I’ve loved the mountain top theme park Anakeesta since it opened in 2017.
I love the views of the Smoky Mountains, but more than that, I love the vibe of Anakeesta.
There are so few vacation destinations where the plan is to mostly just chill out. There’s no better place to be for that.
Vacations are frequently go, go, go. However, at Anakeesta, the chief mission is to look at stuff. Maybe grab some dinner and a drink. I can roll with that.
The problem – at least for me – has been the dual nature of the place.
They have something for adults as well as children of all ages.
There’s a charge just to get up the mountain but most of the “main” attractions of the place, the zipline, gem mining, the mountain coaster and of course the shopping and the restaurants, have an additional cost.
What does Anakeesta admission include?
Your admission offers access to the tower, Vista Gardens, the scenic ride in a chair lift and more.
The best part is probably the Treetop Skywalk, which is the longest tree canopy walk in the United States.
They have several activities for kids. A play area, a splash pad and a challenge course are included in the price of admission.
There have been plenty of times I’ve thought about taking the wife out for a special meal atop the mountain. It is a great place to soak in the beautiful scenery.
However, the idea of paying what amounts to roughly a $30 per person cover charge on top of the price of the meal and drinks has been a deterrent.
Certainly, I’ve thought about buying the $59.99 per adult annual pass. But how many times would we have to eat at Anakeesta just to make it worth our while?
There are plenty of places for dining options. That $120 could be used on a nice meal at the Greenbrier or Chesapeake’s.
Does Anakeesta give local discounts? How to get in for $5
I have, however, solved the conundrum.
Periodically, Anakeesta will host Local Appreciation Days. Namely, a $5 general admission ticket is offered to residents of Sevier, Cocke, Jefferson, Knox, Hamblen and Blount counties.
The included counties have varied slightly over the years so it’s a good idea to check. However, the counties are included for this spring’s May 2-May 8 local discount event.
Proceeds will again benefit the Friends of the Smokies. This group assists the National Park Service in its mission to preserve and protect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by raising funds and public awareness and providing volunteers for needed projects.
The $5 admission will allow visitors to enjoy the best views and foliage of the Great Smoky Mountains in all of Gatlinburg, along with stunning blooms in the Vista Garden. While taking in the views of Mt. LeConte, residents can try the Cliff Top restaurant, which I like a lot, or try a tasty, sweet treat from Pearl’s Pie in the Sky.
If you missed the deal, remember to always check Tripster for discounts when you visit the Anakeesta theme park.
Anakeesta Blooms and Tunes festival
The Local Appreciation Days event happens to fall during the Blooms and Tunes festival. Blooms and Tunes celebrates the season with spring-themed art, live music and seasonal menu items.
The Blooms and Tunes festival runs from April 15 through June 5.
During the festival, guests will see whimsical artistry on display with spectacular views.
This year, there will be more ‘Grammable art installations, more blooms and more surprises. Fan favorites are back, including the 20-foot-long, blooming daisy and the famous big green couch, part of Tennessee artist Joe Kyte (a.k.a. Topiary Joe’s) living sculptures.
Anakeesta is also elevating mixology with the opening of the Watering Can. The new bar will feature “Kid Craftails” like Berry Lemonade and Cucumber Melon Spritz, as well as options for grownups like Watermelon Mojitos and Black Bear Mules.
The event will also turn up the tunes with daily live music by local bands at Black Bear Village.
How much does it cost to zipline at Anakeesta?
During Local Appreciation Days, guests can still enjoy the mountain coaster and the zipline but the cost will remain the same.
If you’re up for the fun adventure, that’s $59.99 for all ages for the zipline.
I’m embarrassed, by the way, to say I needed a calculator for that. Zipline prices with general admission require doing some math. Subtract the $32.99 value of a regular admission ticket from the listed $92.98 price of general admission with zipline included.
In fact, can’t we just start charging even amounts for things? I would happily pay the extra cent or two for things to cost $33 or $93 just so I didn’t have to think about it. Is anybody fooled by the one-cent thing?
Wow. It costs $93 to also zipline at Anakeesta.
Fake news! It’s just $92.98!
Well, sir, that’s quite a bargain. At that price, I’ll take a gross and give them to all my Facebook friends.
Remember, prices are subject to change.
Anakeesta annual pass upgrade
And of course, during Local Appreciation Days, visitors can upgrade their $5 local admission to an annual pass for $32, saving roughly $23 off the regular price of an annual pass.
Annual passholders receive:
- 365 days of Anakeesta admission
- Unlimited Express Lane access
- 1 free Buddy Pass for a family member or friend (restrictions apply)
- 20% discount at retail and food and beverage locations (excluding alcohol)
- 20% discount on Dueling Zipline Adventure tours and Rail Runner Mountain Coaster rides
To qualify for the event, locals must present a photo ID with their address or a current paycheck stub with ID at the ticket booth at 576 Parkway Gatlinburg, TN 37738.
Anakeesta is located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg.
Have you visited Anakeesta? What are your favorite fun things to do in the area? Let us know in the comments.