Grand Ole Opry Daytime Backstage Tour (9am-11am – All Ages!)
Head out for a morning tour (9:30am-10:30am) of the Grand Ole Opry – and, if so desired, continue on for the General Jackson Showboat tour afterward (just a short walk away). Take your seat in the custom-built theater as the entire room comes to life with music, state-of-the-art special effects, 3D film images, priceless archival footage, and superstar hosts Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood!
Your knowledgeable guide will share stories about the Opry and country music greats, past and present — from Minnie Pearl to Carrie Underwood — show you photos from the Opry’s biggest moments in history, and take you to the artist entrance where legends, new artists, and superstars alike walk into the Opry House on the night of an Opry show. Afterward, either join the General Jackson Showboat tour, or take advantage of the chance to see the Gaylord Resort and grab lunch there!
Cost: Regular tickets are $36 (including fees). Sold out. (Please note that there are tours every 15 minutes, so you can also grab tickets for a 9:15 or 9:45am tour and be in time to make the General Jackson showboat tour afterward, if you so desire.)
Taste of Tennessee aboard the General Jackson Showboat (10:45am-3:15pm – All Ages!)
Come join us for a cruise, lunch, and a show aboard the General Jackson Showboat. We will meet in the hotel lobby at 10:45 a.m. to car pool down to the General Jackson Showboat’s dock. It is just under 1 ½ miles from the hotel, behind Opry Mills Mall. You can also take a shuttle over to the Gaylord Opryland Resort and walk to the Mall. If you are already at the Grand Ole Opry tour, you can just walk over after that tour.
Boarding begins at 11:15 a.m. Departure: 12:00 p.m. Return: 2:45 p.m.
The cruise lets you experience Nashville as is it can best be seen from the beautiful Cumberland River. While “rollin” down the river, you’ll enjoy stunning views, a delicious meal, and toe-tapping entertainment in the two-story Victorian Theater in the center of the boat.
The musical appetizer begins in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with the energetic music of bluegrass roots, and Americana music featuring fiddling favorites like “Orange Blossom Special” to the homespun songs of musical superstar, Dolly Parton. The next course features a generous helping of the traditional and contemporary country music that made Nashville, Music City, with songs from Reba McEntire to Charlie Daniels to Garth Brooks. Course number three serves up the music of Memphis R&B and Blues as tribute is paid to Sun Records’ famous Million Dollar Quartet including Jerry Lee Lewis and the King himself, Elvis Presley. Our final sweet treat is an inspiring multimedia and musical medley of patriotic anthems.
The cost is $67.50 and does require pre-registration. Click here to purchase your ticket now! Sold out. (Please e-mail if you wish to be put on a waiting list for cancellations.)
Stones River National Battlefield (10:00am-5:30pm – All Ages!)
A key battle of the American Civil War occurred on December 31, 1862, and January 2, 1863, and resulted in a strategic Union victory. The battle at Stones River claimed 23,000 casualties – it was the second bloodiest battle fought west of the Appalachians during the Civil War. Today, the Stones River National Battlefield stands as a silent reminder of those individuals who lost their lives there. The Battlefield is located 3 miles northwest of Murfreesboro, TN.
Join us to see where this battle occurred, watch the park film, and learn more about the Civil War history. Stones River National Battlefield has made arrangements to provide a Ranger to give us a personal guided tour, with an additional caveat. There is an interesting story about the Union’s Catholic Commander’s Chief of Staff Colonel Julius P. Garasche’. Garesche’ had worked in Cuba before the Civil War doing missionary work to the extreme where he was put up for sainthood. It is written he even had a one on one audience with the Pope. His death comes within the battlegrounds here, followed by major repercussions weather he lives or dies on the field can change American History in a profound way.
10:00 am: Carpool to Stones River National Battlefield (35 miles from hotel)
1:00 pm: Guided Tour
3:30 pm: Early Dinner near the Battlefield
5:30 pm: Arrive back at the hotel
Cost: There is no cost for the tour, but we will share expenses to those drivers who utilize their vehicles for carpooling. Click here to RSVP! Registration closed. Hosted by Johnny.
New! Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage
The Hermitage opened to the public in 1889. Occupying 1,120 acres, it is one of the oldest and largest historic site museums in the United States. Guests have been welcomed to The Hermitage for 125 years. It ranks as one of the most visited historic site museums in the country. It attracts visitors from all over the world; thus, tours are available in five languages. Nashville’s premiere historic site, The Hermitage, was once home to our 7th U.S. President, Andrew Jackson, from 1804 until his death in 1845.
