Anakeesta grows as Gatlinburg celebrates 75 years

Sandra ClarkOn the Grow

There’s a new place to play in Gatlinburg and this year it’s getting better.

Anakeesta continues to grow and expand,” says Michele Canney, VP of marketing and sales, in a media release. “We listen to what our guests want and their feedback has inspired many of these exciting additions.”

The $6 million expansion should be open by fall. Progress can be monitored via live construction camera feed online here. Amenities include:

  • Observation tower that will be the “crowning element on top of Anakeesta mountain,” says co-owner Bob Bentz
  • Smokehouse and Brewery restaurant seating 300, serving barbecue and local craft beers and featuring a glass-enclosed, climate-controlled indoor area and an outdoor patio
  • Water feature, designed to resemble a mountain creek complete with waterfall
  • Stage for live music
  • Walk-up windows with frozen yogurt, beer and pizza.

The additions will complement existing activities like the Children’s Treehouse Village Adventure, BearVenture play area, Dueling Ziplines, Rail Runner mountain coaster and the Treetop Skywalk. At more than 800-feet, the skywalk is the longest tree-based bridge in North America with a series of suspension bridges hanging 50-60 feet in the air between trees.

Anakeesta opened in September 2017 on a 70-acre tract, of which some 55 acres were acquired from the Phi Beta Phi Fraternity of women. Access is via the Chondola, an open-air, four-person chairlift, an enclosed gondola cabin, or the new Ridge Rambler adventure truck.

In September 2018, Anakeesta was awarded the Best Attraction of the Year by the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association. Anakeesta is located in and above the heart of downtown Gatlinburg at 576 Parkway (traffic light #5).


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