On our recent family vacation to Gatlinburg, we visited Anakeesta, and it was AMAZING! I had never heard of Anakeesta before researching what to do on our trip, but I am so glad to have discovered it and visited it. It is a great place to spend part of your day in Gatlinburg with your family.
Read below to learn everything you need to know about Anakeesta and why you should definitely visit it on your family vacation to Gatlinburg. For more information on planning your vacation to Gatlinburg click here.
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What is Anakeesta?
Anakeesta is described as a mountaintop theme park. The word theme park makes me think of rides such as a ferris wheel or roller coaster. Anakeesta does not have any of these but it does have LOTS of attractions, entertainment, shops, and restaurants.
Per its website, Anakeesta is a Cherokee Indian word that is translates to a place of high ground.
How Do You Get to Anakeesta?
You can get to Anakeesta by going to downtown Gatlinburg and purchasing tickets at the Anakeesta ticket office. Then there are two ways to get up to Anakeesta. One is the Chondola ride and the other is a Ridge Rambler Adventure vehicle.
Both ways are great options to get up to and down from Anakeesta. We took the enclosed gondola up and the Ridge Rambler vehicle down. They are both fun and unique experiences so I would suggest doing them both if you get the opportunity.
With the Chondola ride there is either a 4 person open chair with a bar or an enclosed gondola cabin that can seat 6. We chose to do the enclosed gondola since we had a baby and a two year old with us. It was just easier for our family.
The wait was significantly longer for the enclosed gondola as they don’t have nearly as many of these as the open chair. We probably waited an extra 30 min or so just for the enclosed gondola.
How Much Does Anakeesta Cost?
General admission to Anakeesta is $34.99 for adults ages 12-59. For seniors 60 and over the cost is $27.99. Children ages 4-11 cost $22.99 and ages 3 and under are free.
Note: There are additional activities and add-ons that cost extra.
What is There To Do at Anakeesta?
Anakeesta has SO MUCH to do for people of all ages. Activities included with general admission are below.
This observation tower is downtown Gatlinburg’s highest point. The views are breathtaking and the walk up the steps will definitely get your heart pounding. There is a total of 86 steps to the top!
We really enjoyed the Treetop Skywalk. The Treetop Skywalk is made up of hanging bridges. It was so fun to be up in the trees and see all of the great views below!
TreeVenture is a challenge course where people have to climb, crawl, jump, slide, and more through a few different treehouses, slides, and netted bridges. My kids had a blast doing this!
BearVenture is another smaller obstacle or challenge course. People have to walk across ropes, logs, and more. It is another fun challenge for the kids and adults too!
TreeHouse Village Play Area
This is a cute little play area with tree houses that kids can go in. There are different challenging ways to get to all of the treehouses. Each treehouse is unique and cool to explore.
The following activities that you can do at Anakeesta require an additional cost.
- Rail Runner Mountain Coaster
- Gem Mining
- Astra Lumina (This is an after dark experience with lights, projections, and music that is supposed to make visitors feel connected to the stars and world around them.)
What Else is at Anakeesta?
Besides the above activities, Anakeesta also has many cute shops that are perfect places to get a souvenir. There are also many places to eat including a couple of full service dining restaurants plus some bars and quick service eats, too.
When we were there, dining at both the restaurants and quick service snack shops were super busy. I would keep this in mind when visiting. Maybe consider eating at an off time or put your name in before you want to eat so you do not run into the problem of having very hungry children or adults.
Anakeesta also has musical entertainment to enjoy. When we were there we listened to a great band that played country cover music. It was so fun to listen to some good music and enjoy the views.
In addition to dining and shopping, there are also beautiful gardens to walk through and views to see. There are also many great photo opportunities including taking a photo with Willow (see photo).
What Else Should You Know?
- You can bring strollers to Anakeesta although many of the activities you cannot do with a stroller. You will have to either park it somewhere or have someone stay with the stroller.
- Parking: Anakeesta does not have its own parking lots. There are a couple of parking garages in downtown Gatlinburg plus a parking lot right by where you get on the Chondola.
- Wear closed toe shoes or shoes that you can easily climb and be active in.
- You can book tickets online so you don’t have to wait in the ticket line. This will save you some time.
- If you buy your tickets an hour before close, you can return the next day for free. This would be a good option if you are in the area in the evening and want to experience Anakeesta at night and then you can go back the next day and spend more time.
Why Should We Go To Anakeesta?
Here are my favorite things about Anakeesta–
- The views
- Gorgeous gardens to walk through and relax in
- The Treetop SkyWalk
- All of the treehouses
Anakeesta is a great place to spend a day or half day with your family especially if you have some perfect weather. It is both a relaxing and adventurous place all at once. Our whole family had an amazing time at Anakeesta. It is certainly a great place to make some memories.
PIN and SAVE this post to refer back to it to plan your family’s visit to Anakeesta. May you love this adventure. KW