Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Second Day in Nashville

On Thursday, April 9th, my husband, Don, and I had another busy day in Nashville. We started our day with a visit to the Grand Ole Opry House at Opry Land. This is the place where the Grand Ole Opry moved after it left the Ryman Theater. We paid extra money for a backstage guided tour of Studio A, the backstage areas, plus the main stage.

Handsome Hubby outside the Grand Ole Opry
Grand Ole Opry House
Exterior of the Grand Ole Opry House
Grand Ole Opry Post Office, where stars who are members pick up their fan mail
On stage at the Grand Ole Opry
View of the auditorium from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry
We each had a chance to stand on the circle from the stage at the Ryman and get our picture taken there
Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry; Do you see Minnie Pearl?
The Friends and Family Room backstage at the Grand Ole Opry
Lockers for the stars at the Grand Ole Opry
Roy Acuff's dressing room will always be #1 at the Grand Ole Opry

Next we went to the Willie Nelson and Friends Museum. Willie had some financial problems with the IRS back in 1991, and farmers and farm groups helped him all they could. According to an article in People Magazine, the farmers were grateful to Willie for all the "Farm Aid" concerts he had given over the years, and they knew what it was like to lose land due to financial hardship. I found that touching.

I saw a familiar theme both here and at the Country Music Hall of Fame we visited yesterday: lots of outfits designed by Nudie Cohn. I think Nudie deserves his own museum or exhibit. It would certainly be flamboyant.

When will Nudie Cohn get his own museum or special exhibit?

While we were there, we visited the Dukes of Hazard Museum and Gift Shop, which was in the same building. I also saw a funny-looking hearse type car in the parking lot. I'd love to know the story behind it.

Ambulance or hearse? Either way, country music is alive and well

The afternoon was spent at the Nashville Zoo, which is relatively young but growing fast. I'm guessing based on all the construction going on. Most of the new exhibits are slated to open in Spring of 2016.

What impressed me about this zoo was how family-friendly and interactive it was while protecting the animals at the same time. We could walk around an enclosure where kangaroos were loose, for example, but there were rules posted and staff there to make sure visitors followed them. The Lorikeet Landing exhibit gave visitors a chance to interact with these beautiful, bright, and curious birds. Many of the animals I saw, such as the red pandas, were much more active than I've seen at other zoos. We also saw a kind of black and white river ray that I've never seen at any other zoo or aquarium.

A Galapagos Tortoise enjoys a meal. A nearby sign warns they will bite

Red Panda at the Nashville Zoo
A rare clouded leopard sleeps on a tree branch
A cockatoo greets visitors to the Nashville Zoo
Don made a friend at Lorikeet Landing. Apparently he makes a nice perch

I also liked the children's play area, which made me want to play, myself.

The Nashville Zoo takes the term, "Jungle Gym," seriously!
Siamang at the Nashville Zoo

Don's favorite bird was the double-wattled cassowary
This alpaca seems to take his dinner pretty seriously!

We had dinner at Mirko Pasta, where Don ate spinach noodles alfredo with shrimp, and I had a special: smoked-gouda stuffed ravioli with sun-dried tomatoes in alfredo sauce. Sinfully rich, but good. I was so tired after walking and sight-seeing all day I could hardly walk up the stairs to our hotel room. I actually looked forward to resting on our drive to Asheville, NC, on Friday. When we arrived there we visited the Biltmore Estate, which was overpriced, in our opinion. We also were not allowed to take any pictures inside the main building, unlike in Nashville where fans could take pictures almost everywhere they went.