I recently returned to the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee for the 2011 Blissdom Conference. After my stay last year I was looking forward to returning- and having my family join me! Doug and the girls drove down after the conference and we spent a couple days enjoying Nashville- and the Opryland Hotel.
An Entire Resort Under One Roof
The Gaylord Opryland covers 4 million square feet. For reference that’s only slightly smaller than the Mall of America. It’s incredibly huge and it is easy to get lost in the maze of rooms. Tip: Carpets in each section are coordinated to match the section; for example, carpets in the magnolia wing have magnolias on them. Thankfully the hotel gives you a very detailed map upon check in; after a couple days you’ll feel at home.
Inside the biodome- where it’s always 72°- you’ll find gardens filled with waterfalls, gazebos and fountains; the Delta which features shops, restaurants and a river (complete with river boat ride); enough dining options to please every member of your family; and a “secret” arcade your teen can escape to.
Rooms at the Opryland are classically decorated and spacious. Our garden view room was comfortable for our family of four and featured a lovely private balcony which added the illusion of much more space. The girls loved to sit on the balcony and gaze into the garden below.
Fun at Opryland
My girls had a great time just exploring the gardens. They would stop at flowers, kneel at fountains, gaze at fish and stretch to touch waterfalls. It was like a magical faerie land.
The girls and I had gelato, met the Gaylord Bear and wandered the miles of pathways while Doug rested. Around every corner they found something else to fascinate, amaze and intrigue them. Even though it was too cool for swimming we wandered by the outdoor pool areas in the Magnolia and Cascades and imagined how nice they would be if it were warmer.
After Doug had a bit of rest we wandered down to the Delta for a river boat ride and dinner. The Delta Riverboats are replicas of the Mark Twain Mississippi flatboats. A guide narrates your quarter mile cruise, pointing out interesting trees and plants, and sharing interesting bits of trivia about the Opryland Delta. The ride is a bit pricy ($9 for adults,$7 for kids) but what other hotel offers a boat ride indoors?
After our cruise we had dinner in the Delta. At Stax Doug and I “built” our own burgers, while the girls enjoyed pizza from Pisano’s. When the musical fountain show began food was forgotten as we watched the water dance and shoot upward- almost reaching the roof of the atrium.
The Gaylord Opryland is unlike any other hotel. If you visit Nashville it should definitely be on your places to visit list- even if you don’t stay.
Quick Facts About the Gaylord Opryland
The Gaylord Opryland is not budget lodging but you can find great deals on their website. Also check out their special events throughout the year for family themed fun. I really want to visit for ICE, the annual winter interactive exhibit.
The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is the largest combined hotel and convention center under one roof in the world- if your spouse has to attend a conference there tag along and take the kids! Nashville is filled with history, music and lots of family friendly activities!