If you've got kids who are obsessed with dinosaurs, there's a place in Nashville to take them to that you may not even know about.
Earth Experience is located in Murfreesboro in a super nondescript industrial complex on Old Salem Road. My wife found out about it, and during a couple of vacation days last week, we decided...why not? It's affordable ($9 per adult and $7 per kid), and it's air-conditioned, and we happen to have an almost 6 year old who LOVES fossils.
We set the expectation pretty low. It's not a big tourist attraction, and as I mentioned the location doesn't scream "oh wow"...it sort of looks just like a warehouse from the outside. But inside? SUPER cool.
It's actually been open since 2014, founded by a paleontologist and MTSU professor, Dr. Alan Brown, along with his co-founder, the late Lewis Elrod. Every year, Dr. Brown goes on a fossil dig to Montana, and comes back with a treasure trove to add to the museum. It's not the biggest space by any stretch of the imagination, but it's larger than it looks and you can easily spend a couple of hours scouring their many fossils, dinsoaur remains, historical artifcats, and gems and minerals. Plus, you'll meet Frank, the lifesize T-rex skeleton that highlights the trip.
There's lots of stuff to touch (including dino poop, which my kid thoroughly enjoyed), a cool AR app you can use to see 3d models of the animals on display, and a gift shop full of all kinds of fun stuff to take home.
The founders say they have a whole lot more artifacts to display, and are looking for a larger space to commandeer. But for now, it's a great little family day trip! I took our family of three for $25 and it was a great escape for a couple of hours that got us out of the heat and learning something new. Check out Earth Experience and let me know what you think if you get a chance to spend a day there!