It was a sad day for Middle Tennessee families when Opryland Theme Park closed permanently on Dec. 31, 1997. Granted, there were some tacky aspects to Opryland, but that was part of the charm. At least there was a theme park here in town. A place fun for families to spend a day.
For years, a lot of folks in these parts, myself included, have whined, wailed, moaned and groaned about how this city needs another theme park … not only for fun entertainment, but the economical advantages it would bring back to our city.
Well, whine and cry no more! It was so exciting that the great Dolly Parton was in town last month during her 66th birthday, and spent a bit of it making headlines when she announced her Dollywood Company is teaming up with Gaylord Opryland to open a $50 million, 114-acre water and snow park — the first of its kind — here in Nashville, located adjacent to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.
Boasting high-energy water activities during the summer months, and snow activities during cold weather months, you can bet that with Dolly’s involvement, it’s gonna rock! She undoubtedly knows how to entertain like no one else. Now, the hard part is going to be exercising patience as the park’s opening is slated for spring 2014 (groundbreaking is due later this year or beginning of 2013), but it sure is nice to have something so great and exciting to look forward to.
What’s more, the two entities are putting their heads together to bring live entertainment to the fold. “I’m so excited about this opportunity,” says Dolly. “We’re all working on new types of entertainment to do in the daytime and nighttime for the whole family.”
So, thank you, Dolly for coming to the rescue and bringing something big and grand back to Nashville. We’ve all been desperately chomping at the bit since 1998!
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Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.