visiting opryland’s soundwaves water park with toddlers

A few weeks ago, we decided to do a one night staycation at the Opryland hotel to visit the Soundwaves water park! I’ve walked around the hotel a few times (mostly to see the holiday lights!) but haven’t stayed there. We’d heard amazing things about their new-ish water park that is connected to the hotel, Soundwaves, and finally decided to give it a try! Soundwaves is a “three level, indoor/outdoor, luxury water attraction” in Nashville — it’s only about 20 minutes from our house so it made for a very easy staycation. I’ll dive into more details and share a lot of photos below!

BOOKING YOUR STAY

We intentionally wanted to go on a weekday to avoid a bigger weekend crowd. We opted for a one night stay on the Tuesday after Memorial Day with a Wednesday checkout. There’s resident discounts — both for Davidson County (where we live) and Tennessee residents. Here is the page to book with a resident offer. We didn’t have any issues booking online, but I’ve heard it’s easy to also call them and book directly that way.

From what I understand, you can only access Soundwaves if you are a hotel guest or if you book a birthday party package. We booked a one night hotel stay and indicated online we needed four Soundwaves passes. It ended up being around $350, which for a hotel stay in Nashville plus four, two-day water park tickets isn’t too bad! This also included our onsite parking. You are able to access Soundwaves both days of your reservation, so for us, that meant we could be at the water park all day Tuesday AND Wednesday.

DAY-OF LOGISTICS

Our Soundwaves wristbands were mailed to us and Eric checked into our hotel on the Mariott app. Given we had Soundwaves access at opening on Tuesday, we decided to get there right around opening at 10am.  I knew we could leave your luggage at the front desk and pick them up when the hotel room is ready (check-in says 4pm).We planned to ask for early check-in, hoping we could get in around 12/1pm for naps. And if our room wasn’t ready by then…it wouldn’t be great re: naps (see below section “Managing Kids Schedules”) but we’d just try to go with the flow. When we arrived, we found out our room was already ready at 10am (!!) so that was AWESOME. We dropped our bags off, called down for a crib for Winnie, and headed to the water park!

On Wednesday, check-out was at 12pm and we wanted to be home for the girls’ naps around 1pm. So we went to the water park right when it opened at 10am and stayed until 11:30am. Then, we packed up our room and headed to the car. Easy! I read somewhere that the Soundwaves wristband stops working at 12pm on the day you checkout, but as long as you stay within Soundwaves, you are good to go to use the water park all day.

WHAT TO PACK

For the hotel stay, we packed a small suitcase with clothes, toiletries, and pajamas, as well as snacks. The hotel rooms have a mini fridge, so that was really helpful for storing fruit, pouches, milk, etc. I also had a beach bag I used for the water park specifically. We packed our water bottles, sunscreen, an extra swim diaper. I’m REALLY glad we brought our travel stroller for this trip, because there was A LOT of walking. We didn’t use the stroller when going from different attractions within Soundwaves, outside of entering/exiting the water park area. BUT there’s a lot of walking from hotel room to Soundwaves, and it was just very useful to have.

You don’t need to bring towels or life jackets — they have those readily available for you!

THE WATER PARK: WHAT TO DO

Both girls loved going on the lazy river (“Down Tempo Lazy River”) with rafts and lifejackets. We went on this probably 20 times! There was also a faster “Up Tempo Lazy River” (no rafts) that was fun, but the girls didn’t love as much. The main area we spent time in as on the top level where they have an area just for kids called the Half Note Cove. There’s small and medium slides, areas to climb, and shallow water to play in. Right next to this area is the Quarter Note Cove which is basically a splash pad for younger kids.  Both are pictured below! It was really nice that this area was sort of separate from the main indoor space. It was less busy up there, and felt really manageable to watch and play with the girls in these areas. There’s a family bathroom right next to this area which is super convenient also.

Lucy also played in what is called the “Groovin’ Lagoon Activity Pool” which is basically a massive pool with basketball hoops, a climbing wall, a lily pad jumping activity, and more. Lucy LOVED the lily pad thing especially.

We didn’t spend much time outside because it was overcast and the water was slightly chillier, but there’s a massive kids play structure out there (“Rising Stars Stage”) with slides, shallow water, splash pad areas, etc. We did go in the wave pool (“Tidal Track Wave Pool“) which was super fun! On a sunnier day, I  think we would have spent a lot more time out here. The girls liked being held and jumping in the waves.

Here’s where you can learn about all of the Soundwaves attractions. There’s of course lots of things for ‘big kids’ and adults to do — I’m just not going to go into those because we didn’t really “do” them during our stay. E and I individually did try out a big water slide which was fun! There are several different types of slides both inside and out that looked super fun. There are also adults-only areas with a pool and bar both inside and out.

MANAGING KIDS SCHEDULES

On travel days or days where we’re doing a big activity, I  try to lower my expectations about what the day is going to look like and have a little more flexibility about schedules. As mentioned earlier, we were hoping our room would be ready by nap time and thankfully it was! So, we went to the water park in the morning (about 10:30am – 12:30pm) and then went back to our room for a snack lunch and then put the girls down for their nap. After their nap, we went back to Soundwaves (about 2:30/3 – 5pm). Obviously, with older kids, you wouldn’t need to worry about naps and they can also stay up a lot later! Our girls go to bed pretty early, so we wrapped up the day earlier. Soundwaves is open until 8pm though! The girls went to bed around 7/7:30pm and Eric and I  just sat on our little balcony and hung out until we were ready to go to bed. The interior-facing rooms have a view of the gorgeous, plant-filled Opryland atrium (see below!) so it’s sort of like sitting outside on a patio. This is our first time staying in a hotel with both girls and we both agreed that for hotel stays, having a balcony or patio or just a little area to go to while kids are sleeping is crucial!

MEALS + SNACKS

I read online you couldn’t bring outside food and beverages inside Soundwaves, but I  saw other people do it! We just brought our water bottles though, and ordered a snack from the restaurant right inside Soundwaves. Since we went back to our room mid-day for naptime, there wasn’t a long stretch of time where the girls were hungry. There’s seasonal food trucks near the outdoor water attractions, and a restaurant inside. More details here! In Opryland hotel, there are a bunch of restaurants in the different areas, ranging from food court style to upscale casual to fine dining. We ate dinner at one restaurant inside of the hotel on Tuesday night, but honestly, I wish we would have just ate inside Soundwaves because the main hotel was just busy with hotel guests. I have friends who did to-go pizza inside the hotel and sat next to the fountain light show — that sounds like it would be a huge hit with kids! Other people have brought their own food and just ate in hotel room a picnic/snack-style dinner.

Q&A

 

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