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Gordon Bombay

Anyone Remember Opryland?

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Hi folks, 

Bit of a random post here, but curious if the vast knowledge of KIC might know. Years ago, there was a trip report on here where someone stopped by what little remained of Opryland, Nashville's former seasonal park that was demolished to make room for a mall. All that remained was the trough and fake rocks of "Grizzly River Rampage," an Intamin water rapids ride similar to KI's White Water Canyon. You can see some photographs of those remains here: https://www.coaster101.com/2011/01/07/opryland-usa-themepark-remnants/

I was in Nashville recently and decided to swing by and see if anything was left. Unfortunately, all the fake rocks and trough appear to be gone, but I was wondering if anyone might know something. The pedestrian bridge that's there has a feel very similar to theming of WWC and an electrical box nearby seemed like it might have been from the ride. For some reason, I really want to know if in fact this bridge was part of the queue and if this box was once part of the ride. 

Photos:
Nashville_008.jpg

Anyone know for sure if in fact, this was part of Opryland/Grizzly River Rampage? According to aerial views, that pedestrian bridge may have been part of the ride. I think. 

Random question, I know, but if anyone knows for sure - I'd be so appreciative. 

 

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I do not remember the park to much at this point. I do remember riding Chaos several times each visit. Loved that coaster!

Sorry I can not help you here, but anxious to know as well.

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16 hours ago, IndyGuy4KI said:

I do remember riding Chaos several times each visit. Loved that coaster!

Such an oddly themed ride for a park centered-around Country music, haha.

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1 minute ago, Gordon Bombay said:

Such an oddly themed ride for a park centered-around Country music, haha.

Please aboard quickly, your time is running out. They forgot to add: to get to the Grand ole Opry.

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One of rides at Original Ky Kingdom was similar I thought to a ride at Opry. 

 

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2 hours ago, westcoaster said:

One of rides at Original Ky Kingdom was similar I thought to a ride at Opry. 

 

You're probably thinking of StarChaser.  

Starchaser at KK was an indoor Schwarzkopf Jet Star coaster.  It opened with the park, and operated until 1995.  2 cars collided in 1994 injuring several people and lawsuits ensued. The ride was sold to Darien Lake, then moved to Great Escape.  It was demolished in 2006.

Chaos at Opryland was a Vekoma Illusion coaster.  It was one of only two ever built.  It was added in 1989 and closed with the park in 1997.  It was dismantled, purchased by Six Flags, and stored at Old Indiana Park with the intention to re-construct it when they converted the park into a Six Flags property.  That never happened, the land sold and eventually it was scrapped along with the other rides stored there.

The two were similar, in the aspect that they were indoors, in the dark, and used special lighting and projection effects.  But that's it.

BTW - side note - the Tin Lizzies Antique cars at Kentucky Kingdom came from Opryland.  Ed Hart purchased them for KK in 1995 prior to Opryland closing. (I'm pretty sure the Tin Lizzies were removed from Opryalnd to make way for "Hangman" a Vekoma SLC.)

Oh - also, there's always been a rumor that the "Ghost Ballet" sculpture in downtown Nashville is made from the inversions of the former Wabash Cannonball.  That is untrue.  The art piece is a unique sculpture, the Cannonball was one of the rides stored at Old Indiana that eventually got scrapped.

Back to the original topic... I went to Opryland just as "Opry Mills" mall was being completed.  The back half of Opryland was still in a state of demolition.  The Grizzly River Rampage trough was still intact with all rock work.  The pumps were even still there at that point.  The pumps were purchased (along with the other rides) by Six Flags and stored in Indiana until they were used to build "Penguins Blizzard River" at Kentucky Kingdom in 1999.  The bridge in question was there, and was originally part of the entrance/queue for the ride.  GRR was one of the "larger" versions of the Water Rapids Attractions popular at the time.  The boats held 12 persons each - twice as many as KI's WWC.  Because of that, the water trough was extremely wide.  The boats are still in operation today - at Six Flags Over Texas.  (They were first used at SF Astroworld until it closed in 2005.)

I think the remains of GRR finally went kaput around 2010 when they expanded the Gaylord resort.  I believe they also demolished the old CMT/Nashville studios at the same time.  For you older folks (like me) those studios were noteworthy because that's where "Hee Haw" was filmed.

