Storyville Gardens hopes to galvanize a new generation of readers.

By Meghan Overdeep
July 01, 2021
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Attention parents and budding bookworms: a new theme park that aims to change the relationship between children and reading is coming to Tennessee.

Storyville Gardens will be a story-driven theme park with attractions inspired by books and stories from all over the world. It will use a mixture of modern technology and show-based entertainment to bring stories to life in a highly immersive "edu-taining" experience.

"The goal of the park is to ignite and foster the desire to read beyond what is necessary in the classroom," a news release states.

Storyville Gardens is the brainchild of Elde and DeLisa Guerrier, owners of full-service real estate development and investing firm Guerrier Development. The Nashville-based company is currently in the site selection process and is in active discussions with governments and private landowners in Middle Tennessee, with construction slated to begin in mid-2022.

According to DeLisa, the idea for the park was born out of poor literacy and a need for family entertainment in the region.

Storyville Gardens Rendering
Credit: Guerrier Development

"Currently in Tennessee, only 34.9 percent of students read at grade level," she said. "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 beyond what is required in the classroom."

The destination will span approximately 130 acres including the park, hotels, and over 220,000 square feet of retail, dining, and entertainment. It is being designed by Storyland Studios, one of the world's leading experience design and production studios that boasts a list of clients including Universal Studios, Disney, Marvel, LucasFilm, and Legoland.

Mel McGowan, Storyland Studios Founder and Chief Creative Officer, called the project "a truly unique concept" with a social mission that will resonate throughout the country.

"The potential for Storyville Gardens is limitless, 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," McGowan said in a news release. "The theme park industry will have never seen a park quite like this one. Tennessee families and tourists to the region are in for an experience they won't be able to get anywhere else."

Storyville Gardens is expected to announce a site before the end of 2021. For more information visit StoryvilleGardens.com.