Rick Laney addresses the media in front of the existing indoor waterpark at Wilderness at the Smokies, which will soon double in size.
SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. – Following a spring and summer tourism season that resulted in record-breaking attendance numbers at Wilderness at the Smokies resort, the Southeast’s largest indoor and outdoor waterpark announced that it is about to get bigger – considerably bigger.
This week, Wilderness at the Smokies resort will begin construction of its new “Adventure Forest” indoor park, literally doubling the amount of indoor space the resort provides for its guests. Currently, the Wild WaterDome indoor waterpark provides acres of indoor water attractions for visitors, and the addition of the new Adventure Forest family entertainment center will double the total amount of “under-roof” year-round fun at Wilderness at the Smokies.
“Unlike our other attractions at Wilderness at the Smokies, the new Adventure Forest will be a ‘dry’ park,” said Steve Cruz, General Manager of Wilderness at the Smokies. “It will feature a three-story ropes course, a multi-level enclosed laser tag arena, bowling, black-light mini-golf, a 7,000-square foot arcade, a ‘Laser Maze,’ a 25-foot tall spring ride, special birthday party rooms, another restaurant and lounge, plus other attractions and activities that do not involve water – all of it indoors and open year-round.
“There is absolutely nothing like Adventure Forest anywhere in this region. If it were a stand-alone attraction, it would be an amazing addition to the local tourism market – but when combined with the already outrageous offerings of Wilderness at the Smokies resort, it is going to be a premier Smoky Mountain destination.”
Unlike the other attractions at Wilderness at the Smokies, Cruz said the new Adventure Forest would be open to the general public periodically for special events. Currently, all of the amenities at Wilderness at the Smokies are only open to resort guests.
Since opening in 2008, the $100 million Wilderness at the Smokies resort has consistently added attractions, rooms and other amenities for its guests. Just six months after opening the Wild WaterDome waterpark, the resort added the $1.5 million, five-story Runaway Canyon waterslide.
In 2009, the resort opened its second multi-million dollar outdoor waterpark, Lake Wilderness – featuring the Cataloochee Creek Adventure River, the Wilderness Rapids Wave Pool, an 18-hole miniature golf course, a poolside restaurant and plush cabanas. In spite of its long list of major expansions and additions, the new Adventure Forest indoor park is by far the most significant investment the resort has made in the Sevierville area since its grand opening. With its latest addition, the only other area attraction that has invested as heavily as Wilderness at the Smokies in the local tourism market is Dollywood.
Wilderness at the Smokies resort also sells one- and two-bedroom condominiums ranging from 850 to 1,200 square feet priced from the mid-$300,000s to the mid-$500,000s. When condominiums went on sale at Wilderness at the Smokies resort in 2007, buyers snatched up $41 million worth of the units in just one day – in only six hours, to be exact.
In the past, the City of Sevierville has estimated in press releases that Wilderness at the Smokies generates about $3 million in sales taxes and more than $500,000 in bedroom taxes every year for the local economy.
Wilderness at the Smokies employs approximately 350 year-round employees and adds around 200 additional workers during the busy summer tourism season. The addition of the new Adventure Forest indoor park is expected to initially increase overall employment numbers at the resort by about 10 percent (approximately 50 new jobs).
Cruz said, “Wilderness at the Smokies resort is the only local attraction where you get everything a family is looking for in one place. If you consider that when you book your room at Wilderness at the Smokies, you get access to all of our water attractions and offerings, we are by far the best value out there for families watching their vacation budgets.”
In June 2011, Southern Living Magazine listed Wilderness at number two on its list of the nation’s “Ten Best Pools” and just two months later, Wilderness at the Smokies resort was named one of the “Top Three Waterparks” in the nation by Aquatics International Magazine (the worldwide authority on waterparks).
Wilderness at the Smokies, located minutes from Interstate 40 and situated in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, is one of the area’s only year-round vacation destinations. With a 36-hole championship golf course, two outdoor waterparks, a huge indoor waterpark with a wave pool and the Southeast’s only Surf Rider, hot tubs, and countless waterslides and attractions, Wilderness at the Smokies has something for all age groups. It is adjacent to a 200,000 square-foot conference, convention and event center known for hosting the areas largest conferences, athletic events and trade shows.
The resort is owned by Patrick Helland, Pete Helland, Jr., Tim Lucke and Tom Lucke (who also own Wilderness at the Dells Waterpark resort in Wisconsin). Steve Cruz is the General Manager of Wilderness at the Smokies and Rick Laney is spokesperson for the resort. For more information about Wilderness at the Smokies, call toll-free 877-325-9453 or visit www.WildernessAtTheSmokies.com.