Once Upon A Time in Nashville, Tennessee, there was a legendary grizzly bear who lived in the Opryland amusement park.
According to advertisements and merchandise for Grizzly River Rampage, the bear would emerge from the rapids to terrify raft riders.
Of course, this scene never actually existed in the ride, which opened at Opryland in 1982. Amusement Parks are notorious for this sort of marketing scheme.
Grizzly River Rampage opened with a number of standard amusement park souvenir items for sale. Drinking and shot glasses are part of the bear essential assortment of offerings.
How about a GRR floaty pen?
Even the floaty pen promised a scene that wasn't real.
The floaty keychain was a little bit more honest.
Nope, there's no ferocious grizzly popping up out of the water.
The rafts of Grizzly River Rampage did go through a cave and see a statue of what might have been a grizzly bear.
There may have been strobe lights to simulate movement of the bear figure.
My first and only visit to Opryland was in 1985. Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, I was part of the audience that saw the marketing blitz for Grizzly River Rampage.
Yes, you will get soaked on GRR. A towel is an appropriate souvenir.
We visited Opryland in September of 1985. It was chilly outside, but we had to ride GRR. We stayed at the Opryland Hotel, which is huge and still exists today.
At the time of my visit, I don't remember seeing any Grizzly River Rampage souvenirs for sale (like this figural charm, which I would have wanted---but I was a fifth grader and did not have money to spend for that, so it wouldn't have mattered anyway).
I was obsessed with the marketing for this ride.
There was a wonderful comic-book style ad in the Sunday Birmingham News that I still remember to this day (it may have been in the comics section). If anyone has that, please send it my way!
One of the nicest items is a Grizzly River Rampage stein.
Opryland and Grizzly River Rampage became a thing of the past when the park closed down December 31, 1997 and never re-opened.
A grizzly bear raft ride exists today at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. Check out Disney's Country Bears at Grizzly River Run in California Adventure. There are no advertised grizzlies on that attraction, either (except for a mountain shaped like a bear).