Anakeesta Begins $34 Million Expansion


Anakeesta, a mountaintop adventure park in Gatlinburg, Tenn., with a three-span parallel zip line, mountain coaster, canopy walk, and several netted at-height attractions, is embarking on a three-year, $34 million multi-phase expansion project. New additions will include an immersive, multimedia night walk; a second mountain coaster; a European-themed village with shopping, dining, and a plaza with an interactive waterfall; and a new bird house-themed play area with large adventure elements down the mountain. 

“This historic expansion will take our park to new heights with unparalleled moments of magic and extraordinary mountain thrills that only Anakeesta and the Great Smoky Mountains can deliver,” said Bob Bentz, founder and managing partner of Anakeesta.  

The expansion will double the size of the guest experience within the 80-acre park. The first phase of the expansion—a new outdoor Lumina Night Walk from Canadian-based multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory—will open this November.

In the spring of 2023, the first part of the European-themed village will open, along with two new attractions. The first is BirdVenture, a birdhouse-inspired play zone where guests can imagine life as a bird in the Smokies. The attraction will include three “larger-than-life” birdhouses, a dozen adventure zones, and seven giant slides winding down the mountain. According to the park, this unique series of slide paths will be the first of its kind in the United States. The second attraction is a new double-rail mountain coaster with experiential tunnels, which twists and turns through the forest.

This phase of the expansion project also includes a new interactive mountain waterfall feature and cave system surrounded by walking trails and Anakeesta’s gardens, as well as additional food and beverage outlets. 

Future elements of the expansion will include a restaurant and brewery, an event center, and an entertainment stage with indoor and outdoor seating.


About Author

Katie Brinton is a PSIA-E Development Team member and a staff trainer at Okemo Mountain Resort, Vt., where she grew up. She was named to the 2017 “10 Under 30” class for Adventure Park Insider's sister publication SAM (Ski Area Management). She is a freelance writer, and has written frequently for Adventure Park Insider and sister publication, SAM. Katie is currently a Master’s student at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English.

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