Request - Cheap places/things to do in St. Louis, Memphis & Nashville

Going with the family (one 9-year-old and one grandmother, so 4 total)to St. Louis during April Spring Break (4/6-15). Hoping to make St. Louis to Memphis to Nashville and back triangle in 8 days. We already have the airline tickets, but being a FatWalleter I'm interested in any special tips for saving some bucks or any hidden attractions one might miss. We'll probably do the standard Arch, Graceland, Lorraine Motel & Grand Ol Opry. The Shiloh Civil War battlefield is something we'll do also and my Mom wants to see the Loretta Lynn Museum (it's on the way from Memphis to Nashville). But we're hoping to squeeze in some more things.

As for savings, I'll probably hit for the areas and see if anything is of interest (and passes muster with TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc.), plus I'll sign up for some hotel cards. I'll probably use a Travelocity-type site for the car rental and the lodging, unless you think booking directly is better. We do have AAA, so in a pinch that will work in a lot of circumstances. But is there any other angles I should be investigating.

I noticed the NRA convention is in St. Louis for the back-end of our trip so I might need to book the 4/14 stay early. But, in general, should I book hotels early or wait until closer. Same with car rentals for that matter. As you can probably tell, it's been awhile since I've been on a big trip so a tad rusty on these things.

Thanks for an advice.

added on Thursday, February 23, 2012

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