“What began as one of the most aggressive expansions plans ever at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center came to full fruition on May 16 with a grand opening of the outdoor and final portion of the SoundWaves water park. The official opening was May 17.
In early 2017, officials with Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc., owner of the Gaylord properties, announced a $90 million improvement and expansion plan. That included the plans for the water park, which has both a year-round, 111,000-squarefoot indoor portion and a seasonal, 106,000-square-foot outdoor section.
Gaylord Opryland officials wanted the design to be upscale, classy, innovative and Nashville-themed. It seems they are very pleased with the results. The architect for the project was BLUR Workshop out of Atlanta, Ga. Aquatic Development Group (ADG), Cohoes, N.Y., collaborated with BLUR on the project.
According to Julie St. Louis, ADG’s marketing and communications specialist, ADG utilized the design, architecture and brand of Gaylord hotels as inspiration to carry through the design and assortment of the water attractions. ADG was the designer and builder of all pools and supplied all necessary equipment for the project such as wave generation systems in the wave pool, action river, the Double FlowRider surf attraction and all necessary filtration.
“SoundWaves indoor/ outdoor water experience is leading a change in the way people perceive resort water,” St. Louis said. “The inspiration behind the design is tailoring the water experience for not only children but for adult enjoyment as well. ADG and BLUR accomplished this at SoundWaves by combining fun active play, high-end architecture and adult upscale amenities, creating the ultimate resort water experience.”
The water park was built on five levels. St. Louis said the level-style of design was a challenge from the design and construction standpoint. “We worked through that prior to construction in order to get open on time and on budget,” St. Louis said. “ADG had to work through the functionality of having bodies of water elevated over other areas of the park. The levels gave an added architectural experience and allows for a larger footprint and higher levels of capacity for the property.”
Even the corridor leading from the lobby area into the indoor portion of the park is sleek, with windows on one side and a wall with painted waves on the other. It emanates a sense of entering an aquarium instead of a water park. The temperature indoors is a tropical 84 degrees. The innovatively-designed roof lets in natural sunlight giving guests the opportunity to sunbathe year-round.
The music theme is used extensively throughout, exactly to the plans of fusing music and water together. Even the attractions’ names play into that theme.
Proslide Technology supplied all the slides. Inside attractions include the Stage Dive Body Slides and Record Launch. Both attractions incorporate LED lighting, sound and thrills. The Rapid Remix is the park’s mega raft ride. The rafts can hold four or five guests. They are taken through a series of vortex loops, complete with 21 LED lights and 12 music speakers. Up Tempo Rapids River ride features waterfalls and spray components. Down Tempo Lazy River features cavernous rocks with LED lighting. Crowd Surfer is the park’s double FlowRider. There also is a Groovin’ Lagoon Activity Pool for kids, as well as the Quarter Note Cove and Half Note Cove. The coves feature multi-level activity elements.
Outdoors, there is a 45-foottall slide tower where several slides are located. They are the Beat Drop, a near-vertical drop slide, and the Bass Drop, a high-speed, open-flume body ride where guests free fall and plunge into a six-foot deep pool. There also is a four-lane Rock’N Racer featuring tight 360-degree turns. Rising Stars Stage is the outdoor children’s play area. The wave pool, called the Tidal Track, generates waves every 10 to 15 seconds. The pool is six feet deep, complete with a giant LED screen that can be viewed from the water or the hundreds of feet of shoreline. The Diamond Pool is the adults-only flat water pool.
SoundWaves’ eating establishments haven’t been left out of the music theme. There is the Decibels, a restaurant with indoor and osutdoor eating areas, plus two outdoor food trucks and multiple bars. The Status Cymbal is an adults-only pool and bar. It is located on the top level. There are 12 rental cabanas outside as well as several inside.
SoundWaves is open only to guests of Opryland Hotel. Jessica Howard, a spokesperson for SoundWaves, said there is a separate fee for guests wanting to visit the water park while staying at the hotel. Guests may choose to go one day or the entire length of their stay. They are given a wrist band, which allows them to enter and exit on their own.”
For more information on the Gaylord Opryland project please visit our case study.