Anakeesta vs. Ober Gatlinburg: Which is better? This is one of the most common questions we receive. But as with most things in life, the answer is not always simple. So let’s take a look at the differences between Anakeesta and Ober Gatlinburg:
Anakeesta vs. Ober: The similarities
Let’s start with the basics. Why are these two attractions often compared to one another? Well, for starters they are both located on top of a mountain in downtown Gatlinburg, Tenn.
Both Anakeesta and Ober are family attractions. Both of them offer mountain coasters, fun things to do for kids, aerial views of the city, shops and restaurants.
So how are they different?
Anakeesta vs. Ober: Getting up the mountain
One of the noticeable differences between Anakeesta and Ober is getting up the mountain.
It is required that you purchase admission ($28.99 for adults) to get up the mountain to see Anakeesta. And you can usually discount tickets on Tripster that make the trip even more affordable. Guests can ride the Chondala (a chairlift), but those who have a fear of heights typically prefer the Ridge Rambler (a big truck).
At Ober, while you may purchase an Aerial Tramway ticket to get to your destination ($17 for adults and $14 for children), it is possible to drive yourself up the mountain as well. Parking costs about $10. (You can sometimes save a couple of extra bucks on Ober Gatlinburg Tramway tickets using Tripster).
It’s also important to note that this drive might be dicey in bad weather conditions. In the winter, make sure you have a 4-wheel drive or chains on your tires. Don’t take any chances.
Anakeesta vs. Ober: Which one is more expensive?
At the time of this writing, general admission tickets for Anakeesta are $28.99 for adults, $21.99 for seniors and $19.99 for kids (ages 4-11). But again, you can usually save a couple of bucks per ticket when you book through Tripster. Children 3 and under are free.
Your admission includes access to:
- Unlimited Chondala (or Ridge Rambler) rides
- Treetop Skywalk
- Treehouse Village Adventure
- Vista Gardens
- AnaVista Tower
- Memorial Forest Interpretative Walk
- Shopping and dining opportunities
Ober Gatlinburg is a bit more “à la carte”. Each ride has a cost associated with it. For example, just to name a few (at the time of this writing):
- Amaze’N Maze: $4 per person
- Rock Wall: $4 per person
- Ice Bumper Cars: $8 per person
- Scenic Chairlift: $8 per person
- Alpine Slide: $8 per person
- Ski Mountain Coaster: $16 per person ($12 for children)
However, Ober also offers wristbands if you want to do a package deal. The premium wristband costs $39 for adults and $35 for children. The premium wristband includes the:
- Alpine Slide
- Scenic Chairlift
- Wildlife Encounter
- Rock Climbing Wall
- Amaze’N Maze
- Chair Swings
- Mini Golf
- Kiddie Umbrella Rides
- Ski Mountain Coaster (one ride)
- Ice Skating (one session)
- Ice Bumper Cars (one session)
To me, Anakeesta’s pricing system is a little more clear. You pay the admission, you gain access to most things in the park. If you want to ride the Rail Runner or go ziplining, you’ll pay a little more.
Ober Gatlinburg’s pricing system can be a bit more of a pick-your-own-adventure experience. Some people may prefer this, but it depends on what you’re interested in doing.
Anakeesta vs. Ober: Which one is better for kids?
I see this question a lot as well, but I’d say that it depends on your kids.
Are your kids young and rambunctious and seem to never run out of energy? They may enjoy a wristband at Ober, where they can exhaust the climbing walls, mazes and swings until their little hearts are content.
But to me, Anakeesta has more for the adults while the children can still play. At Anakeesta, kids can explore the treehouses, challenge courses and splash pads while the parents relax with an adult beverage and take in the views. As one friend (and parent) told me, the best way to enjoy Anakeesta is to just chill out.
The bottom line is, each individual will have their own preferences.
The biggest differences between Anakeesta and Ober Gatlinburg
Anakeesta is a lot newer than Ober Gatlinburg. Anakeesta opened in 2017, and they continue to expand and build upon their mountain experience. In fact, they just finished a $6.5 million expansion in 2020.
Ober Gatlinburg opened in 1962, and while they do roll out new features, such as the new summer tubing attraction, it can feel more outdated when compared to Anakeesta.
Another noticeable difference between the two is the winter activities. If you’re absolutely set on seeing snow, you may want to visit Ober. They offer snow tubing and ice skating in winter months. Notably, they are the only destination where you can ski and snowboard in the whole state of Tennessee.
What’s YOUR opinion on the differences between Anakeesta vs Ober Gatlinburg? Let us know in the comments!