Picture coaster tracks climbing up a vertical tower in a way that kinda mimics kudzu, but offering folks the opportunity to climb aboard for a rise-and-fall adrenaline boost.
It’s an interesting concept, for sure, and not an illogical one — for an international entertainment destination, Nashville is surprisingly short on family-focused, theme-park-style thrills. (Part of the reason why so many longtime Nashvillians still can’t get over the shuttering of Opryland USA in the late ’90s.)
We do, however, have a few places in the general vicinity that’ll offer a wild ride or two, of a sort — even if a cloud-hopping rollercoaster is still something of a dream, at least for a little while.
Here, a quick look at some of the Middle Tennessee-area (not exactly theme) parks that might keep you occupied until the Polercoaster comes to town.
Our landlocked city might not offer access to salty waves, but we do have a beloved water park, perched on Percy Priest Lake, offering “more than 1 million gallons of summer fun.” That includes giant slides, a wave pool and watery treehouse playground Kowabunga Beach. If you prefer less soggy thrills, there’s the Treetop Adventure Park, too, with zip lines and suspended bridges and other woodland adventures.
Out in Murfreesboro, GO USA offers the full spate of family-fun activities: go karts, mini golf, batting cages, video games, etc. More my speed: There’s also a driving range, in case hours of Galaga (is that still a thing?) isn’t your idea of a Saturday well spent.
In the Donelson area, right near where the dearly departed Opryland once stood, Grand Old Golf boasts having the largest go-kart race track in Middle Tennessee, plus mini-golf courses designed to mimic the Middle Tennessee landscape, rolling hills and waterfalls and all. Their professed aim is to provide “the maximum amount of fun possible," so... look out, Polercoaster.
Sensing a theme here? Our park options in the Middle Tennessee area do tend to embrace mini-golf and go-karting. But no complaints — who's against hitting a few golf balls and getting to hit the gas pedal in Nashville without any traffic? Out on the west side of town, in Bellevue, Europa has a 1,000-yard Go-Kart track and two 18-hole mini-golf courses — plus batting cages, if you’ve gotten your fill of those other popular brands of fun.
You’d be forgiven, based on the name, for assuming Strike & Spare was just a bowling place. Some of their area locations are a little more bowling-specific, others are a bunch more than that. Out in Hendersonville, in particular, you can get into Bungee Jumping, Lazer Tag, Bumper Cars and lots more. It’s not exactly a theme park, but you could definitely keep a team of kids happily occupied for a full, busy day up there. (Here's more info about the Hendersonville Family Fun Center.)
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