Anakeesta

A Walk Between Trees in Tennessee at Anakeesta, What You Should Know

Anakeesta’s world-renowned Treetop SkyWalk in Tennessee reminds me of one of my favorite moments in literature.

In J.R.R Tolkein’s “The Hobbit”, trudging under the dark canopy of a mighty forest, the Hobbit Bilbo and his Dwarven companions are sullen and angry and nearing despair.

Seemingly abandoned by the wizard who’d promised to lead them, they are trapped in a dark, seemingly endless forest that does not allow light to enter or air to move.

Finally, they send Bilbo, the lightest and most nimble of the traveling party, to climb through the canopy and see if he can get a bearing.

Bilbo pokes through and for a few moments is allowed to soak in the sun and enjoy the breeze. Butterflies flit around the treetops and all of the weight he had felt moments before is lifted. 

It’s a lesson in the importance of perspective, one that is driven home throughout popular culture. Perspective can be everything. 

It’s the difference between walking through a forest and walking above it. That’s the experience offered by the Treetop Skywalk at Anakeesta

TheSmokies.com

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Where is a walk between trees in Tennessee?

The Skywalk, which is known as a walk between the trees, is located at the Anakeesta attraction in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Anakeesta bills itself as a mountain-top theme park.

The park offers a variety of Smoky Mountain-themed activities, but it’s the Treetop Skywalk that tends to be the real show-stopper.

Anakeesta’s Treetop Skywalk is the longest tree-based skywalk in North America.

treetop skywalk from a distance at night
The Skywalk is an 880-ft walkway (photo by Bill Burris/TheSmokies.com)

How long is the Anakeesta tree canopy walk?

Being romantically predisposed to enjoying a Treetop Skywalk, I especially looked forward to experiencing the Skywalk despite my fear of heights. The 880-foot walkway is suspended 50 to 60 feet in the air.

I liked it immensely. It’s romantic in the idealistic sense of the word. 

But the truth is I think I would have preferred to have it to myself. 

Walking along the swinging ropes over the bright green canopy, my mind wanted to wander. Also, I wanted to find a spot along the course somewhere alone, where I could pull out a chair, sit and think. 

It would be a great place to ruminate, to loosen a few mental shackles and exercise the mind. But, that’s hard to do in the middle of Gatlinburg’s theme park. 

There are couples taking the walk hand-in-hand, families and kids running ahead of their father briefly heeding admonishments to wait and slow down.

It was a place I really wanted to be alone, but that would be a poor business model. 

Not that I begrudged the others the experience. They paid for their ticket as well, after all. 

But there were places built to exercise the mind, and I felt like the Skywalk really could be one. 

Still, as walks through – or above – nature go, the Skywalk is a notch above. 

There is a sense of joy, of wonder, in the changed perspective. It’s a sense of adventure walking from treetop to treetop on rope bridges and wooden planks. And a sense of possibility.

And there are dozens of opportunities to take great pics for the ‘gram. 

anakeesta's bridge vs skylift park's bridge
A side-by-side comparison of Anakeesta’s Treetop Skywalk (left) and SkyLift Park’s SkyBridge (right) (left photo by Marie Graichen; right photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Does Anakeesta have a SkyBridge?

Anakeesta’s Skywalk is sometimes confused with the SkyBridge at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park. A comparison is pictured above.

Anakeesta has the longest tree-based skywalk in North America. It’s a series of bridges where guests immerse themselves in the beauty of nature.

Located nearby, the SkyBridge is the longest pedestrian cable bridge in North America. It’s a singular long bridge that towers with a height of 500 feet above Gatlinburg.

Read Also: Is Anakeesta worth it? An honest review [2023]

a walk between trees in Tennessee during the day
We recommend guests take a walk on the Skywalk during the day and at night (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Is the Treetop Skywalk at Anakeesta wheelchair accessible?

Unfortunately, accessibility is an issue.

There are stairs down to the Skywalk and then a couple of flights back up and out. It isn’t arduous but if stairs present an issue for you, they are worse upon exit – which is nearer the Anakeesta Chondola – than they are upon entry near the rear of the park. 

At the time of this writing, while many parts of Anakeesta are wheelchair accessible, the Treetop Skywalk is not.

What if you’re scared of heights?

Of course, the Skywalk is plenty sturdy. I never felt remotely unsafe.

But it is a series of rope and netted bridges, it’s gonna jostle and sway. If you get a rowdy batch of teens, you might feel like Indiana Jones in the “Temple of Doom”.

