One of my favorite treats to myself is to take our daughters and the four grandchildren for an overnight getaway to a place the children really enjoy.
It is so much fun to be together but with both daughters’ busy work schedules, the childrens’ camps and other commitments, it has become harder and harder to find a time and place for us to go.
With those constraints, a one-night, two-day staycation trip to the SoundWaves water attraction at Gaylord Opryland – with all of its kid friendly water features and hotel luxuries –has become our perfect summer staycation tradition.
The kiddos, who love the slides, lazy river and wave pool, have already started asking when we are going this summer.
A trip to SoundWaves is not exactly what I would call “cheap”, but with the local discount and some good planning, it really can be an affordable treat for Nashville and Tennessee residents. There is no long drive, flexible times and an assured good time for all ages.
SoundWaves is open year-round but I recommend waiting until the outdoor portions of the park are open daily, which is May 26- Aug. 13.
And I recommend researching how and when to make your trip because you cannot just show up for this experience. There are no day passes!
With SoundWaves, you either have to be a hotel overnight guest choosing a SoundWaves Experience Package, or you have to get up a group of eight to 30 friends and family and purchase a SoundWaves party room package that includes wristbands for the water attraction, pizza and parking.
Here are the offers: With the SoundWaves Experience Package, which includes a room and up to five SoundWaves wristbands, there is an up to 40% discount for Davidson County residents and up to 25% off for Tennessee residents who are planning an overnight stay with SoundWaves privileges.
For the 2023 season, package rates start at $209 for a couple or $269 for a family of four with the Davidson County discount of up to 40% (code L9Z).
With the 25% Tennessee resident discount (code M16), the starting price for a couple is $359.
There is also a select date discount of 15% off for nonresidents using the P91 code.
Planning ahead can make a difference in the total price because with the discount packages, the prices vary by date and, of course, the number of people in the room.
It is a little challenging to figure out the exact total cost because the advertised prices don’t include sales tax or resort fees or parking. Also be aware that there are some blackout dates.
If you don’t want to spend a night, the other option for locals who want to enjoy SoundWaves is to rent one of the three party rooms that are available for eight to 30 guests.
Locals can get up a group and enjoy a full day of SoundWaves fun. Reservations in 2023 start at $47 per person Monday through Friday and $70 on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
• SoundWaves is a 4-acre indoor/outdoor water resort that was added to the Gaylord Opryland complex in 2018.
• SoundWaves includes a wave pool with a giant LED movie screen, a 45-foot slide, a kids pool, rock climbing, indoor surfing, a lazy river, 11 water slides (including two thriller slides), an indoor toddler play area and two adult-only pools.
• Wristbands are not required for children 3 and under.
• The temperature inside SoundWaves is maintained at 84 degrees.
• Life jackets are available and recommended for children under 48 inches and for weak or non-swimmers.
• Towels are provided, but you might want to take your own because the hotel towels must remain inside SoundWaves.
• Don’t miss the “human dryer” near the exit where guests can walk in and get instantly warm and dry before leaving the water areas and entering the air-conditioned hotel. (It is fun and effective.)
• There are 11 water slides (five indoor and six outdoor), including thriller slides Beat Drop, where the floor drops out from under you, plunging you into the water, and the Bass Drop, which is described as a “body ride” that includes a 6-story free fall.
• The 37-foot-wide LED screen at the wave pool shows music videos.
• No outside food or drinks is allowed. Guests can bring one unopened plastic water bottle (20 ounces or smaller) per person. Personal drink containers or tumblers (e.g., Tervis, Yeti, etc.) must be emptied before entering SoundWaves.
• Children 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
*If you are active or retired military, ask about a discount. There is also an educator’s discount.
• Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is celebrating 46 years in business and now has almost 3,000 rooms and nine acres of indoor gardens in addition to SoundWaves. It remains the largest non-casino hotel in the continental United States.
• For reservations, go to www.soundwavesgo.com and use the local codes to get the discounts. To find out more about the attraction, see www.soundwavesgo.com/plan-visit-faqs.
Mary Hance, who has four decades of journalism experience in the Nashville area, writes a weekly Ms. Cheap column. She also appears on Thursdays on “Talk of the Town” on NewsChannel 5. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/mscheap.