Local families (and those visiting Nashville) can have fun experiencing the thrills and cooling wonders of the new SoundWaves luxury water attraction at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. It is a four-acre, three-level upscale indoor/outdoor experience. While the indoor side is available year round, the outdoor section of SoundWaves is open May through Labor Day. However, you must book a SoundWaves Water Experience Package in order to dip your toes in the cool waters (or book one of the party rooms).
Since SoundWaves is only available to resort guests, it keeps the crowd to a manageable size — the water attraction has a limited a capacity to prevent overcrowding. The result? A relaxed, comfortable experience that proves to be a great staycation.
I recommend the rooms that join with a parlor room (pictured below) for your family. There are no microwaves, but plenty of fridge space. Order up a pizza from Paisano's Pizzaria & Vino in the Delta section. It's delicious and our kids LOVE it! Bring it back to the parlor room and utilize the dining area for a family meal together at the table (don't forget to grab lots of napkins).
Indoor Water Attractions
The 111,000-square-foot indoor water attraction features a slide tower, Double FlowRider and more. Get your family pumped for the Rapid Remix water ride. It allows four to five people to ride a circular raft through a series of vortex loops complete with 21 LED lights and 12 music speakers. If you only have three up to the challenge, seek out a few other resort guests to ride along!
There are also rapid and lazy rivers as well as an activity pool featuring rock-climbing structures in the pool, a lily pad obstacle course and water basketball. You can also book a birthday party at SoundWaves. There are three party rooms and an arcade with an indoor rock climbing wall.
The multi-level play structure inside is ideal for children, and it has its own smaller water slide. Swim diapers are required for all children who are not toilet trained.
Outdoor Water Features
The 106,000-square-foot outdoor water attraction features a 315,000-gallon wave pool with a giant LED screen, which plays music videos from all genres, including rock, country and today's top hits. The kids' multi-level play structure features the same climbing and slides as the indoor side. However, we discovered the outdoor slide on this structure is slightly slower than its indoor counterpart. Water spouts gently shoot water up from the ground, and the rocking horses allow little ones to rock away in the water. They can move 'em about however they choose (but must be kept in the kids' area).
Outdoor thrills include tube slides, body slides and more. Four racers can see who can cross the finish line first on the Rock'N Racers slides with cushy boards. When you're done with the heart-pounding fun, go relax at the wave pool. Feel the gentle waves at the zero entry point. Our 13- and 9-year-olds say the waves are not as big as other wave pools, so it was easier for them to get farther out. Their tip: wear water shoes. The wave pool's floor is rough and hurts your feet — and be careful of your knees should you ride a wave in.
Adults will love that the indoor water experience features an adults-only infinity pool, bar and seating on the third floor. The outdoor water experience includes an adults-only flat water pool area.
SoundWaves' daily hours of operation are weekdays 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. (sometimes 9 p.m.). Check-in time at Gaylord Opryland is 4 p.m., but with your SoundWaves package, you get access to the water attraction from the time it opens on the day of check-in until 12 p.m. on the day you check out. So, pack a smaller bag to take advantage of the extra time.
Towels are available at SoundWaves, but you can bring your own beach towel. There are lifeguards on duty at each attraction. There are also cabanas available for rent. Each cabana seats up to six guests, and conjoining cabanas are available for up to 12 people. Cabanas include four bottles of water and use of a refrigerator and TV. If you forget your sunscreen, don’t worry. The SoundWaves gift shop has that and more for all your needs.
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is located at 2800 Opryland Drive, Nashville. Call 615-889-1000 or visit soundwavesgo.com.
Dos & Don'ts of SoundWaves
DO remember your sunscreen. The price of a bottle you would normally buy elsewhere is about $20 at the gift shop. There are NO free sunscreen stations.
DO use the towels at SoundWaves.
DO shower before getting into the water.
DO use one of the life vests for your non-swimmers. There are several stations at SoundWaves where you can pick one up for your little ones.
DO rent a locker (around $15 for a full day). Our sunscreen (which we bought at the gift shop for $20) was stolen from our chairs where our towels and shoes were. You can add everyone in your family to the locker via the snazzy SoundWaves wristbands. Simply scan your band and the locker pops open. Be sure to end the rental at the end of the day so you are not charged for the second day, etc.
DO put swim diapers on your non-toilet-trained babies and tots!
DO wear water shoes in the wave pool (or walking around the entire SoundWaves areas for that matter) to keep your feet comfortable. The wave pool floor at entry is pretty rough feeling. Our feet hurt after walking around all day without shoes or flip flops going from section to section.
DO bring a wet bag for your swim suits and wet items in order to keep the floors dry as you walk back to your room. We used a small plastic bag inside our tote to keep items separated.
DON'T walk through the resort in your bathing suit — that's what the changing rooms and showers are for.
DON'T take the towels from SoundWaves back to your room. Drop them off at one of the many stations in the water attractions area.
DON'T use the life vests as flotation devices to hold you up in the lazy river. There are kids who need them. So, if it's crowded and you're using one just to float with, hand it over.
DON'T leave the floats for the lazy river or slides in random places. Place them back where you got them so the lifeguards can do their jobs (watching the safety of everyone) and not pick up after you.
DON'T wimp out at the last minute when you get to the top of the stairs to do the slide races or one of the two jaw-dropping body slides. You can do it!