Centennial Park, as the name implies, was built for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition of 1897, a 6-month long world’s fair commemorating the state’s 100th birthday. The full-size reproduction of the Athens Parthenon is the world’s only exact replica and was meant to be temporary. However, by 1921, the deteriorating building had become a Nashville landmark, so the city reconstructed it, opening a new, permanent structure in 1931. The Parthenon’s two pairs of bronze doors, which weigh in at 7 1/2 tons per door, are the largest matching bronze doors in the world, which seems like an odd record to hold, but here we are. Inside stands the 42-foot-tall statue of Athena Parthenos, the goddess of wisdom, prudent warfare, and the arts. Made of cement reinforced with fiberglass on a steel frame, Athena was built in 1982 by Alan LeQuire, a local Nashville artist. She was gilded with 8 pounds of 23.75 carat gold in 1990, and is the largest piece of indoor sculpture in the Western world. While the statue of the goddess Nike in Athena’s right hand looks small by comparison, it’s actually more than 6 feet tall. In addition to this breathtaking statue, there are original plaster castings of the famous Elgin marbles—bas-reliefs that once decorated the pediment of the Parthenon—which I find kind of underwhelming but may hold the interest of art history buffs. Inside the air-conditioned galleries, you’ll find a collection of 19th- and 20th-century American art that will again interest hard-core history fans but is lackluster for the average tourist.
Centennial Park, West End Ave. (at West End and 25th Aves.)
Our Rating Hours Tue–Sat 9am–4:30pm, Sun 12:30–4:30pm Phone 615/862-8431 Prices Admission $6.50 adults, $4.50 seniors and children Web site The Parthenon
MapCentennial Park, West End Ave. Nashville
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.