Sunday, April 21, 2024

Tennessee’s Soaky Mountain Waterpark opens June 27

Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks officials today announced that Soaky Mountain Waterpark will officially open for business on Saturday, June 27 at 10 am to 7 pm. The new, massive state-of-the-art 50-acre waterpark is located at 175 Gists Creek Road in Sevierville, Tenn. Wilderness at the Smokies guests who purchase tickets and season pass holders will be able to enjoy a sneak preview of the park on Thursday, June 25 from 11 am to 5 pm and Friday, June 26 from 10 am to 6 pm.     

According to Dave Andrews, general manager of Soaky Mountain Waterpark, “We can’t wait to unveil our amazing new destination to the public! It is such a fun place for families and truly features something for all ages to enjoy, all in a beautiful mountain-modern park setting.”  

Andrews adds that due to the COVID-19, waterpark officials are strongly encouraging guests to purchase their daily admission tickets in advance at due to restricted capacity levels. Season pass holders will be accommodated. Masks will be optional in the park and not allowed in or on any water attractions.  

Despite these COVID-19 challenges, Andrews assures everyone that his leadership team feels comfortable opening because the CDC has stated there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. With proper operation, maintenance and disinfection (e.g. with chlorine or bromine) the virus should be removed or inactivated. Andrew’s team has also created a Safer at Play safety program they will be following. It is posted on  

Highlights of new Soaky Mountain Waterpark include the Avalaunch, a first-of-its kind watercoaster with four flying saucer features that create a drop-and-dive sensation and one wave curved wall; Soaky Surge, a massive, 35,000 square foot wave pool capable of generating waves 6 feet high; Black Bear Rapids, an adventure river encompassing 24,000 square feet; and The Hive, a bee-themed play-and-spray feature with countless hands-on activities for younger children.  

There is also Boomers Bay, a super fun kid activity pool area with smaller versions of the adult-size towering slides including Lil’ Rattlers and Mini Mayhem so kids can experience the thrills and chills of the waterpark on their level; an adventure pool with a water obstacle course; a 3,800 square foot flat-water cabana pool for relaxing poolside; and Hang 10essee, a double FlowRider.  

In addition to the Avalaunch watercoaster, there are other massive slides including two five-person raft rides; a tubing tower with five flumes; two high-intensity body slides; and a four-lane, head-first mat racing challenge to satisfy everyone’s racing desires. Some of the slides feature translucent tubes which create a swirling array of light effects and others are themed in colors like the Rainbow’s Revenge which features all of the colors of the rainbow and the American Racer’s Rush which features red, white and blue stars and stripes.     

 Another unusual component of the waterpark is that the creators wanted some unique food options, so they let their imaginations run wild. Building upon the popularity of food trucks, they went on a nationwide search to find some noteworthy vehicles, and they found them. 

In Montana, they purchased a 1954 AEC (Chassis) Regent III with Park Royal Vehicles Bodywork, which in its day, was double decker bus for the London Transit System. It will now be home to Tacolicious, serving up Mexican favorites on the bottom level, and on the upper level will be seating overlooking the waterpark and the Smoky Mountains. The truck will be located next to Black Bear Rapids. The other truck was purchased in Illinois and is now going to be home to the Rolly Macaroni food and beverage outlet, which will be serving up all sorts of mac and cheese with unique twists! It will be located by Soaky Surge.

Season admission passes are on sale now through June 26 for $99.99 and include both the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Daily admission tickets are $44.99 for anyone above 42 inches and $39.99 for anyone under 42 inches. Children ages three and up require a ticket. The waterpark will be open through Labor Day, with additional select days being considered through mid-September. Wilderness at the Smokies guests can purchase discounted admission for up to $20 off daily admission tickets.

Andrews adds, because of the COVID-19 situation the waterpark’s official have decided to postpone their grand opening celebration to the start of the 2021 season and only have a soft opening in 2020.    

“We want to throw a big celebration to mark the opening of this fabulous waterpark, but for right now, we will have to wait and practice responsible social distancing and other safety precautions outlined in our Safer at Play Program.”    

The new waterpark cost nearly $90 million to construct and will have nearly 500 full- and part-time job employees. It is anticipated to draw over 400,000 visitors annually, of which 100,000 will be new visitors to Sevier County. It is also expected to increase the average nightly stays in the region while generating approximately $400,000 annually in Tourism Development Zone Tax.

Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks currently owns and operates Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, and Wilderness Resort, Glacier Canyon Lodge, and Wilderness on the Lake, Wild Rock Golf Course, Sundara Spa and Glacier Canyon Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells. 

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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