But as long as no one is holding a giant scimitar and promising to help you meet an ancient god, you should be fine. On that note, jumping and running are not permitted.

With that said, guests who are very afraid of heights might want to skip attraction. 

chondola at anakeesta
Anakeesta is located on a mountain in Tennessee (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

What is included at Anakeesta?

The famous Treetop Skywalk is included in the price of admission at Anakeesta.

Your visit to Anakeesta begins with a scenic ride on the Chondola, which is what Anakeesta calls its chair lift. Most guests ride in the 4-person chair, but there is an enclosed gondola cabin as well.

At the top, there are several fun things to do for guests.

The majority of which has to do with Anakeeesta’s majestic views of the Smokies. The included activities are the Chondola ride, the AnaVista observation tower, the Treeventure and Bear Venture challenge courses and the Vista Gardens.

The AnaVista tower now is the tallest point in downtown Gatlinburg.

Guests can also gain access to shopping and dining options. For example, one of the best places to grab a bite to eat is the Cliff Top Restaurant, which offers stunning views of the city.

blue lights on astra lumina night walk
The Astra Lumina experience is an immersive night walk that features lights and sound (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

What is not included at Anakeesta?

The park has a few add-on options as well for guests looking for some more outdoor adventures.

For example, the Rail Runner mountain coaster is an extra cost, as well as the Dueling Zipline.

The park also offers gem mining. Most recently, guests can purchase the Astra Lumina night walk experience, which is the first of its kind in the United States.

Read Also: Astra Lumina at Anakeesta is now open, what you need to know

ridge rambler truck at anakeesta
Guests can go up and down the mountain in a truck if they prefer (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Can you walk down Anakeesta?

No. Once you are on the mountain, you have to take the Chondola to get to the top of Anakeesta as well as back down.

Alternatively, you can also ride the Ridge Rambler adventure vehicle, which is essentially a big truck.

How much does it cost to go to Anakeesta?

At the time of this writing, general admission tickets are $34.99 for adults, $27.99 for seniors and $22.99 for kids (ages 4-11).

Children 3 and under are free. However, you can usually find a better deal and save a couple of bucks per ticket when you book through Tripster.

Anakeesta is located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg at 576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN.

Have you taken a walk between the trees at Anakeesta’s Treetop Skywalk attraction on a Gatlinburg vacation? Let us know in the comments!

View the web story version of this article here.

Is Anakeesta worth It? A personal review (with discount) [2023]

Anakeesta is one of the newer jewels in downtown Gatlinburg, across from Ripley’s Aquarium.

It sits atop a mountain offering spectacular views of the village and the mountains, reportedly as far away as Kentucky.

Sunsets can be breathtaking and the scenic ride down the enclosed chondola cabin at night is especially cool.

But, the more I talk to people about the Anakeesta attraction, the same question arises: Is Anakeesta worth it?

The answer is both simple and complicated.

Yes, it’s worth it. But also, it might not be for everyone. It all depends on your point of view.

Anakeesta, which bills itself as an award-winning theme park, is still a work in progress.

TheSmokies.com

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How long do you spend at Anakeesta?

How long people spend at Anakeesta will depend on whether or not they partake in extra activities. If you don’t partake in any extra activities, plan for about 2-4 hours.

You could spend the better part of the day there if you purchase a lot of the extra add-ons.

Is there a lot of walking at Anakeesta?

Sure. There’s walking involved, but it’s not necessarily the same amount of walking you would do at a theme park like Dollywood.

Anakeesta is built for relaxing. And there will be some walking in between.

chondola at anakeesta
Guests can ride the chair lift or the Ridge Rambler truck to gain access to Anakeesta (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Are Anakeesta tickets good all day?

Yes. The good news is, once you purchase a ticket, the ticket is good for the day. You can go up and down the mountain as much as your heart desires.

Tickets that are purchased at the ticket booth one hour before close grant you access to the following day for free.

How many feet up is Anakeesta?

Anakeesta is 600 feet above the city of Gatlinburg. Its AnaVista Tower offers the tallest point in the city. Anakeesta means “the place of the high ground” in the Cherokee language.

Guests who are not a fan of heights can ride the Ridge Rambler truck to get to the attraction instead of the chair lift.

anavista tower and watering can at anakeesta
The AnaVista Tower is the tallest point in Gatlinburg (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

What is the best time to visit Anakeesta?

Winter is an exciting time to visit the park because it is illuminated with beautiful lights and decorations.

