Destinations

Why Anakeesta is rapidly changing into a prime Tennessee theme park

An aerial view of Anakeesta — Photo courtesy of Anakeesta

In an space packed stuffed with arcades, mini-golf programs and different vacationer traps, one vacation spot is showcasing the pure great thing about Gatlinburg – and rapidly changing into a must-visit location whereas in Tennessee. Anakeesta opened in September 2017 with the expectation of welcoming 250,000 company a yr. Last yr, about 1.2 million individuals visited the majestic theme park within the mountains.

The thought for Anakeesta was born when three {couples}, all pals, who had zero theme park expertise between them mixed their experience, together with land planning, panorama structure, advertising and proudly owning a zipper line firm. The outcome was a welcome addition to this Tennessee metropolis that has lengthy been a family-friendly trip vacation spot.

Anakeesta’s founders knew their creation can be well-received, however even they’re blown away by the response. The growth of the vacation spot has exceeded their expectations as they proceed to plan for the longer term.

Chondola ride at AnakeestaChondola trip at Anakeesta — Photo courtesy of Anakeesta

Guests of Anakeesta can’t miss the huge flower, chair and different picture ops at thepark entrance alongside the principle drag in Gatlinburg. That’s the place guests can take an open chairlift 600 toes up (preserve a lookout for bears down under) to the principle a part of Anakeesta.

If you’re hesitant to take the chairlift, there are just a few closed cabins that match six company. There’s additionally the choice of taking a passenger truck up the mountain.

The outside journey park excessive above downtown Gatlinburg has a mountain coaster, dueling zip traces, a treehouse play space and loads of different actions to fill a day. Here are 5 issues to learn about Anakeesta and what you possibly can see there.

Treetop Skywalk

Take a stroll on the longest tree-based pedestrian walkway in North America at 880 toes. The hanging bridges are suspended 50 to 60 toes within the air and are surrounded by the pure great thing about bushes, mountains and animals. The bridges sway and transfer as you make your method alongside the trail, which takes company from one finish of the park to a different. This expertise is included within the worth of admission.

AnaVista Tower

This is the best level in downtown Gatlinburg (and it is also residence to the town’s highest bar). The tower provides a panoramic view of the Smoky Mountains, and you’ll even see as distant as Kentucky. You’ll must work for the views, although.

There are 86 steps that you must climb to get to a big commentary platform atop the tower. Once you’re up there, you’ll agree it’s well worth the train. If you’re feeling additional courageous, you possibly can step out on glass panels that enable company to get a chicken’s-eye-view of the gardens 60 toes under. This expertise is included in park admission.

Astra Lumina

If you suppose Anakeesta is gorgeous through the day, now’s your probability to absorb the wonder in a complete new gentle. Opening in November 2022, Astra Lumina is a singular nighttime expertise that places you among the many stars within the surrounding magnificence. You’ll be capable of embark on an enchanted evening stroll, which incorporates projections, lighting and music. This is an add-on expertise, however it can save you just a few {dollars} when you purchase your tickets forward of time.

Cliff Top Restaurant at AnakeestaCliff Top Restaurant at Anakeesta — Photo courtesy of Anakeesta

The views, music and meals

Everything at Anakeesta is deliberate across the spectacular views and providing locations to take a seat and soak up all of the pure magnificence. The property is dotted with loads of rocking chairs, benches and hearth pits completely positioned to admire the environment.

Various stay music acts entertain the crowds all through the day, making this a fantastic spot to calm down with pals, hear some tunes and watch the sundown. There’s additionally quite a lot of locations to take pleasure in meals, from quick-service spots to elegant sit-down eating places. Offerings embrace ice cream, pizza, smoked meats and American favorites.

Vista Gardens

Anakeesta was meant to be a densely forested park, however that every one modified in November 2016 when a fireplace destroyed greater than 15,000 acres of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the town of Gatlinburg. Every single tree was charred giving Anakeesta’s builders a clean canvas and an opportunity to create and design a particular backyard.

It’s an experimental sensory backyard with the sounds of Mother Nature, cascading waterfalls and musical backyard chimes. There’s additionally a memorial forest stroll devoted to the courageous women and men who helped combat the historic fires of 2016, in addition to the resilience and restoration of the Smoky Mountains.

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