The Gaylord Opryland Hotel has a long and storied history. Initially designed to emulate a southern estate, the Opryland Hotel opened to much fanfare on Thanksgiving Day, 1977.

During the 1980s, the property expanded in size by two acres and added more than 1,200 guest rooms, a garden conservatory and waterfalls. And in the 1990s, the hotel grew again when it acquired an additional 4.5 acres and added 1,000 additional guest rooms, a huge ballroom and thousands more plants.

A devastating flood caused massive destruction in Nashville on May 2, 2010, and the Opryland Hotel was not spared. Floodwaters rose up to 10 feet in some areas of the hotel, causing guests to evacuate. The property was forced to close.

Once the water receded, the hotel underwent some renovations and reopened in grand style just six months later, on November 15, 2010.

Today, the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center is the largest non-casino hotel in the U.S. Along with 2,888 guest rooms, there are over 50,000 plants inside the nine-acre property, including tropical plants, rare international blooms and Southern species. A large staff cares for the plants, and water loops feed the plants with valves, controls and timers.

A climate-control system keeps the temperature between 68 and 72 degrees, and the relative humidity around 55 percent, perfect for plants and for a river ride.

That’s right; the Opryland Hotel is also home to a quarter-mile long Delta River, made from 1,700 river water samples from regions around the globe, including every registered river in the United States. It’s perfect for a relaxing riverboat ride.

The Delta Riverboat Company operates five Mark Twain-style Mississippi flatboats for a leisurely, 15-minute long indoor cruise, complete with a tour guide who shares interesting facts about Gaylord Opryland Resort’s history, gardens, aquatic life, entertainment and experiences.

On a Delta flatboat cruise, guests will pass sabal palms, foliage plants, delicate orchids, banana trees and more. And, if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of Danny, the 80-pound catfish who calls the Delta River “home.”

There’s much to see and enjoy. We hope you will join us at the famed Opryland Hotel for this year’s DDIFO National Conference: October 4-6.