Here We Grow Again: Anakeesta in Gatlinburg Introduces Biggest Expansion Yet
You may remember in 2020 when Anakeesta in Gatlinburg completed its largest expansion yet, including the opening of the AnaVista Tower! If you thought that was incredible, wait until you hear about what they’re latest expansion entails, which is its biggest expansion yet! This $34 million expansion will double the size of the guest experience over the next 3 years. We’ve gathered all the details we know so far on the Anakeesta expansion.
About the Anakeesta Expansion
Anakeesta recently added a first-of-its-kind nighttime experience, Astra Lumina, that opened in late October 2023 in the park. However, that’s not the only new addition that came to the popular Gatlinburg attraction. Anakeesta has introduced its biggest expansion yet — bigger than the $6.5 million expansion in 2020! This $34 million expansion will add provide more opportunities for visitors to enjoy the park. Here’s what we know so far:
Birdventure opened in December of 2023 and offers brand new excitement for families. This aviary-inspired adventure zone features 3 larger-than-life birdhouses, 12 interactive adventure zones, and 7 giant slides! The serpentine slides have light features and wind more than 50 feed down Anakeesta Mountain. They’re the first of their kind in the United States!
New Mountain Coaster
If you love the Rail Runner Mountain Coaster, then you’ll love this new part of the expansion! Anakeesta in Gatlinburg added a brand new mountain coaster for double the thrill. The ride is called Hellbender, and is double-railed coaster instead of single-railed like the Rail Runner. It’s themed to reflect the local Smoky Mountain salamander species. The mountain coaster takes riders along an adrenaline-pumping ride as they navigate a steep mountain incline before winding down 3,350 feet of track through 90-degree and 270-degree turns and a 360-degree spin.
New Retail Areas
As part of the expansion, Anakeesta announced two new retail areas, one of which just opened in March 2023! Anakeesta opened up Great Outdoors Trading Company on the Parkway, which will feature Anakeesta souvenirs, Smoky Mountain apparel, and more. A new shop, Bear Essentials, has opened in Great Outdoors Trading Company’s place on the top of the mountain. The second retail location is called Fur Trader and will be the largest retail shop in Anakeesta.
A New Village
One of the parts we’re most excited about is the brand new village: Stone Village. The previously mentioned additions are all a part of this European-themed village. Think Firefly Village — but bigger! Stone Village will also be home to Fur Trader, which is the perfect place for visitors to find specialty merchandise. Visitors can also look forward to a new themed eatery with alpine eats and treats, and live music and entertainment all year long.
This is all we know about the Anakeesta expansion so far, but as soon as we get any more details, we will keep you updated.
The First Anakeesta Expansion
It was just two years ago when Anakeesta was working on its first big expansion. This expansion brought new shops, new dining options, and new adventures. Some of the main additions from the expansion include:
The AnaVista Tower: This observation tower is the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg and offers 360-degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding states. It makes for a great photo op too!
TreeVenture Challenge Course
This addition included whimsical treehouses connected by a net challenge course with areas to slide, climb and experience multiple levels of fun! Kids love putting their climbing skills to the test here!
Black Bear Village
Black Bear Village brought Cliff Top, a new restaurant for elevated dining, the Mercantile, a modern take on a general store, and Kephart Cafe, a quick-serve restaurant with flatbreads, gourmet hot dogs, and frozen yogurt. Black Bear Village is also home to a splash pad, a fire pit, and live entertainment!
About Anakeesta in Gatlinburg
Anakeesta has quickly become one of the most popular attractions in Gatlinburg, and it’s no surprise why! The mountaintop park is constantly adding new and exciting experiences for visitors. Plus, it’s fun for people of all ages. Kids love the BearVenture Challenge Course and the TreeVenture Challenge Course, teens love the mountain coaster and the ziplines, and adults love the AnaVista Tower and shops! There are plenty of opportunities for both fun and relaxation at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg.
Learn more about all the things you can do at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg, and keep checking back for updates on the Anakeesta expansion!