When I was a kid, I absolutely loved going to Opryland USA in Nashville.  As an adult, I still miss it.  The park closed for good on December 31st, 1997.  Nearly 25 years later, I still carry so many wonderful memories about that place.  As a matter of fact, I still have an Opryland ticket stub from 1989.

Opryland opened on May 27th, 1972.  It was billed as the "Home of American Music" and was just as popular for the talent in its many live music shows as it was for its rides, attractions, games and food.  And, look. I'll admit it.  As a kid, we didn't really care much about the shows, though our parents and grandparents built their days at the park around them.  For us, Opryland was about the rides!

I remember being scared to get on the Wabash Cannonball because it went upside down.  But I also remember riding it, finally, for the first time and loving it when I did.  I remember going with my friend Kevin and his parents (Bill and Sue Morris).  We rode rides all day long, but closed out the night riding the Grizzly River Rampage over and over and over.  We climbed into their car to drive home to Owensboro (a two-hour drive, I might add) completely soaked.  I remember going to Opryland with friends in high school.  I remember going back when I was in college and riding The Hangman for the first time ever.  That was my first time ever on a suspended coaster that turned up and over the tracks.  It was that very same trip that I ate a Spamburger at one of Opryland's food kiosks that served, well, Spam!

For kids growing up in Kentucky and Tennessee, Opryland USA was EVERYTHING: the mascots (remember Johnny Guitar, Jose Mandolin, Yancey Banjo, Delilah Dulcimer, Barney Bass and Frankie Fiddle?), the corn dogs, the shows, the Skee Ball, the petting zoo with the chicken that played Tic Tac Toe, and, of course, the rides!

So, nearly a quarter of a century after the park closed, here it is.  This has been a long time coming.  I have gone way back in the memory bank to put together a list of the Top 20 Rides and Attractions at Opryland USA.  You may agree with the order of the list or you may have liked certain rides more that I did and would have ranked them differently.  It's all good.  This is really my love letter to one of the most magical theme parks I have ever visited.  Take a look and see which of these you remember!  If you loved Opryland as much as I did, this is going to be a fun ride down the Briley Parkway.

The 20 Best Rides and Attractions at Opryland [RANKED]

Here's my list of the best rides and attractions at Opryland USA in Nashville, TN!

While researching for this tribute, I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole.  But, I am so glad I did.  I managed to find some great footage from some of Opryland's most popular and iconic rides.  Take a look!  These videos are going to bring back some thrilling memories.

 GRIZZLY RIVER RAMPAGE

 SCREAMING DELTA DEMON

WABASH CANNONBALL

THE HANGMAN

FLUME ZOOM (DULCIMER SPLASH)

CHAOS

And, if you have an hour and want to learn more about Opryland USA from the folks behind the scenes, check out this Opryland feature from Nashville Public Television.  You'll learn about the history of the park and see some exclusive footage on many of the park's rides.

 

Photos from The Great Cheetah Chase Race

The finals of The Great Cheetah Chase Race were thrilling at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari. teams from 92.5 WBKR, 99.5 WKDQ and MY 105.3 went head-to-head in an NCAA tournament-inspired bracket aboard Cheetah Chase, the world's first launch water coaster. Here are some photos from the event!

SEE: Have You Ever Heard of the Abandoned Amusement Park in Downtown Gatlinburg?

Gatlinburg is home to an abandoned amusement park and we have photos.