By Joanna Mazewski, Taking the Kids Correspondent
NASHVILLE, TN — Families with small children can visit outdoor water parks just about anywhere. But when it comes to having a “water experience,” you might find that your options are a little limited. Thankfully, the Gaylord Opryland Hotel has just opened its brand-new SoundWaves complex. And yes, it’s just as interesting and unique as it sounds.
A $90 million-dollar project, SoundWaves is the country’s first indoor and outdoor water park, located inside the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. The 111,000-square-foot enclosed addition to the resort and convention center comes with a looping raft ride, FlowRider surfing attraction, tall body slides, children’s activity pools, adult infinity pool and bar, and other features. In other words, it’s the perfect destination for families wanting to make a splash and in one of the most beautiful complexes, too.
That’s not all. There’s also an adult-only infinity pool that is only accessible to adults ages 18 and up along with multiple restaurants and bars. The temperature inside the indoor facility is maintained at 84 degrees year-round while the pools are a cool 82 degrees. For those wanting to dry off, there’s also an activity room with rock climbing and an obstacle course. But that’s only after you’ve tried the FlowRider, which is a one-of-a-kind indoor surfing experience.
“The surfing is so much fun. It makes me feel like I’m really out in the ocean,” says one 9-year-old visitor from Atlanta, Georgia, adding, “I didn’t even fall down once!”
Another aspect that makes Soundwaves so unique from other water parks is that it’s big enough for everyone to enjoy the thrills, yet compact enough for parents to chill. Unlike many outdoor water attractions at theme parks and resorts, parents say they like the comfort that Soundwaves brings in knowing that your children are always at arm’s length. That, and they can’t run off too far. No matter what direction you look, you can see almost every corner of the complex. Plus, the hotel also caps guests at a maximum capacity so that there are never any overcrowding issues.
One mom named Klara from Nashville, Tennessee, agrees. She tells Taking the Kids, “We’ve been spending the most part of our afternoon in the cabana. Our children have been hitting the rides, the lazy river, and have gone surfing multiple times. I’ve been to water parks that have left me panic stricken just because of the sheer amount of people that you see. You always feel as though your worst nightmare might happen and that you can lose your child in a crowd. Here I’ve been able to keep an eye on my kids the entire time.”
SoundWaves Waterpark is situated between the convention center and garden conservatory atrium at the hotel. Officials tease that a nearby parking lot could be transformed into an even larger waterpark in the future, too. If you are planning a visit to Nashville this year, keep in mind that SoundWaves is currently only open for Gaylord Opryland Hotel guests, although that can change.