Anakeesta vs. Ober Gatlinburg: Which attraction is better?

Anakeesta-vs-Ober
Anakeesta and Ober Gatlinburg are popular attractions in Gatlinburg (left photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com; right photo submitted by Greg and Laura Akens)

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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? 

Read Also: Watch this black bear sneak into a restaurant at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg

Anakeesta vs. Ober
Admission is required to visit Anakeesta, but it is possible to drive to Ober Gatlinburg (photos by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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 ($21.99 for adults) to get up the mountain to see Anakeesta. 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.

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. 

TreeVenture
The new TreeVenture is now open at Anakeesta (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Anakeesta vs. Ober: Which one is more expensive? 

Anakeesta general admission costs $21.99 for adults, $17.99 for children and $19.99 for seniors (at the time of this writing). Your admission includes access to:

  • Unlimited Chondala (or Ridge Rambler) rides
  • Treetop Skywalk
  • Treehouse Village Adventure
  • BearVenture
  • TreeVenture
  • Vista Gardens
  • AnaVista Tower
  • Memorial Forest Interpretative Walk
  • Shopping and dining opportunities 
Ober Gatlinburg
Ober Gatlinburg has many attractions for kids. Tickets for each attraction may be purchased individually (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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) 

Read Also: Ober Gatlinburg Review: The good, the bad and the nostalgic 

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
  • Carousel
  • 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.

Read Also: A review of Anakeesta: A getaway from your getaway 

The bottom line is, each individual will have their own preferences. 

Music at Anakeesta
Anakeesta often features live music (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

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. 

Read More:  Anakeesta debuts 7 new attractions at the Black Bear Village grand opening 

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! 

For more information on Anakeesta, visit anakeesta.com. For more information on Ober Gatlinburg, visit obergatlinburg.com

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at [email protected] for questions or comments.

5 Comments

  1. Just left them both this past week.Much like the previous article Anakeesta is much fresher,but the 90 min line we waited in to get up the mountain was tireing.Ober was celebrating Octoberfest,which was a pluss.There are quite a lot more things to do and shop fore at Ober.However we enjoyed both.

  2. One more comparison I did not see. Altitude. I may be off a bit but I believe Anakeesta is around 1900 ft and Ober is on average 3,000 plus. Anakeesta has good views looking from far south to the west. Ober faces east, north east and south. Yes Ober was built by the city in 1962. But their Mt Coaster was built in 2015. While I enjoyed walking around at Anakeesta the zip line was all that was available in 2017. I’m a snowsports enthusiast. I will stick with the historic real stone lodge over glitz and fiberglass characters. You can’t reproduce the Ober Ski Lodge. Plus Ober has “Snow Magic” technology that allows them to make snow at warmer temperature. Winter tubing starts the week before Thanksgiving with a ski competition the night before. FYI the city of Gatlinburg does an excellent job keeping Ski Mt Rd clear during the winter.

  3. We love to come to Gatlinburg and every time we come, we are up at Anakeesta in early morning and afternoon. The food is great and overall very peaceful. We have been back twice this year already. We have not had the chance to venture up to Ober yet but we will! Tennessee is amazing!! Every place we go around the area of Gatlinburg is just so exciting and enjoyable. Gatlinburg, we love you!!

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