You Can Now Float Through a Kaleidoscope of Color in the Smoky Mountains

blue lights inside Kaleidoscope Kavern

Kaleidoscope Kavern is a lazy river adventure that runs through a life-sized kaleidoscope powered by colorful projections and soothing nature sounds (photo by Morgan Overholt/

The sights and sounds of the mountains in Tennessee inspired this one-of-a-kind attraction

Growing up just a few miles north of Pigeon Forge and all its area attractions, I am no stranger to adventure. I practically grew up in Dollywood. I’ve always had a sort of affinity for theme parks – waterparks included. And I’ve experienced just about every type of park attraction – from lazy rivers to water coasters. It’s hard to impress me with something that’s so out of the box that it takes my breath away. Or at least, so I thought.

Enter Kaleidoscope Kavern, the most ethereal experience you’ll ever have at a waterpark.

Kaleidoscope Kavern is a lazy river experience located at Wilderness at the Smokies indoor waterpark. Illuminated by special lighting effects and projections, it’s part of the $40M park expansion and renovation plan, originally announced in 2022 and completed in 2024.

a rainbow of lights inside the kavern
Kaleidoscope Kavern is probably the most Instagram-worthy attraction in all of the Smoky Mountains (photo by Morgan Overholt/

What is Kaleidoscope Kavern?

Kaleidoscope Kavern is a lazy river adventure that runs through a life-sized kaleidoscope, powered by colorful projections and soothing nature sounds. And it’s the only one of its kind in the country – an experience developed exclusively for Wilderness at the Smokies.

This unique attraction is the brainchild of the Moment Factory. For locals, the Moment Factory may sound familiar to you as they are also the company that dreamt up Anakeesta’s Astra Lumina experience.

The lazy river begins just as any other. But moments after boarding your float, you’re transported into a large “kavern” where you will be greeted with a hypnotically soothing display of lights and sounds, inspired by visuals of the Smoky Mountains. And it’s truly immersive. Due to the nature of the attraction – the lights project not only along the cavern walls but also bounce against the water for a light show at every angle as you weightlessly drift through.

To say it’s Instagram-worthy is an understatement. There are nine different ‘themes’ – ranging from realistic (like dancing fireflies) to dream-like – making each time around a slightly different experience than the last.

green lights
There are nine different themes in all – giving guests a different experience almost every time they pass through (photo by Morgan Overholt/

Location and cost

Kaleidoscope Kavern is part of Wilderness at the Smokies’s indoor waterpark which is open to both hotel guests, and the general public, year-round. It’s the sister attraction to Soaky Mountain – the larger outdoor waterpark across the street.

Admission for guests staying at the Wilderness Resort is included with the room rate. For the general public, day passes can be purchased between $39-$89 per person, depending on the date and availability, at the time of this writing.

Wilderness at the Smokies is located at 1424 Old Knoxville Hwy, Sevierville, TN 37876. Parking is free on-site. I suggest allowing at least a half day for this attraction for planning purposes. It’s a relatively small waterpark, but there’s still plenty to do. And lines are minimal so you can often tackle your favorite slides and rides multiple times.

Ridge Runner water coaster
The Ridge Runner indoor watercoaster is also new for 2023/2024 (photo by Morgan Overholt/

What else is new at Wilderness at the Smokies?

Kaleidoscope Kavern isn’t the only new attraction at Wilderness. This installation is just part of a $40M expansion and renovation plan at the resort. Also new for the 2023/2024 season is the indoor Ridge Runner watercoaster and the one-of-a-kind (in the Smokies) rooftop glass-edge pool and bar known as Lookout Lagoon.

Despite its smaller indoor footprint compared to similar coasters, the Ridge Runner coaster doesn’t disappoint. It packs all the thrills you’d expect and then some. If you’re unfamiliar with water coasters – they differ from “normal” slides as they can transport riders both up and down the tube just like a traditional dry coaster.

Lookout Lagoon is a glass-edged rooftop pool that makes you feel like you’re floating atop a mountain ledge looking out at the Smoky Mountains.

All three attractions – Kaleidoscope Kavern, Ridge Runner and Lookout Lagoon are now open at Wilderness at the Smokies.

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Disclosure: We have used and experienced all the products and activities recommended on The Smokies. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products and experiences featured.

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