Nashville Parthenon Photo by Keith Hamilton

NASHVILLE, TN — Those seeking recreation, education, and inspiration can find all three in Nashville’s own urban oasis – Centennial Park. This central green space features a majestic Great Lawn, an ornate sunken garden, the glassy waters of Lake Watauga, and one of the most symbolic structures in Tennessee: the Nashville Parthenon, the world’s only full-scale replica of the Greek temple. Of the 3 million visitors to Centennial Park each year, the Parthenon draws over 300,000 past the massive Doric-style columns and into the museum embedded within.

As the crown jewel of Centennial Park, the Parthenon’s vibrant programs, art exhibitions, and symposia ensure that Nashville maintains its title “The Athens of the South.” The museum houses three rotating art galleries, showcasing contemporary exhibitions as well as the impressive Cowan Collection of late 19th century and early 20th century American art. In the West Gallery, a celebration of Centennial Park’s origins is currently underway with the temporary exhibition “Looking Back: 125 Years After the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.” The exhibition provides an immersive experience for visitors with previously unseen photographs that span from floor to ceiling and musical compositions created specifically for the Exposition. On display in the East Gallery this summer is “The Odyssey: A Retelling” by local artist Lisa Bachman Jones. Inspired by Emily Wilson’s first female translation of Homer’s Odyssey, Jones’ interpretation incorporates a wide range of mixed media and techniques – a must-see in the East Gallery.

The Parthenon also provides educational experiences for all ages. “The Parthenon is truly a museum for everyone. Between the weekly Kidsville program, our outdoor historical tours of the Park, and fantastic exhibitions this summer, we have something to interest every age,” said Lauren Bufferd, Director of Parthenon. For daily visitors, the Art Cart provides hands-on

arts-based activities, while those interested in delving deeper into exhibition themes can attend free monthly symposia with subject-matter experts. For example, this July the Parthenon will host Dr. Justin Arft of the University of Tennessee for a talk on the performance nature of Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey.

Visitors may also engage in self-guided tours – the sidewalk surrounding the Parthenon contains imprinted QR codes that connect to an audio tour of the building’s exterior. For younger adventure-seekers, the Parthenon showcases props from the Percy Jackson film shot on location, provides a printed guide to the Museum oriented for children, and offers activities through Centennial Park Conservancy’s (CPC) Kidsville program. Kidsville uses the arts and active play to create goal-oriented children’s activities in the areas of literacy, history, art, music, and outdoor recreation. These weekly events are held on most Saturdays at 11 AM at the Parthenon and at outdoor park events in the spring and fall. Admission to the Parthenon is waived for Kidsville families to ensure all who wish to participate are able to do so. Throughout the year, the Parthenon also hosts over 500 school tours from both near and far; educators interested in scheduling a tour for the upcoming school year are encouraged to contact the Parthenon.

This summer, escape the heat with a trip to Nashville’s historic Parthenon. The museum is open daily, except Mondays, and admission is only $10 for adults, $8 for children and seniors, and free for children ages 3 and under. Admission is free for CPC Members.

Visit for information on hours, exhibitions, and programming.

Underwriting all of this compelling programming is Centennial Park Conservancy – the nonprofit organization supporting the Parthenon since 1985. 

You can learn more about Centennial Park Conservancy, their mission to support the Park and Parthenon, and how you can become a member at