Remodeled by Jackson after a fire destroyed much of it in 1837, the mansion is a National Historic Landmark maintained to look just as it did in then. Costumed interpreters lead visitors through the mansion, in which more than 85 percent of the objects are original to Jackson’s lifetime. On the acres surrounding the mansion are the humble log homes where the enslaved community lived and where the Jackson family first settled.
Meet in the hotel lobby at 11:30am to carpool/Uber over and grab lunch at the Hermitage cafe, after which we’ll tour the grounds! Return to the hotel by 4:30pm. (Entrance price is $22/person (or a slightly reduced rate if the group is large enough), plus lunch.) RSVP here!
Grand Ole Opry Daytime Backstage Tour and Lunch (10:30am – 3:00pm – 30’s-40’s)
Adults (30’s-40’s) – Enjoy a late morning and afternoon getting to know others who will be attending the conference while taking a Grand Ole Opry Guided Daytime Backstage Tour followed by lunch! Hosted by Melanie & Erin. Click here to RSVP!
Departure: 10:30am – Meet in the Inn at Opryland hotel lobby to take hotel shuttle to Grand Ole Opry.
Tour: 11:30am (guided tour lasts approximately 1 hour). We will have time before and after the 11:30 tour time for pictures and looking around.
Lunch: Following the tour at a nearby restaurant
Return time: At your individual preference when you want to depart. We estimate around 3pm return to hotel.
Cost: Lunch on your own (if possible bring cash to make paying easier). Tour ticket: $30 at the group rate. Sold out.
Young Adult Lunch and Ice Skating (1:00pm – 5:30pm – 20’s+)
Young Adults (20’s+) – Join fellow NCSC attendees for a late lunch in Midtown followed by ice skating at Centennial Sportsplex (next to Centennial Park)! Meet either at the hotel lobby (Inn at the Gaylord) and carpool/share an Uber/Lyft, or meet in Midtown (restaurant TBA). Bring cash/card for lunch and purchase your skating ticket there. (Entrance fee: $7.00 / Skate rental: $2.00.) Hosted by Joseph with Focus Connect. Click here to RSVP!
Departure: 1:00pm – to Midtown for lunch; or meet at 1:30pm – restaurant location TBA
Skating: 3:30pm-5:00pm – and then return to hotel.
Informal Friday Night Mixer (Starting around 11:30pm – All Ages!)
Fellow NCSC attendees, Melanie and Erin, have offered to host an informal get-together on Friday night after the official conference activities conclude for the evening so drop by the The Inn at Opryland hotel bar and meet some new friends!
Cost: Drinks on your own; no registration necessary, just show up!
Other possible Friday and/or Sunday options (no official leaders at this point):
Gaylord Opryland Resort
Stay close to home (the hotel) and wander around the Gaylord Opryland Resort, across the street from the Inn at the Opry. It’s 9 acres of indoor gardens, cascading waterfalls and the indoor river with its own Delta ﬂatboats beneath the glass roof, plus various shopping opportunities in a relaxing atmosphere. Eat lunch or dinner at one of the Gaylord’s over 15 restaurants and lounges.
Cost: Free plus lunch/dinner on your own.
The Parthenon in Centennial Park / West End
The Parthenon stands proudly as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, Nashville’s premier urban park. The re-creation of the 42-foot statue Athena is the focus of the Parthenon just as it was in ancient Greece. The building and the Athena statue are both full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals.
Originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, this replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece serves as a monument to what is considered the pinnacle of classical architecture. The plaster replicas of the Parthenon Marbles found in the Naos are direct casts of the original sculptures, which adorned the pediments of the Athenian Parthenon dating back to 438 B.C. The originals of these powerful fragments are housed in the British Museum in London.
The Parthenon also serves as Nashville’s art museum. The focus of the Parthenon’s permanent collection is a group of 63 paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists donated by James M. Cowan. Additional gallery spaces provide a venue for a variety of temporary shows and exhibits. After the Parthenon, walk the grounds of Centennial Park or visit the Cathedral of the Incarnation, just 5 minutes away. Eat lunch/dinner in the West End, home to Vanderbilt University, before heading back to the hotel.