Lantern Parade

As the leaves begin to change and turn even the shortest drive into a hunt for beautiful colors, there are several opportunities to enjoy the fall season. Take the family out to learn about the state’s landscapes, go to Shelby Park to see the leaves in person or learn more about the science behind it all at the Adventure Science Museum. And it wouldn’t be a week in Nashville without at least one free music event.

As part of our fall series on free and cheap things to do with the family, here are a few ideas for spending time together over the next week:

Lantern Parade

On Oct. 20, the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro will hold its first Lantern Parade. The parade is free. It is encouraged to bring a homemade lantern and comfortable shoes to wear. Attendees will march in a New Orleans-style second line band to show off their lanterns.

Jr. Naturalist: Autumn Changes

At Shelby Bottoms Nature Center, this free session by Lena Friedman will lead folks of all ages on a walk to enjoy the fall foliage. Friedman will describe how the park is readying itself for the cold winter and will introduce a junior naturalist activity book to young folks on the walk. 

Fall Into Science Festival

At the Adventure Science Museum, they’ll be hosting a free outdoor festival on Oct. 23. The event will include games, performances, science demonstrations and hands-on STEAM activities facilitated by members of local businesses and organizations. The event, which doesn’t require the normal admission to attend, is part of the state-wide TN STEAM Festival, which is from Oct. 14-23.

Musicians Corner Fall Market

This free fall celebration is held in Centennial Park on Oct. 22-23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on each day. In addition to a variety of craft and food vendors, there will be live performances by local artists on the Musicians Corner stage. There will be fall-themed activities for children, and attendees can also pick up one of the 200 free trees that the Nashville Tree Foundation will give away at the Oct. 23 event.

Lunch and Learn: Tennessee Folklife and the Smoky Mountains with Bob Fulcher

On Oct. 27, head out for a learning opportunity at the Tennessee State Museum. At the Tennessee State Museum, Bob Fulcher will discuss the state’s traditional music, dance, craftwork, lore and oral histories that “has enlivened, beautified, and supported culture and families through generations of sharing, especially in the Great Smoky Mountains,” according to the museum. The Tennessee State Parks Folklife Project and its images from its collection will be highlighted.