7 Hidden Gems in Nashville

Travel is more than just the destination. It’s about the journey! It’s finding and appreciating those tucked-away places others may miss. My next few blogs are going to spotlight some lesser known attractions. I’ll share some of the best kept secrets in great destinations for students, families, homeschoolers and more. Let’s start the hunt for hidden gems in Nashville, Tennessee!

7 Hidden Gems in Nashville

Cooter’s Place

Dukes of Hazzard fans, rejoice! Cooter’s Place is owned and operated by Cooter (Ben Jones) himself. You’ll find tons of show memorabilia and props (including a General Lee!) in this good ole boy’s tribute to Hazzard County. Yeeee-haw!

RCA Studio B Tour

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Hanging in RCA Studio B are the Christmas lights Elvis requested the summer he recorded his Christmas album. He wasn’t feeling the holiday spirit and needed  lights for inspiration.  Nearly 60 years later, the lights are still there!  I guess his Christmas wasn’t “blue” after all!

The Parthenon

As the centerpiece of Centennial Park, The Parthenon isn’t exactly hidden. It is surprising, though, to find an exquisite replica of famous Greek architecture right in the heart of the city!

Men’s Restroom at the Hermitage Hotel

Yes, you read that right. This restroom has been voted the most famous in America! There is rumored to be a secret tunnel hidden behind the wall that runs to the state capital. Allegedly, legislators can sneak a break between sessions. Talk about a hidden gem!

Hatch Show Print

Be sure to stop at Hatch Show Print. The custom poster designs and letterpress that came out of this historic shop captured the magic of the south, and country music in particular.

Batman Building

The AT&T building makes a unique impression on the Nashville skyline. It’s one of the 12 most original buildings in the U.S. and tallest in Tennessee.  Fire up the bat signal and snap a selfie!

Ryman Auditorium

Ok, this one isn’t really hidden, either. In fact, it’s one of Americas’ most cherished landmarks. The Ryman is known as the Mother Church of Country Music and boasts a 125-year history of inspiration and music. Countless legends have started here. You never know who you may run into in these iconic halls!

Nashville is a treasure trove of hidden gems for groups and families alike. Plan a trip and start exploring!


Teach & Travel has Fresh Ideas for Student Travel

Youre back. The class trip is over. You can breathe a sigh of relief since all went well and everyone had a fabulous time. You dont have to think about fundraisers and permission slips again until the fall except that youve already started thinking about it! You always plan your student travel to the same destination- parents expect it, administration expects it and students expect it. Heck, you inherited the trip from the teacher in your position before you! Wouldnt it be great to shake things up a bit? There are so many incredible, student-friendly destinations. Maybe its time to test the waters and try something different. Teach & Travel magazine is the perfect springboard when youre ready to dive in!

Top Student Destinations

While youre relaxing poolside this summer (ha- like teachers ever get to do THAT), take a minute to check out the most recent issue of Teach & Travel. Teach & Travel is the official publication of the Student Youth Travel Association (SYTA) and packed with valuable information for anyone planning student travel. The May 2018 issue highlights the top ten U.S., North American and international destinations for students. If youre ready to change things up, this is an excellent resource with which to begin.

Planning Tips and Ideas

Teach & Travel is a quintessential powerhouse of student travel ideas, statistics and solutions for your most challenging travel dilemmas. It provides great new intel on the places you think you already know and offers excellent alternatives when you want to try something new. Published five times a year, Teach & Travel always provides you with the most current travel industry updates, fresh ideas and important planning tips.

Student Youth Travel Association

As the primary publication of SYTA, Teach & Travel reaches 40,000 educators and SYTA member tour operators annually, ensuring its position as “Educators’ #1 Source for Everything Student Travel.” The digital copy is free to access online and makes for great poolside reading! Put Teach & Travel on your required summer reading list and youll be refreshed, inspired and ready for a new adventure in the coming school year!

Steeped in History and Mystery, Gettysburg is a Great Student Destination

Growing up in PA, I spent many wonderful summers exploring Gettysburg. It didnt occur to me that a national treasure was practically in my backyard. I took for granted that a day trip tromping through battlefields was practically a rite of passage for Civil War enthusiasts. Steeped in history and mystery, Gettysburg is a great student destination as well.


