Over winter break, Elias, Adeline and I stayed at Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville for a hosted one-night staycation to experience their new Soundwaves water park. We were so grateful that Opryland invited us to come. Because we usually stay at AirBNB's, it was such a fun experience for the kids to stay in a hotel, especially one as beautiful as Opryland.
About SoundWaves in Nashville
First, about the waterpark itself. SoundWaves is currently an indoor-only water park in Nashville, that includes a multi-waterslide tower, FlowRider® surfing, rapid and lazy rivers, pools for kids and adults, rock climbing, VR experiences, restaurants, private cabanas and more. Essentials like locker rooms with showers, lockers, life vests for kids and inexperienced swimmers, towels, and a restaurant are also available.
With its modern design, it truly is an upscale experience. I have been to many waterparks over the course of my life and have never experienced one as beautiful and well-thought-out as SoundWaves. Palm trees are throughout and the 80 degree temperature makes you feel like you are outside. The park also includes floor to ceiling windows and skylights, flooding it with natural light.
Music is definitely a part of the SoundWaves experience, with a mix of pop and new country throughout. The music is tailored to the different areas, such as upbeat pop for the waterslides and more easy, down-tempo songs for the lazy river. I really thought the music added a lot to the environment. I loved it.
In May 2019, SoundWaves will open an additional 106,000 square feet of outdoor attractions, including a 315,000-gallon wave pool with a massive LED screen, kids pool with a multi-level play structure, adults-only pool, restaurants, private cabanas and more. This opening will make it the first upscale indoor/outdoor resort water attraction in the U.S., featuring four acres of attractions and amenities. We cannot WAIT to go back.
Currently, you can also visit SoundWaves if you stay overnight at the hotel. I did some research and found that Davidson County residents can receive discounts up to 40 percent off by registering here: www.GaylordOprylandResidents.com. You could also save money buy bringing food for your hotel room (our room was equipped with a mini fridge). SoundWaves' policy says no food or drink can be brought into the park, though I did see a few families who had snacks in their bags.
Our Favorites at SoundWaves
Honestly and truly, we loved freakin' everything. If I sound like I am gushing it is because Gaylord Opryland's SoundWaves exceeded my expectations in every way. One of my favorite parts of SoundWaves is that its size is perfect to get the complete experience. When we visited, we didn't find it overcrowded, which meant that, while there were lines, we never waited long – even for our favorite slides.
The most popular ride is the FlowRider, a ride the simulates surfing. When doors opened at 11, this was the ride most people went running for. Know that you need to sign a release to ride it, so that takes a few minutes to do on an ipad. You only need to do it once for the duration of your time at SoundWaves. Elias, Adeline and I all loved it.
One of the things I was most impressed with about the FlowRider was how attentive the staff were to making sure every person was prepared for the ride.
The kids and I all had different staff and every single one was kind and thorough. It really made what was already a great experience even better.
Groovin' Lagoon Activity Pool
Adeline LOVED the rock wall, which was in the “Groovin' Lagoon Activity Pool.” I think she walked across it half a dozen times. Also in that area was a lilypad rope walk, which Elias crushed.
The park has two rivers – a traditional lazy river that you enjoy in an inner tube and the “Up Tempo Rapids River” which is a river with a strong current that you swim in. The Rapids River was unlike anything I have ever experienced at a waterpark. It was super fun and we did it no less than a dozen times.
The waterslides were also awesome. We did them again and again, screaming with joy over and over.
The park also has an excellent kids play area called “Quarter Note Cove.” Though at 10 and 7, Elias and Adeline loved it, going down the slides and enjoying being drenched by the bucket dump.
How to Maximize Your SoundWaves Visit
I'll be honest, we were really not prepared well for our stay in terms of how to maximize your Gaylord Opryland SoundWaves visit in Nashville. I hope by reading this post you will be! When we stayed SoundWaves was open 11 am – 8 pm (according to what I found on the website, during certain times of year they open at 10 am instead of 11 am). You can visit the park as soon as you check-in, so I would recommend checking in as early as possible, so you can enjoy a full afternoon/evening at the park. We didn't plan for this (we assumed the park would open at like 9 am) and checked in at 6:30 pm. Big mistake. By the time we got through a very long check-in line, it was after 7 and the kids decided they didn't want to get into swim suits and do the park for what would have amounted to 40 minutes.
Because of the extremely late opening time of the park, we were awake for HOURS waiting for it to open. This was frustrating as a mom of young kids, since our reason for coming was the waterpark. Had I done better research, we would have definitely planned our schedule differently to have enjoyed it the day we checked in. I really think Opryland needs to reevaluate the opening time to be competitive with waterparks like Great Wolf Lodge, which open at 9 am.
A line started forming for the park around 30 minutes before opening.
You are given wristbands to enter the waterpark, but here is the important thing to know. Wristbands deactivate at noon (unless you are staying another night at the hotel). That's right. So we checked in the night before and only had essentially an hour at the park before our bands would deactivate. But, here's the catch! As long as you stay in the park, you are fine to enjoy everything. Just don't plan to leave the park to check out or go to a restaurant, then go back in because your wristband won't work.
We checked out at 10 am and had the bellhop hold our bags. We took a bag into the park with a change of clothes in it and planned to eat at the restaurant within SoundWaves. We stayed from 11 – 4, got dressed in the locker room and then departed the hotel.
Recap: Check-in early and do the park in the afternoon/evening. The next day, plan to stay in the park as long as possible without leaving because your wristband won't work for long!
I hope this helps you as you plan a visit to Gaylord Opryland's SoundWaves in Nashville. It is a remarkable waterpark. Visiting was an experience my family won't ever forget. My kids proclaimed it to be the best indoor waterpark ever and are begging to go back.