I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
May 4, 2015
I’ve lived in Nashville for nearly 15 years and have had kids or stepkids in tow for most of that time, so I was sure I knew about every park and playground in the area. But I definitely didn’t know about Bison Meadow– and I’m betting you didn’t, either.
It’s a small public park in Forest Hills, at the corner of Hillsboro Pike and Tyne Boulevard– about ten minutes from the Green Hills mall.
You might actually recognize these topiary bison- I had definitely noticed them while driving up and down Hillsboro Pike– but I’d always assumed that they were on private property and belonged to an eccentric millionaire with an Edward Scissorhands obsession.
I’ve discovered, though, that they are actually part of a 2 1/2 acre park owned and maintained by the city of Forest Hills, and that there’s a story behind those bison– one your kids will love.
The park is situated on a terminal branch of the Old Natchez Trace. Native Americans and settlers used this path to travel across the country, but bison and elk used it, too, to get to a big salt lick on the Cumberland River.
I guess this was kind of what it looked like back then. If you take away the power lines. And turn the grass pathway into a dirt one. And make those green bison brown. And put a Laura Ingalls outfit on the girl. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE.
Anyway, back when bison roamed Middle Tennessee, prairie ecosystems were part of the landscape here. This park was designed to commemorate that time, both with the topiary bison and the native Indian grasses, plants, and wildflowers planted throughout the park. Landscape architect Tara Armistead designed curved pathways of grass, resulting in a fun labyrinth for you and your children to explore.
It’s a tiny little park, but it was a beautiful spring day and my daughter was delighted with our discovery. And there’s more here than just a meadow.
A neatly mulched path winds through a small cedar grove at the back of the park. It makes for a fantastic little hiding place.
And it feels a bit like being inside a fairytale.
Bison Meadow is a great spot for family photographs, outdoor book reading time, or a picnic on a sunny day that’s not too hot. There are a few shade trees you can sit beneath and your kids will enjoy exploring on the paths. I surprised my daughter with a trip there and told her the story of the bison when we arrived- She thought it was fantastic.
Don’t worry about where to park- There’s a small parking area on Hemingway Drive, just off of Hillsboro Pike. You will almost certainly be the only ones there.
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I’ve seen those bison shaped shrubs. Thought the same thing you did. I’ll have to check it out.