31 Days of Nashville – Memories of Opryland

7 Opryland

Once a week I’m going to post about a memory I have of Nashville. I wish I could say that Opryland is more than just a memory and that you could enjoy some amusement park fun, but Opryland closed it’s gates for the last time in 1997 and Opry Mills mall took it’s place a few years later.

I’m far from the only Nashville native who wishes we still had a theme park instead of a mall. I have many fond memories of summer days spent riding the Wabash Cannonball, Grizzly River Rampage and Flume Zoom (known to the kids as the Log Ride), then ending the day with a funnel cake. I remember driving the Tin Lizzies as a kid and thinking how cool it was to be driving a car! And how cool was it to ride the Sky Ride high in the sky to get to the other side of the park.

Then later, they started adding bigger rides like Chaos, The Screaming Delta Demon and the Hangman. These arrived in just the right time of my life as a teenager excited to ride bigger and better rides with even more adrenaline rush thrills.

Even better than going once or twice a year was getting a Season Pass. My home church took the youth group once a week, which allowed us the freedom to roam the park to our heart’s desire, as long as we were back on the bus by the end of the day.

When the powers that be decided to close Opryland and turn it into a mall, it seemed like no one in Nashville supported this crazy idea. We already had malls but no other theme park. Why did we need yet another mall.

Almost 20 years later, most residents still feel this way, and last year we almost got our wish when Dolly Parton announced that she was going to buy the land across from Opry Mills and turn it into a theme park similar to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. This was exciting news for me and most everyone else in Nashville, but the deal fell through, and Dolly backed out.

We still hope Dolly or someone else will revisit the idea and that one day Nashville will be home to another theme park, but for now we’ll just have to live the with awesome memories and experiences we had at Opryland.

Did you ever visit Opryland when it was still a theme park? What was your favorite ride or favorite memory? 

This post is part of a series I am writing, 31 Days of Nashville, where I am introducing several awesome places that make Nashville a great place to live and visit. Each day of the week has a different theme, and I am trying to focus on those hidden gems that aren’t as well known but just as worthy. 

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