But remember, if you’re visiting in January or February, Anakeesta runs on a limited seasonal schedule. Check the operating calendar before planning your visit.

In general, the park says that the hours between noon-3 pm tend to have longer wait times.

And no matter when you’re visiting, if you’re visiting during the day, I think it’s worth it to come back at night and enjoy the views as they are illuminated after dark.

ziplines at anakeesta
Ziplining is an additional cost at Anakeesta (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

How much does Anakeesta cost? Is there a discount?

Your adult general admission tickets are $34.99. The ticket to ride to the summit of Anakeesta buys you access to spectacular views and access to their included activities.

Remember, sometimes you can save a couple of dollars by booking with Tripster. Pricing for children and seniors is also available at a discounted rate.

The AnaVista Tower and the truly cool Treetop Skywalk, the longest tree-based skywalk bridge in North America, are included in your admission price. In addition, guests can experience the Vista Gardens retreat.

For the kids, a ticket includes access to the Treehouse Village playground, the TreeVenture Challenge Course, an interactive treehouse designed to entertain children of all ages and the BearVenture Challenge Course, a black bear-themed challenge course designed with young children in mind.

Seasonal experiences can add value as well.

For Halloween, Anakeesta features a spectacular haunted walk around the park.

At Christmas, they decorate the place with lights that really add a little something to the value of your admission.

But after that? You’ll need to break out the wallet. Nearly everything else costs extra.

Read Also: A walk between the trees in Tennessee at Anakeesta

pink orbs light up night sky
The Astra Lumina night walk is an add-on experience at Anakeesta (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Which features cost extra at Anakeesta?

At the time of this writing, the Dueling Zipline adventure is $49.99 (in addition to general admission) and the Rail Runner mountain coaster is around $12.99, or $14.99 for tandem rides.

You can buy a zipline and general admission combo online for $84.98 at the time of this writing.

But the tickets for the 25 mph Rail Runner coaster are only available for purchase at the park.

The prices can start to add up since most kids do not expect to only ride a single ride and call it a day. However, you can always ride again for half off. Mining for gems is also an add-on.

Anakeesta also offers a unique experience with the Astra Lumina night walk, which is the first of its kind in the entire United States. That feature alone makes the trip more worth it, even though it is also an add-on to your base price of admission.

Read Also: Astra Lumina at Anakeesta is now open, what you need to know

Additionally, Anakeesta offers great dining options from the sit-down options at Cliff Top Grill, Smokehouse, Tap House or the Bar at the Top of the World, to quicker options at the Kephart Café, Pearl’s Pie in the Sky or the Snack Shack. They offer items like salads, chicken, pizza and a wide selection of beverages.

You can also relax by the firepit at Firefly Village.

The food itself, of course, adds an additional cost to your trip. However, no theme park in the world offers dining options for free, so it seems ill-conceived to blame Anakeesta for that.

Same with Anakeesta’s quaint shopping, which is fine, but I can’t imagine anyone paying an entrance fee just to shop at Black Bear Village.

And there lies the rub. Anakeesta, in my opinion, is pretty great. But it suffers from a split personality complex.

the treetop skywalk at night at anakeesta
The Treetop Skywalk at Anakeesta is illuminated at night (photo by Marie Graichen/TheSmokies.com)

Is Anakeesta worth it?

If you’re asking me is Anakeesta worth it? It depends on your point of view.

Anakeesta is a theme park that charges extra for the rides because many of its visitors aren’t coming for thrills. It’s also a dining and shopping destination that charges an admission fee because many of its visitors don’t come to dine or shop.

It is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle and placed inside a conundrum but with spectacular views of mountain peaks and beautiful scenery.

I think it suffers a self-inflicted wound by billing itself as a theme park – just a few miles from one of the world’s truly great theme parks.

It’s an unfair comparison, but an inevitable one when you call yourself a theme park.

To my mind, Anakeesta is a unique destination but it’s not a theme park. It’s all theme and very little park.

Now, in fairness to Anakeesta, they seem to be doing very well without my input. Most nights I’ve been by, especially when the weather is pleasant, they’ve done very good business.

For my wife and I, we’d pay admission to ride the chondola, soak up the mountain views, do a little shopping and grab some dinner and some drinks. Yeah. Sure. Totally worth it.

The extra charge off the top hurts, but I figure those views and the atmosphere are worth it.

For my family, with three kids who will be bored of the views in 30 minutes? Who had their fill of the tree walk and the playgrounds in another hour?

