I was recently talking with a friend who asked me about our trip the Renaissance Festival last year. She said she had heard it wasn’t really child friendly and wanted to know our experience. I was a bit surprised to hear that because we had a blast.

TN Ren Fest Nashville LARPI will say that it’s probably not for really young children as some of the characters that roam the festival (usually fans and not associated with the festival) can be scary. However, my boys (ages 10/12) loved it and can’t wait to go back!

Let me break it down and give you some handy tips about what you need to know about surviving the Tennessee Renaissance Festival with kids.

Must Sees:

Nashville Renaissance Festival JoustingIf you are attending I highly recommend the jousting tournament. If you only see one event, this is it! The men and horses who participate in this event are just stunning. Not only do they actually joust with each other, but they also do games of skill on horseback. The arena is a nice size however, get there early for a good seat and remember to bring an umbrella. There is no shade at the arena and you’ll want something to keep the sun off of you and your little ones.

The Birds of the Gauntlet show is also wonderful. The handlers bring the birds around for everyone to see and offer some amazing demonstrations with the birds. The handlers are available after the show if you want pictures of your little ones with one of the birds.

Tennessee Renaissance Festival with kidsThere are a couple of rides at the festival. They do cost to ride them, but the most amazing thing about them is that they are “man powered”. The young men who power these rides are amazing to watch, so even if you don’t ride them, stop and see the ingenuity of modern rides that are fully powered by young men.

Things You Need to Know:

  • The shows are rated so you can decide what is best for your little ones.
  • The paths are earthen and generally not stroller friendly unless you have big wheels on your strollers. Avoid bringing an umbrella stroller as you’ll fight it all day long.
  • The paths are generally shaded, but the arena is not. Sunscreen and an umbrella to keep the sun off are highly recommended, along with an extra bottle of water.
  • Once inside, just be aware that most of the acts put out tip jars and ask for tips. We wish we’d have known that beforehand because we would have brought some singles for the kids to tip the performers. Tipping is not required but I am sure it is appreciated.
  • Family Fun Rides Tennessee Renaissance Fair NashvilleDon’t forget your camera! Actors in full costume and full of character roam the festival. They are more than happy to pose for pictures, so don’t be afraid to ask!
  • There are old style carnival games there for the kids such as ax throwing, ring the bell (strength test), jousting etc.

Our experience with the Renaissance Festival was overall very positive. If I had to make an age suggestion, I would say kids 8 and up would enjoy it. It was very clean, and the organizers do a good job of keeping the festival fun for all ages.

The Tennessee Renaissance Festival is held each weekend in May at Castle Gwynn in Arrington, TN. You can find more information about the Renaissance Festival at http://tnrenfest.com/.