GATLINBURG, Tenn. – Anakeesta, Gatlinburg’s newest outdoor family attraction, opens 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 1.
“Our goal at Anakeesta is to give Gatlinburg locals and visitors alike a truly memorable mountain experience that offers both adventure and relaxation,” said managing partner Bob Bentz. “We have had endless support from the community and we’re so excited to share the beauty of Anakeesta with everyone.”
Guests begin with a scenic 14-minute ride from Downtown Gatlinburg to the summit of Anakeesta Mountain on a Chondola which features both quad chairs and enclosed 6- person gondola cabins. At the top of the mountain guests arrive at Firefly Village, a whimsical treehouse-themed village that features quaint shops, casual dining and seating throughout the village to enjoy the spectacular scenic views.
From there visitors can stroll through the elevated treetop canopy walk which includes 16 hanging bridges more than 40 feet in the air, soar through the trees on Gatlinburg’s fastest dual-racing ziplines, climb through the Anakeesta Treehouse Playground or simply sit back and enjoy the breathtaking views of Mt. LeConte and sparkling lights of Downtown Gatlinburg.
There will also be a Memorial Fire Walk located on the highpoint of the mountain. The walk will feature an exhibit by photographer Jeremy Cowart titled “Voices of Gatlinburg.”
“I know that Anakeesta is going to be a huge success. People won't believe their eyes when they get to the top,” said Mayor of Gatlinburg, MIke Werner. “I welcome such a wonderful addition to our community.”
Note to media: A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, September 12th at 11 a.m.
Additional Information about Anakeesta
• The Anakeesta Chondola is the first of its kind to be built in the United States. The 14-minute scenic ride takes you up 600 feet to the Summit via the 104 quad chairs and eight 6-person gondola cabins.
• The tree top canopy walk consists of a series of 16 connected skybridges suspended in the trees 40-60’ above ground. Each bridge leads to a new observation platform where you can take in the sights, learn about your surroundings through interpretive signs and enjoy the spectacular views.
• Anakeesta’s “Dueling Ziplines” consists of two dual ziplines, each over 1,000 feet long. The experience also includes two challenge stations where guests rappel off our platforms and enjoy a controlled 60-foot descent to a cushioned platform below.
• Children of all ages can enjoy the whimsically themed treehouse village playground. Interconnected by multiple bridges, the playground features physical and educational challenge elements designed to build strength and confidence. Guests of all ages can trek along a log walk to an elevated bird’s nest where they’ll learn how an American Goldfinch cultivates its home, navigate a plank walk to a maze, and crawl through a tube net to a climbing adventure.
• A family favorite, the interactive Anakeesta Gem Mine allows kids to mine for that special gemstone or fossil and leave with a treasure of their own.
• The name Anakeesta is a Cherokee word referring to high ground, literally meaning “the place of balsams” or “the place of high ground.” The name captures the authentic Smokies heritage our guests will experience among the treetops at the summit of Anakeesta Mountain.
• The $19.99 admission price to Anakeesta includes the Chondola ride and all the activities featured on the mountain with the exception of the ziplines, gem mining and the mountain coaster. Senior and child discounts are offered.
Additional Information about Firefly Village at Anakeesta
• Shop for unique gifts at our treehouse shops Catching Fireflies, Great Outdoors Trading Company and Adventure Outpost which will feature items from local artists and craftsmen as well as outdoor gear, apparel, jewelry, children’s items, home goods and more.
• Enjoy some hearty southern fare at the Anakeesta Smokehouse food truck which will feature a diverse menu of Southern favorites including pulled pork, beef brisket and smoked wings as well as ample outdoor tables for you to enjoy your meal with a side of beautiful views.
• Satisfy your sweet tooth at Pearl’s Pie in the Sky, a 1940’s inspired bakery with an assortment of pies, ice cream, milkshakes and baked goods.
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The promise of Anakeesta is to create a unique, authentic, entertaining and memorable outdoor family experience by immersing guests of all ages in the beauty and adventure of nature, providing diverse offerings and quality craftsmanship and instilling a sense of appreciation and wonder for the magic that’s in the mountains.