Nah. With kids, once you pay for admission, a zipline each and a couple of rides on the coaster, we could have gotten into Dollywood and had access to unlimited age-appropriate rides.

To be clear, I like Anakeesta. I think it’s genuinely really cool. But if I want a $100 theme park experience around the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, I might consider somewhere else.

For more information on Anakeesta in East Tennessee, visit anakeesta.com. Check for discounts on your regular admission ticket on Tripster and skip the ticket booth upon arrival.

Do you agree with our review? Let us know in the comments! View the web story version of this article here.

Astra Lumina at Anakeesta is now open, what you need to know

Astra Lumina has officially opened at Anakeesta.

Debuting ahead of schedule, the brand-new nighttime immersive adventure launched with a sold-out opening weekend.

Anakeesta teamed up with Canadian-based multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory to create an experience completely unique to the Smokies. In fact, it’s unique to the whole United States.

Astra Lumina at Anakeesta is the 15th experience in the Lumina Enchanted Night Walk series and the very first in the country.

The stellar journey of astral magic and discovery offers Gatlinburg a new nighttime offering unlike anything else in one of the newest, most remarkable experiences in the Smokies.

TheSmokies.com

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astra lumina sign at entrance with trees and lights
Astra Lumina is a new night walk experience at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

What is Astra Lumina at Anakeesta?

Astra Lumina is a night walk experience that features lighting, projection and sound.

The walk consists of a one-mile, unpaved nature trail with lighting effects, fog, lasers and more.

The idea of the experience is to “connect visitors with the stars” as they begin exploration through a Smoky Mountain forest.

At Astra Lumina, visitors will feel like they are traveling across mysterious observatory grounds, discovering a celestial pathway of lustrous light, cosmic visions and astral song along the way.

Members of the media, including staff from TheSmokies.com, were able to preview the experience on Thursday, Oct. 20.

And on Oct. 21, the brand-new experience opened to the general public. However, it is already sold out for the opening weekend.

“We’re thrilled to open with so much excitement from our guests,” said Bob Bentz, Managing Partner at Anakeesta.

“We are really feeling the energy from the city, Astra Lumina is only the beginning of Anakeesta’s vision to continue to offer Gatlinburg unparalleled experiences and continue to raise the bar for attractions in Tennessee.”

pink orbs light up night sky
The Astra Lumina experience offers lighting effects throughout a one-mile nature walk (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

What will you see on the Astra Lumina night walk?

During the night walk, stargazers will embark on eight distinct stellar zones:

Names and descriptions of these zones can be found below:

  • Astra Archway: Step inside the starlight and enter the unknown
  • Falling Stars: Open your heart to the arrival of the stars
  • Cosmic Choir: Experience a symphony of fallen stars
  • Stardust Rays: Discover a place where stars and nature are one
  • Stellar Visions: Take off on a journey to uncover the origin of the stars
  • Celestial Trail: Immerse in the flowing force of astral energy
  • Astral Genesis: Witness the regeneration of the stars
  • Rise of the Stars: Look up to the sky as the stars return to their rightful home
a map of the path at astra lumina features eight stops
The Astra Lumina night walk features eight zones (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

What is the Moment Factory?

Moment Factory is a multimedia studio company that has a full range of production expertise.

Their team specializes in video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects to create remarkable experiences.

Since its inception in 2001, Moment Factory has created more than 450 unique projects worldwide, including the Lumina Night Walk series.

Other projects from the Moment Factory span the globe and include notable clients such as Disney, Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, Arcade Fire, Microsoft, Sony, Boston Museum of Science, Madonna, Universal Studios and the Toronto Zoo.

The company is based in Montreal and has addresses in Tokyo, Paris, New York City and Singapore.

lights fall like stars at the astra lumina experience at anakeesta
The night walk experience follows a journey of stars (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

How much is Astra Lumina at Anakeesta?

Astra Lumina is an add-on experience. General admission to the park is required.

The good news is, visitors can purchase a special discount combo ticket that includes admission for only $49.98 at the time of this writing.

Additionally, guests may also choose an after 5 pm ticket at a discount, and annual pass members receive 20% off Astra Lumina tickets.

Senior and child discounts are also available.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit their website.

lasers project in smoky mountain forest at anakeesta
The experience uses fog, lighting and other special effects (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Is Astra Lumina worth it at Anakeesta?

I think so. It’s definitely a unique experience, but the answer is always subjective.

For a family with several young children? It may not be worth the extra expense.

