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New Storyville Gardens Theme Park Coming to Nashville
The park will break ground in 2022
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Welcome to story time, Nashville style – with a new interactive and story-driven theme park. A new 130-acre theme park, called Storyville Gardens, is coming to the Nashville area with construction scheduled to start midway through 2022.

Along with the theme park itself there be entertainment, dining, shopping, and more than one hotel, or as DeLisa Guerrier, managing partner of the new venture attests, “It's truly a destination.”

The future park's website explains “With the intent to challenge the literacy statistics, Storyville is designed to ignite the desire to read beyond what is required in a classroom from toddlers to teens and adults alike.”

The website goes on to note that the interactive experience will be driven by the imagination and a sense of “adventure, fantasy and fun…a majestic place that enriches the life of an entire community through all forms of storytelling.”

Stemming from a concept by Elde and DeLisa Guerrier, owners of Nashville-based Guerrier Development, a real estate and investment firm in Nashville, the park is all about its mission to help kids and young adults discover and/or rediscover a love of reading.

DeLisa Guerrier rightfully considers this love of reading essential, citing studies that show presently in Tennessee that “only 34.9 percent of students read at grade level…as a state, we can do so much better. While Storyville Gardens represents a significant economic opportunity for investors and the community where it will eventually be located, its mission is also to help jump start a movement where children in our state embrace and enjoy reading…”

Both fun and inspirational, Guerrier believes the park and its adjunct attractions will also fill in a gap in the entertainment attractions in the area, saying that “Nashville and the surrounding counties are missing family-friendly entertainment options…”

To bring the design of the park to light, the company is going with Storyland Studios, which worked with Universal Studios Orlando on the Hogwarts Express Harry Potter attraction, as well as with Marvel, and Legoland waterpark theming, where ships, bridge, and ride platform were created to be completely faithful with the LEGO brand. The company has a background with the Walt Disney Company and Walt Disney Imagineering as well, and their chief strategy officer and head of global clients, Ben Thompson, expresses the company's excitement at creating “an unforgettable experience that ignites an insatiable love of reading and story in the next generation of children.”

The plan is for Storyville Gardens to combine a number of “edutainment” experiences with more traditional show-based attractions and of course, state-of-the-art, innovative technology.

Storyland Studio founder Mel McGowan attests that the Storyville Gardens project affords limitless potential “both in terms of its ability to become a global attraction as well as its expected impact on children and families that will embrace reading and stories through world-class, experiential attractions.”

He believes the park will be a unique one compared to other theme parks and be a first for the region, creating a draw that far exceeds the regional audience.

According to Elde Guerier, “There is a great deal of excitement and energy around Storyville Gardens, [it] will utilize technology to engage children in a way they understand and expect.”

While definitely planned for the greater Nashville area, the company is still in process of selecting the final site for Storyville Gardens, which will be announced by the end of 2021, with an opening for the park expected to come in spring of 2025.

According to DeLisa Guerrier, the company is extremely committed to the idea of stimulating a love of reading and increasing literacy throughout the entire state. The themes in each global region of the park will be based on “world-books and stories from across continents.”

While the family's original idea for a theme park started off small, when the Guerriers discovered Nashville once had a successful larger theme park that is no longer operating, they began to think on a.larger scale.

The plan is for Storyville Gardens to include some 26 rides throughout the park, including indoor and outdoor attractions as well as water rides. Regardless of the ride type, the theme that will remain throughout is a kind of pop-up book experience according to DeLisa Guerrier, one in which attendees can “engage with the stories and see the words come to life.

She projects great experiences ahead for families who will be attending the park, the construction on which is expected to run approximately $300 million. The company's funding is already secure, and creative development is proceeding apace.

DeLisa Guerrier stresses that “…we all need to get creative and hands-on with truly making a difference with the trajectory that things are going with children and literacy.”
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