Anakeesta: A Wonderland of Family Fun and Adventure
Planning a trip with your family to Gatlinburg, TN? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the magical world of Anakeesta, a unique theme park that promises a memorable experience for the whole family.
A Day at Anakeesta: Must-Try Attractions and Activities
Anakeesta Things to do: Chondola Ride
The adventure begins with the scenic Chondola ride or Ridge Rambler to Anakeesta. Choose between an open-air chair lift or an enclosed gondola cabin, and marvel at the beautiful scenery during your ascent. The Chondola is a means of transportation and an unforgettable experience that sets the tone for your day at Anakeesta.
The Ridge Rambler is an enclosed gondola cabin that offers a scenic uphill ride to Anakeesta. There are very few enclosed gondola cabins, compared to the open-air ski-lift type chair on the same cable, so there can be a long wait for an enclosed cabin.
With spectacular views of the city of Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this relaxing journey is the perfect way to kick off your Anakeesta experience.
Ridge Rambler Adventure Truck
For a different way to reach the top of Anakeesta Mountain, hop aboard the Ridge Rambler, a custom adventure truck designed to transport guests through the beautiful mountain terrain. This exciting ride provides a unique experience and is an excellent alternative to the Chondola ride for those looking for a closer-to-the-ground ride to the top of the mountain.
Rail Runner Mountain Coaster
All aboard! First stop: the Rail Runner Mountain Coaster. This exhilarating single-rail coaster offers a thrilling ride through beautiful scenery, with 1,600 feet of downhill twists and turns. With the option for a tandem ride or single rider, it’s perfect for family members of all ages.
Next is the Vista Gardens, a mesmerizing botanical wonderland at the top of the mountain. Stroll through the lush foliage and admire the jaw-dropping 360-degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
TreeVenture Challenge Course & BearVenture Challenge Course
Calling all adventure seekers! The TreeVenture Challenge Course and BearVenture Challenge Course offer obstacle courses suitable for guests of all ages. Channel your inner Tarzan as you navigate through these exciting outdoor adventures.
Dueling Zipline Adventure
Looking for a more thrilling experience? Try the Dueling Zipline Adventure! Soar through the treetops, race your family members, and enjoy the unique views of the surrounding mountains.
Walk amongst the trees on the TreeTop Skywalk, North America’s longest tree-based sky bridge. Suspended 50-60 feet above the forest floor, these bridges offer a unique vantage point for exploring the great outdoors. Just remember to hold on to the safety bar!
Anavista Observation Tower
Head to the Anavista Observation Tower for breathtaking panoramic views from downtown Gatlinburg’s highest point. On a clear day, you can see as far as the eye can see. Don’t forget to snap some photos at the top of the tower!
Need a break from all the excitement? The Splash Pad is a fun, water-filled area perfect for cooling off on a hot day. Younger children will love splashing around in this refreshing oasis.
As night falls, immerse yourself in the enchanting Astra Lumina, a mesmerizing light show that tells the tale of the Cherokee word for “place of high ground.” This captivating experience is a must-see for guests of all ages.
Delightful Dining Options at Anakeesta
Treat your taste buds to the delicious offerings at the Anakeesta Smokehouse. With mouthwatering BBQ dishes and a casual atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot for a quick bite or a leisurely meal with the family.
Cliff Top Grill & Bar
For a more upscale dining experience, head to the Cliff Top Grill & Bar. Enjoy delicious food and drinks while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains from the summit of Anakeesta Mountain.
Are you craving something sweet? The Kephart Café offers a variety of tasty treats, including ice cream, pastries, and coffee. It’s the perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Are you looking to unwind with a refreshing beverage? Check out the Tap House, a cozy spot offering craft beer, wine, and delicious snacks.
Treehouse Village Playground
Once you’ve reached the top of Anakeesta Mountain, let the little ones loose at the Treehouse Village Playground. This whimsical play area features slides, rope bridges, and climbing nets designed to spark imagination and creativity in young minds.
Memorial Forest Walk
Take a stroll along the Memorial Forest Walk, a tribute to the resilience of Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains after the devastating wildfires in 2016. This serene walkway is lined with educational plaques and offers quiet reflection amidst nature.
Pearl’s Pie in the Sky
While exploring Anakeesta, don’t forget to stop by Pearl’s Pie in the Sky for a delicious slice of homemade pie. Indulge in various flavors, from classic apple to decadent chocolate peanut butter. Pair your pie with hot cocoa or a steaming cappuccino for the perfect midday treat.
Making the Most of Your Visit to Anakeesta
Prepare for the Weather
Before embarking on your adventure, check the local weather forecast and dress accordingly. Since Anakeesta is an outdoor attraction, it’s essential to be prepared for various weather conditions, including rain, sun, and cooler temperatures at the top of the mountain.
Capture the Memories
Anakeesta is full of picturesque spots to capture unforgettable family memories. Bring your camera or smartphone to snap photos of your kids playing in the Treehouse Village Playground, posing with whimsical sculptures in Vista Gardens, or enjoying the breathtaking views from the Anavista Observation Tower.
Plan for a Full Day
With so many attractions and activities to experience, it’s best to allocate a full day to visit Anakeesta. Arrive early to beat the crowds, and take advantage of the day access included in your general admission ticket, allowing you to come and go as you please throughout the day.