However, if you’re looking for a romantic evening walk for a special occasion?

Definitely worth it.

Do you need reservations for Astra Lumina?

You may purchase either online for a discounted rate or at the gate.

However, I would strongly recommend booking the experience ahead of time. At the time of this writing, Astra Lumina tickets were sold out for the opening weekend.

a sign asks what if the stars could reach for us in sea of lights
Astra Lumina asks, “what if the stars could reach for us?” (media photo courtesy of Anakeesta)

How long is the Astra Lumina experience?

There are eight stations during the Astra Lumina night walk experience.

Each section essentially runs on a loop and averages a little under five minutes or so.

If you took your time enjoying each display and the pathways of light between them, we’d estimate about 45 minutes to an hour to experience Astra Lumina.

path lit up with lights and fog
The pathways are uneven and not wheelchair or stroller-friendly (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Is Astra Lumina wheelchair accessible?

Anakeesta says that the Astra Lumina experience is not wheelchair accessible. It is also not stroller accessible unless parents are using a “sport” stroller.

The experience is on a one-mile, unpaved nature trail.

a sign tells guests to explore at their own pace
Guests are encouraged to explore at their own pace (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Other tips for Astra Lumina at Anakeesta

Flash photography is not permitted, but other photos and videos are allowed.

Allow about 1.5 hours to arrive at the park and get up the mountain on either the lift or the Ridge Rambler adventure vehicle before your ticket time.

You can enter Astra Lumina 30 minutes prior to your ticket time.

Children must be supervised and closed-toed shoes are strongly recommended.

Special effects include strobe lights, flashing lights, lasers and fog.

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What else is at Anakeetsa?

Tennessee’s award-winning theme park Anakeesta is a family entertainment venue in beautiful downtown Gatlinburg.

The park offers the Rail Runner mountain coaster and the chance to soar across the sky with the Dueling Zipline Adventure Course for thrill seekers.

But Anakeesta is best known for its beautiful views of the majestic Smoky Mountains. Guests begin on a scenic chondola ride to the top of the mountain.

From there, they are free to stroll through the Vista Gardens and visit the AnaVista Tower, which is downtown Gatlinburg’s highest point.

There are multiple places to eat at the park, and the chefs offer innovative culinary creations at restaurants like Cliff Top Grill and Bar. It’s certainly one of the best places to eat in Gatlinburg.

Of course, overall, the venue is fun for visitors of all ages. Anakeesta also offers play areas for the little ones, including a splash pad and the TreeVenture and BearVenture challenge courses.

The attraction is also known for having the nation’s longest treetop SkyWalk, which is included in the price of general admission.

Read Also: These are the best restaurants in Gatlinburg TN: 37 top places to eat

rendering of stone village at anakeesta
Anakeesta will continue expanding through 2024 and will be adding a European-themed village (media photo courtesy of Anakeesta)

What else is new at Anakeesta?

Astra Lumina is the first step of a major expansion of the theme park.

Anakeesta officials recently announced a multimillion-dollar expansion. This will be the largest development to date since the park’s opening in 2017.

The upcoming expansion will double the size of the guest experience. This $34 million investment will happen in phases through 2024.

The expansion will include a new mountain coaster, a European-themed village and BirdVenture, a birdhouse-inspired play zone.

Read Also: Anakeesta announces $34 million expansion, the largest yet

Anakeesta is located along the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

What do you think about the new Astra Lumina experience at Anakeesta? Let us know in the comments below.

BREAKING: Anakeesta announces $34 million expansion, the largest yet

Today, Anakeesta officials announced a multimillion-dollar expansion coming soon to the mountain theme park, located in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

This will be the largest development to date since the park’s opening in 2017.

Overlooking Gatlinburg, the mountaintop adventure park is home to some of the most beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The upcoming expansion will double the size of the guest experience. This $34 million investment will happen over the next three years.

“As Gatlinburg’s iconic destination, we’re excited to continue offering Tennessee visitors incomparable adventures that elevate the Smoky Mountain guest experience,” said Bob Bentz, founder and managing partner of Anakeesta.

“This historic expansion will take our park to new heights with unparalleled moments of magic and extraordinary mountain thrills that only Anakeesta and the Great Smoky Mountains can deliver.”

TheSmokies.com

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What is part of the new expansion?

The expansions will happen in phases through 2024, and the first new feature will open this fall. Here are some of the big items you can look forward to as part of Anakeetsa’s record-breaking expansion:

Read Also: Anakeesta vs. Ober Gatlinburg: Which attraction is better?

