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Anakeesta has officially completed its $6.5 million expansion! The 70+ acre family adventure park added new dining options, a new shop, new activities, and more. We’ve got all the details on what the expansion had in store for Anakeesta in Gatlinburg.
About the Anakeesta Expansion
Since September 2017, Anakeesta has provided an incredible outdoor adventure for people of all ages. With the completion of the attraction’s largest expansion ever, your experience on the mountain is even more magical! The Anakeesta expansion introduced new things to do for visitors and new experiences to enjoy while you’re there. Check out everything new you can expect at Anakeesta now when you visit!
1. AnaVista Tower
Visitors are now able to enjoy AnaVista Tower, an observation tower that provides 360-degree views of the Smoky Mountains! The AnaVista Tower adds to the many opportunities Anakeesta has for visitors to take in the stunning scenery of the area and is the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg. You’ll climb 78 steps to the observation platform at the top of the tower, where you’ll have views as far as Kentucky on a clear day! There are signs that identify the mountain ranges and peaks, and two glass-panel floors that allow guests to look down 60 feet into the Vista Gardens below.
2. Black Bear Village
Black Bear Village is an area in the center of Anakeesta Mountain where visitors can relax AND have fun! The new plaza and stage in Black Bear Village has live entertainment, music and outdoor movies for everyone to enjoy. When the weather gets cold, cozy up around the fire pit, and when it’s hot outside, you can enjoy the splash pad. Black Bear Village is home to many of the new additions that the expansion brought to Anakeesta!
3. New Cliff Top Restaurant
Cliff Top has gotten a complete makeover, with a new look, new menu, and new experience for guests. This new restaurant offers an elevated dining experience in Black Bear Village. The menu includes modern American cuisine like hand-cut steaks, ribs, entree salads, seafood and more. While you dine, you’ll have sweeping views of Mount LeConte! You can dine inside or on the outdoor patio. We recommend enjoying dessert while you watch the sunset!
4. A New Walkup Bar
Tap House offers good brews and great views. Grab a local craft beer and take a seat at the infinity bar that overlooks the mountains. You can also relax around the fire pit in Black Bear Village with your drink! The Tap House is located right outside the Smokehouse restaurant.
5. Kephart Cafe
Kephart Cafe is the perfect spot to grab a quick bite to eat. Located in the new Black Bear Village, this spot serves fast and easy meals like hot dogs and flatbread pizza, and even frozen yogurt! You can enjoy your food by the fire pit or in the plaza.
6. A New Shop
The Mercantile offers a modern take on a general store, with home additions like bowls, barware and decor! You can also take home a taste of the Smokies with you when you purchase any of their locally made jams, sauces and pickles. The Mercantile also has vintage gadgets, games and sweet treats. It’s located inside the brand new Cliff Top restaurant.
7. A Splash Pad
The expansion also included a brand new splash pad! It’s the perfect area for both kids and adults to cool off from the heat. Let the kids have fun running through the water as you relax and enjoy the gorgeous views around you. It’s designed to resemble a Tennessee mountain stream with a waterfall. The splash pad is located in the plaza area at Anakeesta, so you can listen to live music from the Black Bear Village while you have fun!
Smokehouse is a new casual-dining restaurant that allows visitors to step inside during the colder months and cool off during hot summer days. The new restaurant can seat up to 300 guests and offers a unique view of downtown Gatlinburg. You can enjoy in-house smoked meats like pulled pork, brisket and chicken centered around a wood-burning fire.
9. TreeVenture Course
TreeVenture is a brand new treehouse adventure course! The course has 3 levels of play in interactive treehouses. There are a total of 6 netted bridges and 3 treehouses that provide a fun challenge for kids of all ages. Children will have a blast climbing, swinging, and sliding their way through the course. Climb to the top of the course to enjoy the views from above before sliding back down to the bottom level and starting your adventure all over again!
2019 Anakeesta Expansion Additions
10. Vista Garden Walk Expansion
On Memorial Day of 2019, the newly extended Vista Garden Walk opened. Visitors can now enjoy an interactive and immersive experience. Look for 5,000 new flowers, 800 shrubs, and 250 trees that will all be added soon, along with twigloos, gazebos, and a Willow Man sculpture. The winding pathways throughout the Vista Garden Walk will lead you to treehouses, natural musical instruments, challenge courses, and more.
11. New Way to Reach the Summit
In addition to the scenic Chondola ride, Anakeesta introduced a new way for visitors to reach the summit of Anakeesta Mountain! Since August 2019, you can choose to take a military truck ride to the top on one of Anakeesta’s Ridge Ramblers. Your ascent will begin by boarding the new passenger trucks at the base station, where you’ll ride along a forested path to the summit. The ride features an audio tour, during which a guide will share fun facts about the unique history, animals, forest, and plant life of the Smoky Mountains. You can choose between a ride on the Chondola with open-quad chairs and enclosed 6-person gondola cabins, or an immersive ride through the forest!
Other Additions to Anakeesta in Gatlinburg
Since its opening, Anakeesta in Gatlinburg has continued to add new things for visitors to enjoy, like The Bar at the Top of the World. This bar has a one-of-a-kind setting as views of the Smoky Mountains surround you. In the fall of 2018, Anakeesta introduced a single-rail mountain coaster that’s the first of its kind in the United States! The Rail Runner puts you in control of your own speed in a thrilling downhill ride with a 400 ft. elevation change. The ride begins with 1,600 feet of downhill twists and turns before ending with a scenic uphill ride back to the top of Anakeesta Mountain.
About Anakeesta in Gatlinburg
Anakeesta has had award-winning years since its opening! It was named Tennessee’s Attraction of the Year by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association, Best New Attraction by Blue Ridge Country’s Best of the Mountains, and the Attraction of the Year by Sevier County Hospitality and Tourism Association. This outdoor adventure park has fun for people of all ages, from kids to adults. Whether you’re racing on a dueling zipline or relaxing around the fire pit, you’re sure to have a great time when you visit!
You don’t want to miss the chance to enjoy all the new fun the Anakeesta expansion has brought to Gatlinburg.
Check out more things to do in Gatlinburg, and start planning your visit today!