Gatlinburg

Anakeesta vs. Ober Gatlinburg: Which attraction is better?

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 subjective, so it is not always simple.

Let’s take a look at the differences between Anakeesta and Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee.

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 the heart of the Smokies in downtown Gatlinburg TN.

Both Anakeesta and Ober are family attractions. Both of them offer mountain coasters, fun things to do for kids, aerial views of the city, as well as shopping and dining opportunities.

Okay, so how are they different?

The ride to Anakeesta vs Ober
At Anakeesta (left), you have to pay for admission to ride to the top of the mountain via either the chairs, the chondola (pictured) or the truck. At Ober, you can pay to ride the Aerial Tramway (pictured right) or drive up the mountain on your own (photos by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Anakeesta vs. Ober: Getting up the mountain

One of the noticeable differences between Anakeesta and Ober Gatlinburg is getting up the mountain.

It is required that you purchase admission ($32.99 for adults at the time of this writing) to get up the mountain to see Anakeesta. You can usually find discount tickets on Tripster that make the trip even more affordable.

Most guests will ride in an open chairlift, but an enclosed chondola is also available. Those who have a fear of heights typically prefer the Ridge Rambler (a big truck).

At Ober Gatlinburg, while you may purchase an Aerial Tramway ticket to get to your destination ($19 for adults at the time of this writing), 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 the aerial tram 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.

Both rides up the mountain will offer beautiful views of the mountains.

Of course, if you’re chasing views, you may want to take a look at the famous SkyBridge at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park as well.

Read Also: Anakeesta vs. SkyLift Park: Which attraction is better?

TreeVenture at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg
TreeVenture is an adventure course for the little ones at Anakeesta (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Anakeesta vs. Ober: Which one is more expensive?

At the time of this writing, general admission tickets for Anakeesta are $32.99 for adults, $25.99 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 unlimited access to:

  • Chondola (or Ridge Rambler) rides
  • Treetop Skywalk
  • Treehouse Village Adventure
  • BearVenture
  • TreeVenture
  • Vista Gardens
  • AnaVista Tower
  • Shopping and dining opportunities
Attractions at Ober Gatlinburg in TN
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. Prices per attraction may range from about $4 per person to about $16 per person.

Some of the offered attractions include:

  • Alpine slide
  • Amaze’N Maze
  • Carousel
  • Chair swings
  • Rock wall
  • Ice bumper cars
  • Ice skating
  • Mini golf
  • Scenic chairlift
  • Ski mountain coaster
  • Scenic chairlift
  • Tubing
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Wildlife encounter

To me, Anakeesta’s pricing system is a little clearer. You pay the admission, you gain access to most things in the park. If you want to ride the Rail Runner or try the Dueling Ziplines, 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 your preference is.

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.

I’ve heard a lot of folks with young kids say they prefer taking their kids to Ober. Ober offers a wider range of activities.

Anakeesta, on the other hand, is a more modern park that has more to offer for the adults while the children can 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.

Music at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg
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.

Ober Gatlinburg opened in 1962, and while they do roll out new features, it can feel a bit more outdated when compared to Anakeesta.

It may also depend on which season you’re planning your visit.

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 the winter months. Notably, they are the only destination where you can ski and snowboard in the whole state of Tennessee.

But, Anakeesta offers stunning winter decorations in the holiday season.

What’s YOUR opinion on the differences between Anakeesta vs Ober Gatlinburg? Let us know in the comments.

Which attraction do you prefer when you visit the Great Smoky Mountains? Let us know in the comments.

You can view the web story version of this article here.