WILDERNESS AT THE SMOKIES
Stay And Play In Sevierville At Tennessee’s Largest Waterpark Resort
Family fun is the heartbeat of Wilderness at the Smokies, a resort and adventure center that’s home to Tennessee’s largest waterpark plus an indoor adventure forest, multiple dining options, and 713 rooms, suites and villas.
Stay at Wilderness at the Smokies and waterpark admission is included in your room rate. That means access to a total of 17 waterslides, nine pools, a lazy river, plus multiple water rides and attractions. Whatever the range of ages and heights, every member of your family will find multiple ways to splash, slide and surf. An indoor adventure forest offers additional challenges with the option of staying dry. There’s truly fun for all, since the challenges and adventures presented thrill the young as well as the young at heart, bringing childish grins to even the stodgiest adults’ faces.
Located in Sevierville, Wilderness at the Smokies offers what most vacations can’t: a guaranteed comfortable temperature of 84 degrees every day of the year at its Wild WaterDome indoor waterpark, the largest in the state of Tennessee. (The energy-efficient transparent roof even allows for year-round tanning!) Two additional waterparks, Lake Wilderness and Salamander Springs, are outdoors and available to enjoy seasonally.
Among the waterpark highlights is a four-person tube slide with a 55-foot drop into a swirling funnel, the region’s only body-surfing simulator , a wave pool capable of generating waves up to five feet tall, a high-speed four-lane racing tower, the only near-vertical translucent looping body waterslide in the Southeast, and a 207-foot-long tube waterslide that ranks among the largest in the state. “The Storm Chaser is what you can see from Highway 66 that looks like a funnel or gigantic top,” says Josh Bahe, marketing director. “It’s a four-person raft ride with a 55-foot drop into a swirling funnel of water that lights up at night. While inside the ride you experience that illumination plus a sound storm, and it’s a thrill.”
New this year is Treehouse Springs, a waterpark area designed specifically for young children. The zero-depth wading pool offers sprinklers, bubblers, geyser jets, waterfall splashes, dump buckets, and a treehouse tower with three slides. Parents can keep an eye on their children while soaking up sun from the newly expanded chaise lounge deck.
Also new this year is Cabana Forest, a private sitting area that boasts cabin-esque climate-controlled personal cabanas. Enjoy air-conditioning, beverage and menu service, deluxe seating and more. A limited number of cabanas are available, so advance reservations are recommended. “The cabanas offer a VIP experience that is highly sought after,” says Bahe. “You can shut all the doors or open everything up to feel wind flowing through. The cabanas can be a great area for people with small children and even for grandparents, as a way to get out of the summer heat yet still be right there at the waterpark.”
Even the most nervous parent can relax at Wilderness at the Smokies. More than 150 lifeguards keep careful watch on all the activity, plus Coast Guard-certified lifejackets are available for use. “The lifeguards are trained and certified by Ellis & Associates, the industry leader in aquatic safety,” says Bahe.
Though best known for its waterpark excitement, Wilderness at the Smokies also offers other forms of fun. Adventure Forest Family Entertainment Center, located adjacent to the indoor waterpark, has a three-story ropes course with cargo nets, balance beams and mid-air lily pads. There’s also a 23-foot rock climbing wall, a nine-hole mini golf course with black lights, six lanes of miniature bowling, a laser maze, the region’s largest interactive playhouse, more than 100 arcade games, multi-level laser tag, and more.
For quieter play, two studios offer creative outlets. Arts and crafts options change daily at Molly & Monty’s Kraft Korner, with opportunities to color T-shirts, backpacks, pillow cases and more. Kids and the young at heart can paint a plate, mug, bank or other ceramic piece at Polka Dot Pots.
Whatever number of people are in your family, there’s an accommodation option to suit your needs. Book a room or suite at either River Lodge, which is nearest the waterparks, or Stone Hill Lodge, which is adjacent to the Sevierville Convention Center. Guest rooms range from basic options with two queen-sized beds to multi-suite units with full kitchens that can sleep up to 16 people. For golf course views and ready access to play up to 36 holes of championship golf, book a stay at the Sanctuary Villas. Each spacious, luxurious villa offers a private terrace and a game room.
Food and beverage options abound. “We have a new culinary director who has really heightened the culinary experience at Wilderness at the Smokies,” says Bahe. “We’ve received nothing but positive feedback since Ricardo has come on board and improved the quality and assortment of food options.” Thirsty Miner Restaurant serves breakfast and dinner buffets, with a specific kids’ area that especially appeals to young palates. Hidden Trail Bar and Grill offers a wide range of small plates, from barbecue to flatbreads to tacos. Mountain Marketplace and Deli serves coffee, donuts and other snacks. Multiple snack bars located throughout the property ensure ready access to drinks and nibbles to squash hunger. “Families find that they never really have to leave,” says Bahe. “There’s always something right around the corner, and whether you want to change out of your swimsuits or not you’ll find a great dinner. Plus with so many different dining options from buffet to tapas to deli to grab-and-go, you don’t have to do the same thing over and over.”
Wilderness at the Smokies has been ranked among the “10 Best Readers’ Choice” picks by USA Today. To be sure that you get the best possible price, Bahe recommends planning ahead: “We have a lot of specials and reserving early is always the best way to get the best possible rate.”
For more information or to make reservations, call 1.877.325.WILD (9453) or visit wildernessatthesmokies.com