Celebrate a different season at Gaylord Opryland this summer.
If you live in Middle Tennessee, you probably think about Gaylord Opryland as a place to entertain out of town guests and as the place where you go every Christmas season to see lights and shows. But this year, consider a new time and reason to visit…SUMMERFEST! This event runs from May 27 – September 5, 2016 and includes lots of special events. Some of these events are only for registered hotel guests but many of them are open to those of us who are ‘day-trippers’.
Mowgli’s Mission Scavenger Hunt is a fun game to play inside the hotel and garden. Participants receive a jungle map filled with clues and puzzles that lead them on a Jungle Book themed adventure. My kids are 13 and 14 years old so I honestly thought they might be too old. I was surprised that they really enjoyed it. The hunt takes you all over the indoor gardens and ,even with older kids who could guess most of the clues, it took us over an hour to complete. Kids 12 and under will definitely enjoy this hunt but take the teens too! We visited on a stormy day and it was a fun way to wait out the storm.
Mowgli’s Mission Scavenger Hunt is $12 per guide. (No charge for non playing attendees.) Purchase your hunt in the Cascades Lobby or online.
Another fun option at Summerfest is the guided Hotel and Garden tour. I’ve been going to Gaylord Opryland for a few decades. I even spent my honeymoon there! But I have never taken a guided tour. I learned so much about the history of the hotel and how the garden was built. The tour lasts about 45 minutes and does involve quite a bit of walking but it’s done at a leisurely pace. The guided hotel and garden tours are given daily at 3PM, 4PM and 5PM. The tour admission is $5 per person. Purchase tickets online at this link.
Ready for a rest after all that walking? Consider a relaxing ride on the Delta. The Jungle Riverboat Cruise departs from the Delta Atrium. Cruise down the 1/4 mile long indoor river that runs throughout the gardens. This cruise features 3D glasses that are as fun for adults as they are for kids. The Jungle Riverboat Cruise runs Monday – Thursday from 4-8PM and Friday & Saturday from 4-9PM. Tickets are $12 for people age 12 & up and $10 for Children age 4-11. Online tickets at this link.
If you are staying as a hotel guest, you can enjoy the SoBe Splash Party at the Cascades Outdoor Pool. Every Friday – Sunday from 2-6PM, there will be games, a DJ, contests and more at the pool. Admission is free for hotel guests.
Make plans to see the Sounds of Summer Fountain Show during your visit to Gaylord Opryland. The Delta Fountain is always a favorite stop when we visit. This new show features some of your favorite songs of summer. The show happens each night at 6PM and 8PM and, as always, it’s free.
If you have a budding chef in the family, consider the Junior Chef Camp offered at Summerfest. Every Sunday from May 29 – September 4, kids can learn to make pizza from scratch. They will also learn how to plate and serve their creations to 2 family members when their meal is complete. Register in advance at this link. The price is $34.99 and additional guests are $14.99 each.
Summerfest also features live music at venues throughout the hotel complex. Ask the concierge when you visit and they can tell you the times and locations available on the day of your visit. On the weekends (Friday -Sunday from 1-5PM) strolling entertainment can be found in the Cascades and Delta Atrium. And don’t miss the family movies! Every night at 7PM, see a screening of a G or PG rated movie in the alcove past the Delta Island escalators.
Last but not least, make sure to stop at the Learning Log in the Delta Atrium. Kids can crawl (or walk!) through this giant log and see lots of creatures in the terrariums inside. The Learning Log is open Sunday – Thursday 10AM – 8PM and Friday-Saturday 10AM – 9PM.
So now that you know about all the fun, here’s a sample itinerary to maximize your Summerfest fun.
Arrive at 2:30PM for Mowgli’s Mission Scavenger Hunt
3:30 PM Ride the Jungle Riverboat Cruise
4PM Take the Hotel & Garden Tour
If you have little kids, that’s probably about all the fun you can stand. But if you want to keep the fun going…
5PM Dinner at a hotel restaurant (We love Solario Cantina – Try the brownie for dessert. Trust me!)
6PM Watch the Sounds of Summer Fountain show
6:30PM Investigate the Learning Log
7PM – Watch the free Family Movie
However you plan your visit, you’re sure to have some fun at Gaylord Opryland’s Summerfest. Whether you choose to participate in all the activities or just a few, this can be a great option to escape the heat (or rain!) this summer.
Family Fun Facts
May 27 – September 5, 2016
Hours and pricing vary
Disclosure: We were given free admission to this event so could share our experience with you!
Rachel is a Middle Tennessee native, born and raised in the Nashville area and having lived in Hendersonville, Murfreesboro, and Mount Juliet. She is mom to 3, step mom to 4 and Grandma to one (so far!)