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I visited the Gaylord Opryland Resort and the Opry Mills Mall back in 2007 when there were still remnants of the raft ride. Here are some pictures of the abandoned troughs I took.

P7070248.JPG

P7070249.JPG

P7070250.JPG

P7070252.JPG

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Very cool pictures.  Thanks for sharing those!

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On 6/2/2020 at 2:55 PM, Shaggy said:

The bridge in question was there, and was originally part of the entrance/queue for the ride.  

Hey @Shaggy, just clarifying—this is in reference to the bridge seen in my above photograph from 2018, correct?

So, even with...

I think the remains of GRR finally went kaput around 2010 when they expanded the Gaylord resort.



...that would mean the bridge is the last remaining structure from the ride?

Just want to make sure I'm understanding clearly. Thanks!

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Is this highlighted path the one that you photographed, @Gordon Bombay?

Opry_new_path.JPG

I don't really know Opryland history, but based off this 1997 aerial and the few retro images of the rapids ride I can find I wonder if the path wasn't a part of the ride, but instead just a nearby pathway toward the resort.

opry_path.JPG 

The white part to the right of the highlighted path is the rapid ride's trough, and the ride's station is the box shape below the reservoir in the center.

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So, I originally thought it had been part of the queue - but it does appear that it was a separate pathway.  If you look closely in the aerials above, you can see the queue winding around in the trees near the bridge in question.  Of note - there was, if I recall, an exit bridge to the left of the station and I think that's what I remembered.  If memory serves me, the station was one where the boats loaded via a conveyor belt... like Kings Dominion's does.  It did not use a turntable like Kings Island's.

Thanks for catching that Ty!

Editorial...

What happened to Opryland USA is really a devastating thing.  It was a fun (albeit smaller) park, that had a great reputation with its guests, filled a niche and appealed to families.  It was completely profitable and served as a "destination" for the state.  The carpet was literally ripped from under its feet in a power move by a new CEO.  Nashville still mourns the loss of it.  I remember when I heard/read the news (back then there were no websites on par with today's - just news reports and Amusement Business Magazine trade papers) and plans to demolish of its immediate closure - my jaw hit the floor.    Why, just the season prior, they had added their largest thrill attraction. 

It taught me that no park, no matter how big or small... thriving or not... can be gone in a flash.  Oh its happened to others... like Boardwalk and Baseball etc.... but Opryland's demolition was especially shocking.

 

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50 minutes ago, Shaggy said:

What happened to Opryland USA is really a devastating thing.  It was a fun (albeit smaller) park that had a great reputation with its guests, filled a niche and appealed to families.  The carpet was literally ripped from under its feet and Nashville still mourns the loss of it.  I remember when I heard/read the news (back then there were no websites - just news reports and Amusement Business Magazine) and plans to demolish of its immediate closure - my jaw hit the floor.    Why, just the season prior, they had added their largest thrill attraction.

When I drove up to Nashville last summer I remember seeing billboards around the city for Dollywood, Holiday World, Kentucky Kingdom, Lake Winnie... as if Nashville would benefit from having an amusement park of its own :rolleyes:

There was a proposal for a new park in the early 2000s, "Thrillopolis". Ed Hart (who later revived Kentucky Kingdom) was involved in the project.

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46 minutes ago, TombraiderTy said:

When I drove up to Nashville last summer I remember seeing billboards around the city for Dollywood, Holiday World, Kentucky Kingdom, Lake Winnie... as if Nashville would benefit from having an amusement park of its own :rolleyes:

There was a proposal for a new park in the early 2000s, "Thrillopolis". Ed Hart (who later revived Kentucky Kingdom) was involved in the project.

I do remember that - I think they spec'd a site located across the interstate near the Gaylord at some point.

Also, not sure of the timing, but Dolly Parton had also looked into partnering to build a park in the area as well.  But then Gaylord sold the hotel and she backed out.

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I remember seeing actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth, known for her Broadway role as Galenda in 'Wicked' performing in an Opryland show called Way Out West. They had some great shows. I'd travel to Nashville two or three times every summer in the 1980's to visit Opryland. 

 

 

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