Country singer Dolly Parton announced plans to build a new $50 million water and snow theme park in Nashville, Tennessee, the likes of which don't exist anywhere in the U.S.
The new park would be the latest in Dolly Parton's growing list of tourist attractions in Tennessee, including the Dollywood theme park, the Dixie Stampede, and a water park about 190 miles away from Nashville in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains.
Annually, these parks attract approximately four million visitors.
The 114-acre park, announced Thursday, will be adjacent to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. It's projected to break ground later this year and open as early as summer 2014. The yet-to-be-named park is expected to have 500,000 visitors in its first full season and employ 450 full- and part-time employees.
Tourism is the second largest industry in Tennessee, generating more than a billion dollars in tax revenue annually and employing more than 170,000 Tennesseans, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said. This project will be a welcome addition to the wide variety of attractions and destinations across our great state, and I applaud the collaboration and spirit that has led to this announcement.
Music City has become a travel destination unlike any other in the country, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean added. The addition of this family entertainment complex near Opryland adds a critical missing piece to our tourist offerings. It provides a unique leisure attraction that will further enhance our already booming hospitality industry, which is one of our city's top private sector employers.
The theme park will provide a mix of high energy water activities for the summer season and designated snow activities for winter play, but the water-snow idea is just the first phase of the project.
We hope that some other developers with great ideas will join us for phase two of this project, Parton said on Thursday. We're saying the water and snow park are the first phase, but who knows, if we see some great ideas we could be developing the entire zone by the time the snow and water park open.
I'm so excited about this opportunity, Parton added.