There's plenty of free parking and visitors are free to walk in and around the outside parts of the structure. Rick, who has seen the original, says this one needs to be set up on a hill like the Acropolis to get the full effect. But it's still pretty impressive.
To go inside, you enter through what looks like a cellar door in case of tornados, and pay a $6 fee ($4 for seniors). That gives you access to the art museum on the lower levels (very nice permanent American art collection plus a gallery for temporary exhibits) and to the great goddess Athena.
And great she is. At 41 feet and covered in gold leaf, she completely dominates the inner recesses of the Parthenon. Although there may be more lovely statues of Athena, this is certainly the most imposing, and serves to remind one of the prominent place the gods and goddesses held in the lives of the Greeks and Romans.
The virgin goddess Athena was the patroness of Athens, and is associated with war strategy, divine inspiration, architecture and the arts. The original Parthenon was built in her honor, and housed a similar statue. Here you get a closer look at Nike, the seemingly much smaller "winged victory," whom Athena symbolically holds in the palm of her hand.
After all that archetypal grandness it was time to take care of the mundane, so we headed over to nearby Roiter's for one of their famous burgers on French bread, and freshly home made chips.
It's an old fashioned place (1945!) with a modern neighborhood built up around it. Check out this link for a real taste of Tennessee. It's a local favorite and yes, we think it should be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
While recovering from our generous lunch we hung out on one of the old swings that are scattered around Centennial Park. Very soothing. Probably my favorite part of the day. : )