Wilderness at the Smokies to see largest expansion in park’s history

Wilderness at the Smokies officials recently announced that they are starting on a $40 million expansion and renovation, the largest in the resort’s history to date.

This expansion is in honor of the resort’s upcoming 15th anniversary in 2023.

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Officials with the resort held a special groundbreaking event recently to mark the occasion.

Here are nine new features you can expect to see at the resort soon:

a rendering of a new water coaster at the indoor water park Wilderness at the Smokies
The new Switchback Mountain coaster will be one of the resort’s new key features (rendering courtesy of Wilderness at the Smokies)

1. Switchback Mountain coaster

Overall, the resort plans to add nearly 40,000 square feet to the Wild WaterDome indoor waterpark.

Switchback Mountain will be one of the new key features. It will be a three-story water coaster that has three steep drops, uphill blasts, high speeds and the premier of the world’s first slide with Reverse AquaLucent effects.

These special tubes will also allow light to filter through, adding brightness to Wild WaterDome.

The ride will begin at 29 mph and will feature multiple drops and uphill blasts.

After the initial 22-foot drop, a second drop will follow into an open flume, followed by an uphill blast into a sharp left turn inside another Reverse AquaLucent tube.

The coaster will continue for a third time into a final set of patterns inside another Reverse AquaLucent tube. To round out the sensations, riders will loop through a dark tube before finishing in an open flume.

“Switchback Mountain is guaranteed to be amazing,” said Pete Tennis, Managing Director for Wilderness at the Smokies.

2. Forbidden Caverns Lazy River

The waterpark expansion will also include Forbidden Caverns Lazy River.

The new lazy river will feature an immersive tunnel experience with LED color-changing kaleidoscope of colors with lighting, mirrors and projections.

a photo of two renderings showing the updates to wilderness at the smokies complete with a new rooftop pool
The Sevierville resort will soon have a new rooftop pool with a glass edge (photo by Bill Burris/TheSmokies.com)

3. Lookout Lagoon

The resort will also be taking advantage of the waterpark’s expanded rooftop by adding Lookout Lagoon, a rooftop pool with a glass edge.

This is expected to transform the exterior of Wilderness at the Smokies.

Read Also: How to get Soaky Mountain discounts and visit the waterpark for less

4. Peak Rooftop Bar and Grill

Nearby the new rooftop pool will be the Peak Rooftop Bar and Grill.

This area will also feature three rooftop cabanas and an entertainment stage area. An elevator will transport guests to and from this area.

Additionally, the resort will add at least 500 seats to the waterpark.

They will also be adding six additional cabanas on the mezzanine level of the waterpark and nine additional cabanas on the main level.

Wilderness at the Smokies Coupons

5. Camp Social

In addition to the waterpark expansion, soon, guests will see a new facelift on one of the resort’s restaurants.

The resort’s Thirsty Miner restaurant will be receiving a makeover and a new name. The 5,000 square foot space will be converted into a family-friendly food hall named Camp Social.

The new Camp Social will have a summer camp theme.

Within Camp Social, guests will be able to enjoy food selections from The Burger Bar, Tacolicous, Lily’s Campsite Pizza Bakery, Coffee Canteen and a breakfast buffet.

Camp Social will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant is set to be open in time for the 2022 Christmas season.

adventure forest with arcade games inside wilderness at the smokies in tn
There will also be new features added to the Adventure Forest section (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

6. Cloud Coaster ride

In addition to the main expansion, the resort is adding an indoor suspended Cloud Coaster to the Adventure Forest.

The new Rocky Top Glider is designed to interact with the Adventure’s Forest’s other attractions such as mini golf, mini bowling and ropes course.

It will have a track length of approximately 400 linear feet with two lift hills.

The award-winning family coaster will be mostly suspended in the Adventure Forest’s ceiling, reducing the amount of necessary structure needed for operation.

A raised platform will launch riders at a starting height of 18 feet with maximum heights of about 25 feet in the air.

Notably, the cloud coaster will be the first of its kind in Tennessee. Only eight other versions of it exist in the world.

Guests who are at least 40 inches in height will be able to ride. The maximum ride weight will be 250 pounds per seat. 

Construction for this project is anticipated to be completed by the spring of 2023. The Adventure Forest will remain open during the construction.

7. XD Theater

An eight-person XD theater will also be added to the Adventure Forest.

The theater offers a multi-sensory, immersive experience with 3D stereoscopic graphics with visual effects. It will be completed in fall 2022.

Nearby, there will also be a TV/video wall, where guests can watch sporting events and will also feature an area for classic yard games.

8. Molly’s Shake Shoppe

Grizzly’s Grill in the WaterDome will also be getting a makeover in 2023 and Molly’s Shake Shoppe, which will serve up ice cream mixed in a shake with crazy flavors and toppings, will be added in 2023 as well.

9. Additional Villas

Last but not least, the resort is building 12 new three-bedroom villas which sleep up to 12 people and are more than 2,600 square feet.

They will be available to rent starting in early 2023.

Each unit will be 2,600 square feet and will be fully furnished.

They will also include an electric fireplace, game room with a pool table and a view overlooking the Sevierville Golf Course.

Read Also: 8 best family resorts in Pigeon Forge, ranked [2022]

officials take a shovel to celebrate wilderness at the smokies expansion plans
Wilderness at the Smokies held a special groundbreaking event in September to celebrate the new expansion (photo by Bill Burris/TheSmokies.com)

When will the expansions at Wilderness be open?

Unless otherwise noted, the major expansion plans are expected to be completed by the fall of 2023.

Wilderness is owned by Wilderness Resort and Waterparks, a Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin-based hotel and hospitality development and management company. They also operate Wilderness Resort, Glacier Canyon Lodge, Wilderness on the Lake and Sundara Spa, all in Wisconsin Dells. 

The resort is a sister park to Soaky Mountain Waterpark, located nearby in Sevierville.

Wilderness at the Smokies is home to the largest indoor park in Tenn. As you make your plans to visit Wilderness at the Smokies, check Groupon for deals.

What do you think of the new expansion plans? Let us know in the comments below.

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