You can picture it. A typical hotel lobby with a few nice chairs, the front desk off the side, and the sound of light elevator music in the background. It’s nicely decorated but shortly after you arrive home, you’ll probably forget all about it.
Most of the hotels our family chooses are pretty standard and frankly unmemorable. So when I suggested we stop for a few hours to tour the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, my family looked at my with quite a bit of skepticism. But after several hours and some begging to return, I think they understood why this hotel is a destination all on its own.
The Gaylord Opryland Hotel is a sprawling resort and convention center on the northeast side of Nashville, right next to the famous Grand Ole Opry. Even if you don’t need a hotel room, this beautiful destination is worth touring when you’re visiting Music City or passing through on a road trip down I-65.
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Touring the Opryland Hotel with Kids
The hotel parking is expensive for day visitors. If you don’t mind a bit of a walk, you can park in the Opry Mills (outlet mall) parking lot. Look for the movie theater and then find the back of the convention center. There will be some small signs and a path that takes you to the hotel. We found plenty of parking and it was clear where to go. If you’re just visiting for a few hours, this should save you quite a bit of money. Check out Nashville Fun for Families’ post with lots of info and a photo of what you’re looking for when you park.
Bottom line, the Opryland Hotel is enormous! The resort is divided into various sections, each themed around a central indoor courtyard. There are maps around the hotel and some signage to help guide you but you need to pay a bit of attention to where you want to go (or just happily wander). The Delta section has the most for kids to do but we had a great time wandering through all the various sections. All are connected indoors so you don’t have go outside expect to get to the parking lot.
What to See
The Riverboat ride (yup, a real indoor boat ride) is a huge draw for kids but the prices are a little steep so plan ahead if you’d like to include this in your budget. We opted to walk around and view the various waterfalls and fountains from the pathways. In the Delta section there’s also some shopping, including a small toy store.
In the other courtyard areas, my kids loved finding the small pathways and statues that were hidden among the vegetation. Don’t miss the jumping fountains in the Cascades section. Most of the fun is just wandering from place to place and discovering what lies around each corner. Since we were in the midst of a road trip, this was a fantastic place to stretch our legs and burn some energy off.
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There are tons of restaurant options within the hotel, ranging from high-end steakhouses to creekside dining. If you’re short on time or sticking to a budget, there are a few counter service options in the Delta section.
We grabbed pizza slices and burgers and found a table near the fountains. Portions are pretty big and we were able to share several things. There’s also an Starbucks in that area if you need a little pick-me-up. If you don’t see something you like, Opry Mills next door has more family-friendly dining options as well.
Visiting the Opryland Hotel with Kids
We’d love to get a chance to come back and stay longer on our next visit. The hotel offers season celebrations like SummerFest and Country Christmas and they just recently opened a new section of the hotel with an indoor water park called Soundwaves, which looks like a fantastic getaway.
Next time you’re in Nashville, make sure to stop by and check out this unique hotel. I promise it’s unforgettable!
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