Curious Nashville | Nashville Public Radio

Curious Nashville

RetroLand U.S.A. via Flickr

Twenty years ago, Nashville had a theme park.

Opryland USA sat in a curve of the Cumberland River now home to a giant mall. It had roller coasters, Southern-themed restaurants and live country music revues. Memories of rides like the Screamin’ Delta Demon are still traded like gold among longtime Nashvillians — as are the rumors of why it all went away.

Daniel Potter / WPLN

There were rumors about sharks swimming in city waters after Hurricane Harvey, and urban legends about alligators in New York City sewers have been around for years.

But listener Sarah Stephenson has a question about another predator that allegedly lives in Music City:

“I have heard that during the 2010 floods, the Aquarium restaurant at Opry Mills lost a piranha or a barracuda. Is there any way to confirm?”

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Every weekday morning, public radio listeners across Middle Tennessee tune in to the dulcet voice of WPLN morning host Jason Moon Wilkins. Presumably, when they hear him, most listeners are interested in the news he's sharing and the local stories he's playing. But eventually, one anonymous listener started wondering about Jason Moon Wilkins himself, submitting this Curious Nashville question:

If Jason Moon Wilkins was in a line arranged alphabetically by last name for the rope climb in gym class, is he in the middle or at the end?

In bright yellow polo shirts, and often gliding through crowds on motorized Segways, the downtown Nashville “ambassadors” are easy to spot. And they’re seemingly omnipresent — working 16 hours a day, every day.

Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

What happens when you adapt a podcast episode into a puppet show?

Curious Nashville magic, that's what.

In May, we hosted a celebration of Nashville Public Radio's podcasts — called Podcast Party (fittingly) — at the Nashville Children's Theater. We teamed up with local puppeteers to produce a live animated version of one of our Curious Nashville episodes, The Life And Death Of An Old House In Boomtown.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

Visitors to the Tennessee State Capitol are often struck by the murals that adorn the reception area of the governor's office.

Protesters who gathered outside the office in August to demand the removal of the bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest certainly were. During the demonstration, some were caught off guard by one of the murals, and within hours, a question about it had been submitted to Curious Nashville:

Nashville demographic trends chart
Metro Planning Department

It’s not every day that a Curious Nashville question requests statistical analysis — as history questions are most common — but David Stricklin wonders:

What are current demographics compared to 25 years ago?

Lock One Park Nashville
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Lock One Park may be one of Nashville’s smallest parks, but it combines easy access to the Cumberland River with a surprising skyline view — and early 1900s stone ruins that lend an air of mystery.

edgehill polar bear
ENVA

Among Nashville’s neighborhood oddities, the polar bear statues in Edgehill can definitely turn heads. And while the history of the sculptures at Wedgewood and 12th Avenue South is relatively easy to trace, WPLN listener Mary Gingrass opened the door to a more contemporary answer by wording her Curious Nashville question this way:

Why is a BEAR the “logo” for Edgehill area?

Naval Reserve Training Center East Nashville Shelby Park
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

The ship-shaped former Naval Reserve Training Center received historic landmark status in 2015, but its story doesn’t end there.

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