What do gorgeous mountaintop views, scenic rides, a tree-based skywalk bridge, delicious restaurants, and AnaVista Tower have in common? They can all be found at Anakeesta! And if you’ve already visited the theme park during the day, make sure to put a visit to Anakeeta Gatlinburg at night on your must-do list for the next time you head to the Smokies! I recently visited Gatlinburg, Tennessee on a couples getaway and we all agreed that Anakeesta was one of our favorite things about the trip.
If you want to enjoy the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains from one of the best seats in the house, I highly recommend you consider heading to the top of the mountain to visit this beautiful park right in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
This trip was hosted by Anakeesta, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. That means I will receive a small commission for any purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you.
What is Anakeesta?
Located just minutes away from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Anakeesta is one of Gatlinburg’s newest attractions. Since its September 2017 opening, this mountaintop attraction has quickly become one of Tennessee’s premier destinations.
Anakeesta calls itself a “nature immersive park that offers an authentic Smoky Mountain experience for families of all ages.” It’s a great place to visit if spectacular views are on your wishlist for your trip to Gatlinburg.
Anakeesta is an outdoor family theme park that your family is sure to enjoy. Guests of all ages can find something they love at this fantastical outdoor adventure.
When we heard about Anakeesta, we knew that we wanted to add it to our itinerary while we were visiting the area.
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Why is it called Anakeesta?
Anakeesta is a Cherokee word that means “the place of high ground”. The park definitely lives up to the name. It is located 600′ above the city of Gatlinburg.
How much does it cost to go to Anakeesta?
General admission tickets to Anakeesta are $32.99 for adults and $19.99 for children ages 4-11. Children under the age of 4 are free. There’s a special discount for seniors age 60 and over. (Make sure to check Anakeesta’s website for the most up-to-date information regarding pricing.)
Your General Admission ticket includes all-day access to the Chodola and the Ridge Rambler, your two choices for transportation to the top of the mountain.
There’s an additional charge for the Adventure Pass, which includes the award-winning Dueling Zipline Adventure. There’s also an additional charge for those who want to ride Rail Runner.
If you plan to visit the park multiple times throughout the year, an Annual Pass is available. On top of unlimited visits to the park, annual member sneak previews are available for pass holders.
How many states can you see from Anakeesta?
AnaVista Tower, the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg, is said to give visitors views of peaks in 3 states: Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina. The structure is nearly 2,000 feet above sea level. We ventured to the top of AnaVista Tower and we’re so glad we did. The views were absolutely amazing!
What can families do at Anakeesta?
Lots of adventure (and some spectacular views) awaits at Anakeesta. Here are some things you’ll definitely want to do while at the park:
- Take the scenic uphill ride on the Chondola up to the top of Anakeesta Mountain
- Let the kids play in Treehouse Village
- Walk through Vista Gardens (don’t forget to bring good walking shoes!)
- Go gem mining
- Brave the Treetop Skywalk
- Play at the splash pad
- Ride the Rail Runner Mountain Coaster
- Challenge someone to the Dueling Zipline Adventure
- Go Ziplining
- Browse shops at Firefly Village
- Eat some good food
- Walk the Memorial Trail (details the 2016 wildfires)
Why visit Anakeesta at night?
Anakeesta is beautiful during the day, but it’s absolutely amazing under the dazzling night sky.
Imagine the longest tree top skywalk with its path illuminated by lights that shine like stars. That’s exactly what you’ll see if you hang around until sunset. And don’t worry; if you have other plans for the day, your ticket is an all-day ticket.
That means you can leave the park and return with the same ticket on the same day. (Insider tip: If you purchase a ticket to Anakeesta an hour before closing, you can return to the park the next day with that same ticket.)
Another site to behold at night is AnaVista Tower! When the sun sets, the lights shine bright on this massive tower. It’s simply breathtaking.