Explore Beyond Anakeesta
While Anakeesta offers a wealth of attractions and experiences, consider venturing beyond the park to explore the Best Things to do in Gatlinburg and Fun Things to Do in Pigeon Forge with Kids. There’s no shortage of family-friendly activities in the surrounding area, from thrilling amusement parks to interactive museums.
Where to Stay in Gatlinburg
Top Places to Stay in Gatlinburg: From Resorts to Cozy Cabins
After a day of exploring, nothing is better than retreating to a cozy cabin nestled in the mountains. Gatlinburg offers a variety of cabin rentals, ranging from rustic log cabins to luxurious mountain retreats. Many cabins feature fire pits, hot tubs, and stunning mountain views—perfect for a relaxing winter getaway.
Gatlinburg offers a variety of accommodations to suit every traveler’s taste and budget. Here are some of the top-rated places to stay in Gatlinburg, including luxurious resorts and charming vacation rentals:
Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg is a 4-star resort located on the main parkway (Hwy 441) in Gatlinburg. We have stayed at this resort several times, and while it’s not the cheapest resort in Gatlinburg, it’s by far our favorite.
This tropical-inspired retreat offers well-appointed rooms and suites, an indoor and outdoor pool, a fitness center, and an on-site spa.
The resort’s convenient location across the street from Anakeesta makes it a perfect base for exploring the best of Gatlinburg.
Margaritaville Gatlinburg: A Tropical Escape in the Heart of the Smokies
After an action-packed day at Anakeesta, unwind and relax at Margaritaville Gatlinburg, a tropical oasis just a short walk from the mountaintop theme park. Inspired by the laid-back lifestyle of singer Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville Gatlinburg offers a unique dining and entertainment experience that transports you to a tropical paradise.
Dining at Margaritaville Gatlinburg
The Margaritaville Restaurant offers a delectable menu featuring a variety of island-inspired dishes, such as the signature Cheeseburger in Paradise, Volcano Nachos, and Coconut Shrimp. Kids will love the diverse options on the Little Parakeet’s menu, ensuring that even the pickiest eaters find something they enjoy.
Try one of Margaritaville’s famous frozen concoctions or specialty cocktails, like the classic Margarita or the refreshing Rum Runner. Non-alcoholic options are also available, making Margaritaville a great destination for the entire family.
Map of the best deals on top hotels and VRBOs in Gatlinburg:
Whimsical Shopping at Anakeesta
Great Outdoors Trading Company
No trip to Anakeesta is complete without a visit to the Great Outdoors Trading Company. This charming store offers various souvenirs, apparel, and unique gifts to help you remember your magical day at Anakeesta.
Black Bear Village
For a more immersive shopping experience, explore the whimsical Black Bear Village. This beautiful area features quaint shopping, live music, and plenty of spots to sit back and relax.
Tips for Visiting Anakeesta with Kids
- Purchase general admission tickets online to save time and avoid long lines.
- Plan your visit during the best time to avoid large crowds and enjoy a more leisurely experience.
- Remember that some attractions, like the Dueling Zipline Adventure and the Rail Runner Mountain Coaster, have an additional cost.
- Ensure your little ones meet certain attractions’ height and age requirements for a safe and enjoyable experience.
Nearby Attractions and Activities
Extend your family fun by exploring some of the fantastic attractions and activities located near Anakeesta:
- Fishing Trips in Gatlinburg, TN
- Snow Tubing near Gatlinburg
- Top Fun Things to Do in Gatlinburg
- Snow in Tennessee
- Cabins in Tennessee
- Best Breakfast Restaurants in Gatlinburg
- Top Things to Do in Townsend with Kids
Q: Is Anakeesta suitable for small children?
A: Absolutely! Anakeesta offers a variety of attractions and activities suitable for children of all ages.
Younger children will enjoy the Treehouse Village Playground, Treetop Skywalk, and the scenic Chondola ride. However, please note that some attractions have height and age restrictions for safety reasons.
Q: Are there any discounts available for Anakeesta admission?
A: Anakeesta occasionally offers special promotions and discounts on its website. Also, discounted rates are available for seniors, military personnel, and groups.
Q: Can I bring my food and drinks to Anakeesta?
A: Outside food and drinks are not allowed inside the park. However, Anakeesta offers a variety of dining options to cater to different tastes and budgets, including the Anakeesta Smokehouse, Cliff Top Grill & Bar, Kephart Café, and Tap House.
Q: What is the best time to visit Anakeesta?
A: The best time to visit Anakeesta depends on your preferences. Mornings are typically less crowded, making it an ideal time for families with young children. However, visiting in the late afternoon or evening allows you to witness the stunning sunset views from the mountaintop.
Q: Is Anakeesta wheelchair accessible?
A: Most of Anakeesta’s attractions and facilities are wheelchair accessible, including the Chondola ride, Vista Gardens, and Anavista Observation Tower. Please note that some areas, such as the Treetop Skywalk and Treeventure Challenge Course, may not be suitable for guests with limited mobility.
Q: Can I visit Anakeesta if it’s raining?
A: Anakeesta is open rain or shine. However, some attractions may close temporarily in the event of severe weather. Bring appropriate rain gear and check the local weather forecast before your visit.
Anakeesta is a unique theme park that offers a unique and memorable experience for the entire family. From thrilling outdoor adventures to serene nature walks, there’s something for everyone at this magical mountaintop destination. Don’t miss the chance to create lasting memories with your loved ones at Anakeesta during your visit to Gatlinburg, TN.