If you follow me on social media, then you were recently barraged by photos of my daughter’s belated birthday celebration.
She was born just two days apart from one of her closest friends (well, four years and two days apart), so for the past few years, we have held a joint birthday party for them since we have similar friends.
But now that the girls are older and their birthdays are in the summer, we thought it might be fun to forgo the typical birthday party and instead have a little girls birthday weekend in Nashville at Gaylord Opryland & Opry Mills Mall.
Whenever we want to feel like we are on vacation in our own city, we go to the Gaylord Opryland Resort. It is a complete escape and sanctuary, yet still has such wonderful amenities, both inside the resort and within walking distance.
One such amenity is Opry Mills Mall. Not only is Opry Mills Tennessee’s largest outlet, value retail, shopping, dining and entertainment destination, but it also has some of our favorite eateries that we knew the girls would love to celebrate at, like Rainforest Café and Johnny Rockets.
So I reached out to Opryland, Opry Mills, and Johnny Rockets to put together the ultimate little girls birthday weekend celebration package and it did not disappoint; in fact, it exceeded our expectations. Just check out my Daily Dash announcement featuring the little girls (& Tif behind us) before we jump-started our weekend:
Before I recap our weekend, let me clarify our thinking on this:
It’s been shown that people easily spend between $100-$200 on a child’s birthday party after you account for food, location, decorations, activities and party favors.
When Tiffany and I got together and brainstormed to this, we realized that we could instead spend that money on a hotel room, fun meal out, and a gift card for the girls to do some shopping on their own.
Fortunately, all of the above mentioned organizations also loved our idea when I contacted them, so Opryland provided us with an atrium view room and breakfast in bed for the girls, Opry Mills provided us with dinner at the Rainforest Café, as well as a gift card for the girls to go shopping, and Johnny Rockets provided us with the vouchers for our birthday lunch.
Here’s a snapshot of the highlights from our Little Girls’ Birthday Weekend Celebration:
Little Girls Birthday Weekend (Nashville)
Gaylord Opryland Resort
From the moment you drive up to Gaylord Opryland, you know you are about to experience something special. Even after all the years of staying there, we still get a little bit giddy when we pull into the Cascades lobby. The four of us met up there at 3 PM, checked in and then headed up to our atrium view room located in the Delta. The girls promptly chose their bed, enjoyed the balcony, and then we set off to catch the free shuttle over to Opry Mills.
Opry Mills is literally located next to both Gaylord Opryland Resort and the Grand Ole Opry. While it is convenient enough for Nashville residents to go shopping there any time, there is something special about being able to just take the shuttle over from Opryland.
Immediately upon arriving at Opry Mills, the girls wanted to head straight to Build-a-Bear Workshop.
I thought both girls would want to build one of the new My Little Pony friends there since that’s all they have been talking about for weeks, but things changed when they saw the sale going on. Not only does Build-a-Bear Workshop currently have a large selection of animals for only $15, they also have select clothing on sale: two for $15.
Since Build-a-Bear Workshop gifted each girl with a $30 gift card, the girls realized they could build an animal and pick two outfits for that amount. (she is my daughter after all, does it surprise you that she is savings minded?)
Opry Mills Guest Services
After Build-a-Bear Workshop, we headed towards guest services near entrance 1 at Opry Mills to pick up our special gift bags, which included fun Simon Malls water bottles for the moms, plastic mason jar style cups for the girls, a coupon book with savings upwards of $300 and a gift card for the girls.
I cannot tell you how excited the girls were to get a gift card that they could spend anywhere they wanted in the entire mall! It made me wonder why I haven’t been giving out more gift cards like this one
After getting their gift cards, our little girls practically ran to eat at Rainforest Café, known for their great food, thunderstorms on the quarter hour and interactive animals.
We were treated to a huge booth right under an aquarium and we even let the girls partake in some special drinks we normally would say no to at a regular dinner. I ordered a “Frozen Ricky” in honor of my husband (a non-alcoholic blend of fruit juices served frozen and blended with orange sherbet). My daughter ordered a frozen raspberry lemonade; however, it turns out we were drinking each other’s drinks and actually liked them better than the ones we originally ordered!
The other highlight of our meal was the Volcano dessert, accompanied by servers singing happy birthday to the girls. We by no means conquered this colossal mound of brownies, ice cream and whip cream, but we certainly did our best trying!
After dinner, the girls enjoyed shopping with their gift cards at stores like Justice, Claire’s and Journey Kids (We never even made it to the Disney Store or LEGO store!). We shopped until the mall closed and were grateful to Ron, the Opry shuttle driver, who took us back to the hotel on our tired feet.
Awaiting us in our room was a special happy birthday dessert. We were still too full from dinner to enjoy it that night, so we put it in our rooms fridge and sampled it after our room service breakfast the next morning while sitting on our balcony overlooking the Delta.
Pampering at Opry Mills
The mom and daughter pairs split up in the morning, with Tiffany and Clementine choosing to take a swim in the Cascades pool and hot tub at Opryland while Kariss and I went back to Opry Mills because she wanted to shop at H&M and get her hair done (which you can do for free at the Royale kiosk).
We all met back up at 11 for the girls to get their nails done and then headed to Johnny Rockets for lunch.
You can’t beat the atmosphere of Johnny Rockets; it feels like there’s always a party going on, even when you’re not celebrating a special occasion. From the smiley face ketchup drawings to the periodic dance breaks by the servers, it’s impossible not to have fun while dining there.
Of course I had to have my favorite, vanilla milkshake, but was surprised when Tiffany ordered sweet potato fries and the girls ended up eating them all! You can’t beat the food, value and energetic service there.
Before ending our time together, we headed over to The Cosmetic Market. While they will do full makeovers if you purchase products valued at $40 or more, they were generous enough to do some light make up on the girls for free. Of course, Tiffany and I found a few products we “needed” anyway, so it all worked out in the end.
A Birthday to Remember
The weekend turned out to be so much fun and if I would have changed anything, it would have been to stay one more night at Opryland so we could have enjoyed the hotel even more (and even fit in a little more shopping!).