And in case you haven’t heard, Anakeesta has announced that it’s adding the Lumina Night Walk to its lineup this fall. The Lumina Night Walk will be the first of its kind in the United States. According to Anakeesta’s website, this experience will be “unlike anything else in the country.”
The park calls the Lumina Night Walk a nighttime immersive experience with multimedia entertainment studio, Moment Factory. This special event will include projections, lighting, and music. It’s an innovative entertainment option you’ll want to make sure to put on your itinerary.
During this spectacular presentation, Annakeesta will transform an undeveloped section of the park with special effects and unique moments of wonder and I can’t wait to experience it!
How we spent our time at Anakeesta.
We visited Anakeesta on our couple’s trip to the Smoky Mountains and it was an experience that we’ll all remember. We highly recommend Gatlinburg visitors add this beautiful park to the trip itinerary. It’s packed with adventures for everyone in the group.
Arrival to the park
When we arrived at the park, we approached the kiosk to get our tickets. We were then given directions and options for accessing the park and some other information about the attractions inside. We then got in line for the Chondola. The guys took the chairlift to the top (it does have a safety bar), but the girls chose the less adventurous option–the enclosed gondola cabin.
Upon arrival at the top of the mountain by way of the Chondola, Anakeesta guests enter Firefly Village where they can take the path to shop, sit and relax, grab a bite to eat, or explore other areas of the park.
We arrived right around lunchtime, so after we toured the shop, then we headed to Cliff Top Grill & Bar for some lunch. Since we arrived slightly before opening, we were amongst the first few people to arrive at the restaurant. We were seated very quickly, and we were lucky enough to get a window seat with a phenomenal view of the mountains.
The menu at Cliff Top has a variety of options. Everyone in our group was able to find something. The menu ranged from wings and burgers to ribeyes and shrimp. We all left full! Our service was great and our food was even better. We enjoyed our trip to Cliff Top.
Because it rained during our visit, we were unable to experience Anakeesta’s Dueling Zipline Adventure. The Rail Runner Mountain Coaster was also closed due to the weather. That’s okay, though. That just means that we’ll have to schedule another visit to Anakeesta!
Instead, we ventured to the AnaVista Tower and caught some spectacular views. On our way to the tower, we walked through the Treehouse Village playground area which seemed to be a hit with the children. We heard lots of laughter coming from that area.
AnaVista tower is massive, but climbing the steps to the top wasn’t too bad. The reward for our climb was getting to see the entire 70-acre park from the best seat in the house! The views were simply breathtaking.
After AnaVista Tower, we headed for Treetop Skywalk. Anakeesta’s Treetop Skywalk is the longest tree-based skywalk in North America. It was pretty cool to walk across the bridge and stroll through nature.
We enjoyed our day at Anakeesta! It’s definitely a place the entire family can enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions about Anakeesta
1. What should I wear to Anakeesta?
The first thing to remember is that you should dress comfortably. Expect to have some fun, so don’t let your outfit be the reason that you don’t have a good time! You will be very active inside the park, so keep that in mind as you choose your attire for the day. Most importantly, wear comfortable shoes.
I wouldn’t suggest wearing flip-flops to the park, especially if you’re planning to take the chair lift ride to the park.
2. Can I take a backpack into Anakeesta?
Yes. Backpacks are allowed inside the park. If you’re planning an overnight trip to the area, make sure to check out my list of most commonly forgotten things to pack for a trip!
3. Can I bring food and drinks into the park?
Anakeesta does not allow outside food or drinks in the park unless it is required for medical purposes.
4. How long should I plan to spend at Anakeesta?
In order to take advantage of all of the park’s offerings, it is suggested that you plan for a minimum of two hours at the park. Keep in mind that you ticket is good all day, so you can leave and re-enter multiple times in a single day with a single ticket purchase.
5. What is the best time of day to visit Anakeesta?
Wait times are usually the highest between noon and 3PM, so it is encouraged to visit the park before noon. However, if you want to experience magical lights, you’ll want to visit Anakeesta at night.
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