Anakeesta announces largest expansion since 2017 opening

Anakeesta representatives announced Thursday that the Gatlinburg attraction will be seeing its largest expansion since it opened in 2017.
Tenn Resort in Gatlinburg
Tenn Resort in Gatlinburg(Annakeesta)
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 2:38 PM CDT
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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - Anakeesta representatives announced Thursday that the Gatlinburg attraction will be seeing its largest expansion since it opened in 2017.

The expansion will double the park’s size over three years, and cost $34 million. New additions will include a night walk with lights and audio guiding guests through the woods, a second “mountain coaster” and a European-themed village with shopping, dining and a waterfall.

“As Gatlinburg’s iconic destination, we’re excited to continue offering Tennessee visitors incomparable adventures that elevate the Smoky Mountain guest experience,” Bob Bentz, Founder and Managing Partner of Anakeesta said. “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.”

The coaster, named Hellbender and themed after the native Smoky Mountain salamander species, will include tunnels and snake through the woods of Anakeesta.

Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner spoke on the park’s expansion.

“Anakeesta’s continued investment into expanding its park will allow even more visitors the opportunity to experience the authentic wonder and beauty of the Gatlinburg area,” said Werner. “These planned developments at Anakeesta will continue to add to the many reasons visitors will have to choose Gatlinburg as their vacation destination.”

In spring 2023, the first part of the European-themed village will open.