Long appreciated for its country music legends, Nashville attracts music lovers from around the world. Now, there’s another reason to add the Music City to your travel plans. Gaylord Opryland’s SoundWaves water park takes water adventures to a new level. This guide to SoundWaves has everything you need to know, including info about day passes.
The writer was hosted.
With Florida grandkids, water parks often find the way to our itineraries. Typically, I’ll work one into the plans and then stand by watching the kids tube down lazy rivers or squeal with delight as they plunge down the slides. But here I was at Gaylord Opryland’s SoundWaves water park climbing the steps to plunge myself down the Rapid Remix—one of 11 water slides in this massive park. Positioning myself in the innertube alongside my friend, Michele, and a lovely couple with their four-year-old grandson, I realized it had been many decades since I’d done anything like this. With a spin and a push, we were off, twirling our way through the tubes. LED lights flashed and music pulsated. The adults screamed. And the four-year-old grinned from ear to ear.
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Introducing SoundWaves, the Gaylord Opryland Water Park
Located on the site of the former Opryland Hotel, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center boasts stunning indoor gardens, seasonal themed experiences and plenty of amenities to keep hotel guests busy. The latest addition to the resort’s stellar list of offerings is the SoundWaves water park.
Built to attract adults as much as children, this upscale, 3-level indoor/outdoor water park spans four acres. Dedicated recreation zones for adults, young children and families make this an attraction for all ages. As water attractions go, this one’s hard to beat.
Speaking of beats, the Gaylord Opryland Resort’s connection to Music City shines bright. First, there’s music at every turn. Then, there are the music references. Paddle through the Up Tempo Rapids River. Follow that with a float along the Down Tempo Lazy River. Next, head outside to catch the perfect wave in the Tidal Track Wave Pool. Top it off with a zip down the Record Launch where an exciting mix of music and LED lights provide a dizzying adrenaline rush.
The SoundWaves Water Experience
From curious toddlers to fun-loving grandparents, this unique water park delivers a good time for everyone. Here’s the low-down on all the water features to help you plan your aquatic adventure:
The Indoor Waterpark
Who says you can’t have fun indoors? Check out these fun water attractions, open year-round.
- Rapid Remix – Climb into a mega raft designed for 4 to 5 passengers. Then, brace yourself for a series of thrill-inducing vortex loops. 21 LED lights and 12 music speakers enhance the experience. (42″ height requirement; Riders between 42″ and 48″ must be accompanied by a supervising companion.)
- Stage Dive – This body sliding adventure offers choices. Choose a translucent tube with LED lights. Or, for a little suspense, try the opaque tube with no lights. Either way, it’s a thrill! (42″ height requirement)
- Record Launch – Another choice awaits at the Record Launch. Pick the tubing bowl path with 16 LED lights and four music speakers. Or, do what I did. Grab a friend and push the limits of gravity with a two-person serpentine ride through the tubes. (42″ height requirement; Riders between 42″ and 48″ must be accompanied by a supervising companion.)
- Crowd Surfer – No one’s passing you around to strangers on this gem. Instead, you’ll surf with another rider on Nashville’s only double FlowRider.
- Up Tempo Rapids River – Waterfalls and spray features add to the fun in this zippy rapid river.
- Down Tempo Lazy River – Grab an innertube and chill as you float down this lazy river enjoying the music along the way.
- Groovin’ Lagoon Activity Pool – Not your ordinary indoor pool, this activity pool includes a lily pad walk, basketball hoops and a rock climbing wall tucked behind a 30′ water curtain.
- Quarter Note Cove – Let the little ones loose to play at this splash pad and pool.
- Half Note Cove – Kids of all ages love this multi-level play structure featuring small to medium slides, shallow water and spray features.
The Outdoor Waterpark
When the sun shines, opt to be outside at the outdoor waterpark.
- Beat Drop – The beat’s not the only thing dropping on this water feature. The floor drops and riders plunge down a near-vertical tunnel followed by a looping water slide. (48″ height requirement)
- Bass Drop – For the true adventurers, this open-flume body ride sends you down a six-story free-fall into 6 inches of water at extremely high speed. (48″ height requirement)
- Rock’n Racer – Race your kids on four lanes through tight 360-degree loops. Be sure to check the leader board at the bottom to see who wins. (42″ height requirement)
- Rising Stars Stage – This multi-level play structure resembles the Half Note Cove of the indoor waterpark with small to medium slides, spray features and shallow water.
- Tidal Track Wave Pool – A giant LED movie screen projects music videos as you wade into this wave pool to wait for the perfect wave.
Note: In 2021, the schedule for outdoor attractions opened in mid-May and continues through Labor Day, September 6th. Hours and daily opening dates vary, so be sure to check this calendar to make your plans.
For the Adults
Who says you can’t go to a waterpark without the kids? The extensive lineup of attractions appeals to plenty of adults, myself included. But, I have to admit. The adults-only indoor infinity pool brought a welcome respite from all the action. Also, the Diamond Pool–a flat-water outdoor pool (ages 18 and up) offers a similar escape. Private cabana rentals inside and outside also added a touch of tranquility. Because, we love our kids and grandkids, but they do make a lot of noise, don’t they?
How to Get Access to SoundWaves
To gain access to the aquatic fun, your best bet is to book a SoundWaves Experience Package. All packages include room accommodations at Gaylord Opryland Resort and wristbands for daily admission to SoundWaves. As an added bonus, you’ll receive early arrival access to SoundWaves. Also, wristbands are valid through noon on the day of departure. Additional benefits include baggage storage and the option to rent indoor and outdoor cabanas.
If you choose not to pre-book a SoundWaves Experience Package, there’s still hope for admission to the water-filled fun. Inquire at check-in and, if the water park isn’t fully booked, purchase your wristbands upon arrival.
For Tennessee residents looking for a getaway, booking a staycation provides the best opportunity for accessing all resort amenities including SoundWaves. Discounted rates apply for Tennessee residents with additional discounts applied for Nashville residents.
What About Day Passes?
Although day passes were offered to Tennessee residents for a short time period during the pandemic, as of this writing, there are none available. But all is not lost! If you happen to be a Nashville resident or traveling with a group, consider reserving a Party Room. Rental rates for 2021 start at $43 per person Monday-Thursday; $53 Friday and Sunday; and $58 Saturday and holidays. Reservable for 6 to 30 guests, the private party rooms include the following:
- Self-Parking Passes
- 2 hours guaranteed Private Party Room Access
- All-day access wristbands to SoundWaves (during normal operating hours)
- 2+ pizzas based on party size
- Non-alcoholic beverages (soda and water)
- Party Room Attendant
- Access to a 55-inch TV with input for static images
A Few More Things to Note
Before you embark on your SoundWaves adventure, here are few additional details.
- Beach towels and lounge chairs are available (first-come, first-serve)
- No outside food or drink allowed. So, check out Decibels for Opening Act appetizers, Headliner entrees and Encore desserts!
- Wristbands must be worn at all times.
- Lifeguards are on duty, but Coast Guard-approved life jackets are recommended for less experienced swimmers.
- Proper swimwear is required. And, ladies, leave the thongs at home. Kids don’t need to see that!
- This place is a blast. So, make your reservations and go have some fun!