Gettysburg National Military Park
If you are traveling to Gettysburg with students, a stop at the Gettysburg National Military Park is probably at the top of the trip checklist. The Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War and the inspiration for Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg Address. Programs are available for all ages, as well as free, ranger-led tours of key battlefield moments. Theres really nothing quite like the experience of walking on these hallowed grounds to truly make history come alive for students!

Gettysburg Diorama
A fully-narrated light and sound show, the Gettysburg Diorama has the entire 6,000-acre battlefield in one place. Students will be amazed by the incredible detail of the display during the 30-minute presentation of the three-day battle.

Songs and Stories of A Civil War Hospital
Christ Lutheran Church is the oldest building in Gettysburg in continuous use for worship and served as a hospital from the first day of battle and for 5 weeks. True stories of soldiers (Union and Confederate), doctors and nurses who worked valiantly to save lives are presented through readings of soldiers journals and a citizen-nurses diary, live civil war music, poetry of Walt Whitman (who served as a civil war nurse for 3 years) and passages from the Lincolns 2nd Inaugural Address (the Gettysburg Address). Students are given the name of a soldier who was a patient at the hospital and whose fate is revealed at the end of the program (did he live or die?)

Ghosts of Gettysburg Candlelight Walking Tours
Dont miss a chance to get up close and personal with some of Gettysburgs best haunts and eerie sightings! The Ghosts of Gettysburg Candlelight Walking Tours have been around since 1994 and are based on true stories from Mark Nesbitts Ghosts of Gettysburg book series and have been featured on Unsolved Mysteries.

Shriver House Museum- The Civilian Experience
The Shriver House gives students a different lens through which to view the battle- a civilian perspective. This 1860 home in the heart of the historic district has been meticulously restored and frozen in time, and features members of the Shriver family sharing their experiences of life before, during and after the war.


General Picketts Buffet
If you need a quick, home-cooked meal to fuel those insatiable teen appetites, General Picketts Buffet is a perfect choice. Reasonable group rates (which include beverages and gratuity), two complimentary meals per bus and great food make General Picketts a group favorite. It also has a gift shop to satisfy students needs to spend ALL their trip money (goodness knows they wont take any home!).

Historic 1776 Dobbin House Tavern
Historic 1776 Dobbin House Tavern provides comfortable group accommodations, gracious hospitality and delectable dishes in a charming and historic setting. Students can tour the oldest and most historic home in Gettysburg, check out the secret underground railroad hideout or visit the Country Curiosity Store.


Courtyard by Marriott Gettysburg
If you want a clean and comfortable property that knows how to cater to student groups, Courtyard by Marriott Gettysburg is a great choice. Close to popular Gettysburg attractions and featuring an indoor pool, Courtyard by Marriott fully understands the needs of student groups and has the experience to make your group stay a breeze.

Kaleidoscope Adventures, a leader in student travel, is ready to help plan your Gettysburg trip. More than 25 years of experience and a former teacher at the helm means KA is equipped to handle your every need with ease. Trust the experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures to make your class trip one your students will remember for years to come! Contact KA at (800) 774-7337 or email

Believe It or Not – Ripleys Attractions Are Everywhere

Believe it or not (see what I did there?!) Ripleys attractions are everywhere. More than 100+ locations worldwide means that odds are good youll find a Ripleys to meet the needs of your student group trip.

Ripleys Believe It or Not Attractions are an astonishing collection originating from the private coffers of Robert Ripley (1890-1949). Ripley spent 35 years traveling to 201 countries seeking the odd, the unusual, and the unexplained. Hmmm sounds like he could have just planned a trip with middle school students! These unique acquisitions are the foundation of the Ripleys attractions Odditoriums, Aquariums, Mirror Mazes, WaxWorks, 4D Moving Theaters and many more.

Locations can be found in most U.S. student travel destinations and feature every macabre or ridiculous item conceivable, as well as many that you wont be able to wrap your brain around! Each Ripleys Odditorium is housed in an unusual structure and typically includes between 400 700 exhibits. Displays are a careful conglomerate of the strange, the shocking, and the beautiful- you may find a shrunken head, a micro-miniature sculpture or a 22-foot tall car parts robot. Students will love the interactive nature of the displays and the unexpected surprises around every corner. Its so much fun to wander through the space and imagine what Robert Ripley must have been thinking when he encountered some of these treasures! He once noted I have traveled in 201 countries and the strangest thing I saw was man. I think thats a sentiment to which most of us can relate!

