
$8 general admission. Open 10am-5pm Monday-Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday. 502 SE Broad St., 615-890-2300.
From climbing walls for all ages, to art exhibits, to hands-on learning (like the new “Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice” exhibit), SOAC offers littles and teens a place to play, learn, and create.
Adults $4 general admission and $7 with climbing; Children 2-12 and seniors $3 general admission and $5 with climbing. Open 10am-6pm Monday-Saturday, 12-6pm Sunday. 100 Sam Ridley Pkwy E. Smyrna. 615-459-9710.
While reading museum plaques may not be your toddler's idea of a good time, looking at art, climbing stairs, and playing at a Lego table in a historic school room just might! There's plenty for littles to enjoy looking at inside the museum, while older kids can get in on scavenger hunts to learn more. Friendly staff and tour guides are ready to visit and tell stories about the city's first African-American school.
Adults $5, seniors and students $3, youth 12 and under $1. Open 10am-4pm Tuesday-Saturday. 415 South Academy St. 615-962-8773.
When littles are bouncing off the walls, it's kind of awesome to take them to a place where that's all they can do. The JumpStreet Earthquake Area was a life-saver my first rainy days with toddlers where for the price of an unlimited pass they could bounce and climb through mazes and slides to their heart's content. Older kids can get a workout perfecting flips in the general trampoline areas.
4 years and younger $7.99 all day; 5 years and older $14.99 per hour. Open Sunday-Thursday 10am-9pm, Friday-Saturday 10am-10pm. 1952 Old Fort Pkwy #6. 615-900-3060. gotjump.com
Far from being only a book lending service, public libraries offer games spaces, computers with kid-friendly learning games and features, puzzles, toys, and social opportunities. Our local libraries are equipped to accommodate wiggly kids in their children's areas, so you can set your mind at ease about shushing. Check out Smyrna Library, LaVergne Library, Linebaugh Library, and the Technology Engagement Center for all-ages events and fun Sunday-Saturday.
Beat rainy day blues with an indoor water park (open mornings), a round of racquetball, a game of basketball, or cards, airhockey, pools and other lounge games in the game room for the unbeatable price of $4 per person. That doesn't even include the MGL Library located inside, which has no admission fee, and houses an attractive collection of youth, teen and adult reading favorites along with cozy reading nooks and computer games.
$4 general admission; $3 youth, military and seniors. Open 6am-9pm Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday. 521 Mercury Blvd. 615-893-7439.
The Wilderness Station at Barfield Park is definitely a delicious, not only as a rainy-day refuge, but also for its pretty views of the nearby forrest and trails. My kids and I enjoy visiting the critters inside (Wilbur the Possum is a favorite, as are the turtles and snakes), talking with park staff, taking in the neat toys and art pieces—all before ducking out to watch the rain from the beautifully landscaped wrap around porch. If temps are good, we enjoy a snack or lunch at the covered picnic tables outside.
Free. Open 12pm-5pm Sunday, 9am-noon Monday, 9am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday. 697 Veterans Parkway. 615-217-3017.
It might sound a little fancy to suggest a family spa day when it rains, but when the sun hasn't shone for a week and everyone could use a trip to the beach, $10 a person for a spot just down the road seems like a great idea! Breathe Easy Salt Rooms provides a fully-furnished beach room (complete with buckets, shovels, trucks and Star Wars characters) for children and families to enjoy while soaking in the benefits of Himalayn salt pebbles and light therapy. Reserve your time online and settle in for 50 minutes of detoxing benefits while enjoying clean, beachy, creative fun with the kids.
Starts at $20 for one parent and child in the beach room; full rate dependent on the number of family members. Open 10am-7pm Monday-Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday. 3138 S. Church St. Suite F. 615-410-3918
How'd I do and what did I miss? Share your favorite local rainy-day spots below!
Laura Beth Payne is a writer mama living in the Blackman Community of Murfreesboro with her husband Nathan and their two children. Follow @murfreesboromama on Facebook and Instagram for more family fun in and around the city.