My kids’ current obsession is with water: swimming in it, playing with it, it doesn’t matter — they just want to be around the wet stuff. This water obsession led us to plan an early spring-break weekend road trip to Nashville, Tennessee to visit Soundwaves, the brand-new indoor water park at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.
84-degrees indoor waterpark
Though the weather called for brisk 40-degree temps in Nashville, it didn’t matter to us, because once we stepped inside Soundwaves, we were surrounded by tropical climate: it’s 84 degrees and balmy every day inside the four-acre, three-story water park! We felt like we had stepped into a tropical oasis.
Soundwaves is massive
Let’s get one thing established at the get-go: Soundwaves is massive! When we walked into the indoor water park, we had to stop to just look around at everything. Because we had young kids with us, we headed straight to the kid and toddler areas, which are in their own section of the water park. Quarter Note Cove is where we found a big splash pad — designed for babies and toddlers — which has multiple water features, such as sprinklers, bubblers and sprays, as well as riding toys and a small slide. My youngest had the most fun here just splashing and playing pretend in the ankle-deep water.
For my bigger kid, we visited Half Note Cove, which is a multi-level water playground designed for young children that’s adjacent to the splash pad. This play area has two water slides (one small one for the tiny tots, and one bigger tube-shaped slide for those who are more adventurous), water squirters that shoot water from a tower, and the thing that will get you drenched: an enormous bucket that slowly fills up, then pours water down in a waterfall. My oldest loved to stand under the bucket in anticipation of the giant tsunami of water. He always acted surprised when it rained down on him (although I’m not sure why — hello, son, you’re standing right under a bucket of water!)!
Great for big kids and toddlers
One of the great things about the kid and toddler area is that there are lots of chairs to sit in and relax. The area is also open and bright, so it’s easy to see your child playing from almost anywhere that you lie. That’s a big bonus for this mom! As you’re enjoying your spot from your seat, look up: You’ll notice that the roof is made mostly from glass, as are the walls, so the beautiful sun shines through indoors. You can get your Vitamin D from the sun while watching your kiddo play!
Groovin’ Lagoon Activity Pool
We moved over to the Groovin’ Lagoon Activity Pool, which is another kid-friendly section of the water park. In this fun-for-all-ages area, we got to practice our balancing skills on the rock climbing wall, hopped like a frog at the lily pad walk, shot some hoops in the water basketball court and swam through a 30-foot-wide water curtain.
After a non-stop go-go-go activity, we needed to take a little relaxation break. So, we headed to the Down Tempo Lazy River, where we grabbed an inflated tube and floated down a relaxing stream, through a cavernous rock feature lit up with LED lights. You can choose to float by yourself on a one-person tube or double up the fun on a two-person tube. If you’re looking for a more invigorating river experience, head to the Up Tempo Rapid River, where you can zip along the faster-moving stream, complete with waterfalls and spray features.
Not just for kids
Lest you think Soundwaves is all about young kids — it’s not. During our visit, we hit all the areas that were perfect for our kiddos, but there were lots of water features that we didn’t get to try … but hopefully we’ll try again at a future visit when my kids are a little older. These included three giant tube slides — one even sends you spiraling into the pitch black! — And a raft ride for up to five people that sends you through a vortex of loops and lights set to music. The Crowd Surfer (a double FlowRider that lets two people surf at once) was another water feature that we opted out of because of age. However, I did see a young kid hanging ten on the Crowd Surfer while I was there! You go, little guy!
While Soundwaves was built for maximum family fun, there are times when you want some pool time sans kids. That’s OK! Status Cymbal, an adults-only pool and bar section of the park, has an infinity pool and lounge areas that overlook the rest of the water park. This 18-and-over area is a nice place to relax and recharge away from the activity below.
It’s an indoor and outdoor water park
Soundwaves is both an indoor and outdoor water park — the outdoor areas open in May 2019. Though our visit this time included exploring only the indoor parts of the water park, we could have easily spent the whole weekend having fun indoors. We’re excited to come back when the weather is warmer to explore the outdoor areas, too!
Know Before You visit Soundwaves
If you’re planning a trip to Soundwaves, here are some important things to know to make your stay go smoothly:
- Soundwaves is available only to guests who stay at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. Soundwaves limits the number of people at their water park each day, so booking your Soundwaves ticket online before you show up is the best way to ensure your admission.
- You can bring your own food into Soundwaves, as long the food was purchased inside the Gaylord Opryland Resort. If you’d rather not lug around your own food, there is a restaurant inside Soundwaves where you can purchase snacks, sandwiches and beverages.
- For tots who aren’t yet potty trained, swim diapers are required when going into the water.
- Bring sunscreen! Soundwaves’ glass roof and glass walls let in the beautiful sunshine (and not-so-beautiful UV rays), so although the water park is indoors, sunscreen is still recommended.
- Life jackets and towels are provided free of charge to Soundwaves guests, so you don’t have to bring your own.