Ripleys Aquariums offer students an opportunity to come face to face with fascinating underwater life. Found in the Smoky Mountains, Myrtle Beach and Toronto, Canada, these state-of-the-art facilities allow visitors to glide on moving platforms into an aquatic world filled with captivating fish and other sea creatures. Each aquarium location is distinct and will keep your student group enthralled.

Ripleys attractions are everywhere and can be a cornerstone of your student group trip. Even the most jaded middle school students will find something to peak their interests- and we all know thats a rare and surprising find in itself!

Kaleidoscope Adventures, a leader in student travel, is ready to help plan your student group trip. More than 25 years of experience and a former teacher at the helm means KA is equipped to handle your every need with ease. Trust the experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures to make your class trip one your students will remember for years to come! Contact KA at (800) 774-7337 or email

Atlanta is one of the Top Student Destinations

Its time to plan the all-important class trip. Youve already conquered the capital and taken a bite out of the Big Apple; now youre looking for something fresh, fun and fabulous. Recently named one of the top student destinations in the U.S. by the Student Youth Travel Association, Atlanta is an exceptional city for students.


Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

Atlanta is known as the birthplace of the civil rights movement for a reason. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site is a four-block treasure trove of historical significance. Visit the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. lived, worked, worshiped and is buried. There is no fee associated with the site and a U.S. park ranger will guide your tour.

Harriet Tubman African American Museum

The Harriet Tubman African American Museum features a permanent exhibit of vintage photographs, historical documents and works of art from the Tubmans collection and is widely considered one of the Souths most important cultural institutions.

Centennial Olympic Park

The Centennial Olympic Park is a 21-acre public park in downtown Atlanta and was the home of the 1996 Olympic Summer Games. Concerts, events and attractions are the centerpieces of the countrys largest downtown park developed in the last 25 years. Your students may not have been alive for the games, but theyll appreciate the legacy left behind!


World of Coca-Cola

One of the coolest attractions in Atlanta is the World of Coca-Cola a museum highlighting the history of one of Americas favorite beverages. Students can tour, explore and taste samples from around the world. The famous Coca-Cola Polar Bear will be on hand for photos as well!

Atlanta Movie Tours, Inc.

The kids will geek out on their favorite shows and movies as Atlanta Movie Tours, Inc. brings them all to life. Pick a tour and get the behind-the-scenes scoop on the best productions to come out of Atlanta!

Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain Park is a spectacular 3,200 acres of natural beauty and fun! Your students can Ride the Ducks, or take a high speed Swiss cable car ride for incredible views of the Atlanta skyline. A ropes course, dinosaur exhibit, farmyard, scenic railroad and even an historical homes tour can be part of your adventures (depending on the season).

Georgia Aquarium

You cant go wrong with a visit to the nations largest aquarium. Georgia Aquariums 10 million gallons of fresh and salt water house the largest single aquarium habitat in the world and more aquatic life than any other aquarium in North America- incredible!

CNN Studio Tours

Take a 50-minute guided tour of the worlds first 24 hour all news network. Students will love the behind-the-scenes look at how broadcasts are produced and sent to viewers around the world. Ted Turner was definitely on to something!


Hard Rock Caf

Hard Rock Caf is a master at knowing what kids like, from colossal, mouthwatering burgers to the sights and sounds of rock and roll! Hard Rock Caf Atlanta caters to groups of 15 or more and can offer a dedicated menu- including those legendary burgers, golden, breaded chicken tenders, gooey mac and cheese, smoky pulled pork or a classic Caesar salad. The portions are monstrous (perfect for teens) and each meal is topped off with a warm and fully-loaded chocolate chip cookie. If you prefer alternative choices, theyll work with you to design a menu that will perfectly satisfy the needs of your student group.

Pittypats Porch

Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Pittypats is a charming choice for the best in southern comfort food. If the group is looking for a taste of authentic southern cooking and hospitality, reserve a spot at Pittypats.

When youre ready for a change to the usual class trip itinerary, Atlanta is a superb option. Its a destination packed with unique, historical and student group-friendly attractions you and your students will love!

Kaleidoscope Adventures, a leader in student travel, is ready to help plan your Atlanta trip. More than 25 years of experience and a former teacher at the helm means KA is equipped to handle your every need with ease. Trust the experts at Kaleidoscope Adventures to make your class trip one your students will remember for years to come! Contact KA at (800) 774-7337 or email