When my oldest was in fourth grade, he had to pick one state to do a presentation/project for the school’s “State Fair.” He chose Tennessee — a place where we often travel to visit family (hi guys!). As part of the project, he had to depict three important industries, people or landmarks on a state map. He built a large mountain range in the eastern part around Chattanooga for the Smoky Mountains. Near Memphis, he included a miniature guitar to represent Elvis Presley. And smack dab in the middle of the state, he created a replica of this for Nashville:
That’s right. The Parthenon.
Wait, so you don’t immediately think of this classical architectural wonder when you think Nashville? What do you think of… country music? 🙂
But it’s here, tucked away in Centennial Park across from Vanderbilt University. You can’t see it immediately as you enter the park.
Instead, you follow this lovely drive around and over and then suddenly out of nowhere…. a full-scale restoration of the Parthenon.
You can actually climb up and around it, scampering up the big steps and walking inside the long row of columns.
At night, the Parthenon is lit up, and sometimes they open the big doors on the north side where you can get a peek at the enormous statue of Athena inside. During the day, you can tour the inside of it to get an idea of the scale and size of this building. It’s amazing.
Earlier this summer we drove down to Nashville for a quick visit with family. On a day with weather so perfect you can’t believe it’s real, we just had to see it again. I love it. This replica of the Parthenon seems so unexpected and unusual, but it all makes perfect sense. Nashville is the Athens of the South, after all, and not just Music City.
(As a side note: my husband and I love the swings scattered throughout the park. You treadle the footboard to make it glide back and forth. We love them so much that we’d like to build one for our yard. Simply awesome.)
In Centennial Park itself, they have all sorts of art and craft fairs and other free events including Shakespeare in the Park (a little of the bard, done with a twist). We saw “Hamlet” there a few years ago and thought it was wonderful. Each night of the play’s run, people routinely pack the open theater… and this is in August, when the swamp-like humidity meets the heat of a thousand suns.
Okay… so I’m a little heat intolerant. It’s still hot.
Where are you and your family headed on vacation this summer? Going back to an old favorite or venturing out to see somewhere new?