Anakeesta's new Astra Lumina night walk
Astra Lumina will feature lighting, projection and sound and will be the first attraction of its kind in the U.S. (media photo courtesy of Anakeesta)

1. Astra Lumina

This new enchanted night walk experience has immersive lighting and audio, guiding guests through a celestial story within the woods.

In partnership with Moment Factory, an award-winning multimedia entertainment studio in Montreal, Canada, Anakeesta guests will take a nighttime journey through a Smoky Mountain Forest.

They will experience “illuminating encounters” which feature lighting, projection and sound to connect with the mystery of the stars.

Anakeetsa’s Astra Lumina Enchanted Night Walk will be Moment Factory’s 15th Lumina Night Walk experience and the first of its kind in the United States.

Astra Lumina is sure to be a sensory experience like no other in the Smokies.

2. Hellbender mountain coaster

The second attraction will be a thrilling new mountain coaster that boasts experiential tunnels, with twists and turns through the forest.

The new ride is a double-rail mountain coaster that will be themed to the native Smoky Mountain salamander species, giving it the perfect name of Hellbender.

With this new installation, Anakeesta will have a single-rail and double-rail mountain coaster for the whole family.

rendering of stone village at anakeesta shows a waterfall, restaurants and shops
A rendering of the new Stone Village, which will have a phased opening beginning next spring (rendering courtesy of Anakeesta)

3. A new European-themed village

In the spring of 2023, the first part their new European-themed village will open as Anakeesta further expands its adventure offerings with two new attractions for the young and young-at-heart.

This new European-themed village will feature shopping, dining and an immersive plaza with an interactive waterfall.

One of the new eateries at the village will be Mimi’s Bakery.

This new French-inspired bakery will serve sweet and savory treats. Along with the bakery, Anakeesta will be opening its first phase of the largest themed retail area the park has ever built.

The first phase of Anakeesta’s new expansion project also includes a new interactive mountain waterfall and cave system surrounded by walking trails and Anakeesta’s iconic lush gardens.

Guests will be able to walk behind the falls and explore the caves within this water feature designed to evoke the natural beauty of waterfalls found throughout hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains.

In fact, every element highlights the beauty of the surrounding natural environment for an authentic Smoky Mountain experience.

rendering of bird venture
BirdVenture will be a play zone for the young and young-at-heart (rendering courtesy of Anakeesta)

4. BirdVenture

Last but certainly not least, BirdVenture will be a birdhouse-inspired play zone where guests can imagine life as a bird in the Smokies.

Kids of all ages will experience three larger-than-life birdhouses, a dozen adventure zones and seven giant serpentine slides winding more than 50 feet down the mountain.

This unique series of slide paths marks another first of its kind in the United States.

“Anakeesta’s continued investment into expanding its park will allow even more visitors the opportunity to experience the authentic wonder and beauty of the Gatlinburg area,” said Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner.

“These planned developments at Anakeesta will continue to add to the many reasons visitors will have to choose Gatlinburg as their vacation destination.”

night walk at anakeesta
The new enchanted night walk is opening this fall (media photo courtesy of Anakeesta)

When will the new expansions at Anakeeseta be open?

The Astra Lumina Enchanted Night Walk is opening Oct. 21, 2022. The rest of the massive expansion will continue in phases throughout 2024, with phased openings beginning as early as spring 2023.

Once completed, Anakeesta promises to transport guests to a unique and iconic mountaintop village that has been designed with nature in mind and adorned with touches of aged copper, stone and wood.

Future elements will include a heavily themed restaurant and brewery, event center and entertainment stage with indoor and outdoor seating.

“These expansions at Anakeesta provide even more compelling reasons for vacationers to choose a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, our country’s most visited national park,” said Mark Ezell, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

“The variety of authentic adventures offered in Tennessee is becoming even more elevated and unique with each of these new tourism mountain experiences.”

Read Also: What can you do at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg TN? A complete guide

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How much will it cost?

Today’s announcement did not include dollar signs, beyond the $34 million investment. However, tickets are currently on sale for the fall opening of Astra Lumina.

Currently, an admission ticket with the night walk experience costs $49.98 for an adult. Child admission is $32.98 and senior pricing is $40.98.

Of course, prices are subject to change.

If you’re planning a trip to Anakeesta, book in advance with Tripster for regular admission tickets. Note: This does not include the night walk experience.

What do you think about Anakeesta’s announcement? Let us know in the comments below.