Monday, July 26, 2021

Soaky Mountain Waterpark opens in Tennessee featuring first of its kind watercoaster

Soaky Mountain Waterpark, the new state-of-the-art 50-acre waterpark, located in Sevierville, Tenn., officially opened for business on Saturday, June 27.

According to Dave Andrews, general manager of Soaky Mountain Waterpark, “We are so excited to be open to the public! Soaky is such a fun place for families and truly features something for all ages to enjoy, all in a beautiful mountain-modern park setting.”

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 surfing simulator.

The park’s signature ride, the Avalaunch watercoaster is a first of its kind attraction at any waterpark.

According to Dave Andrews: “ProSlide, the creator of this slide, has really outdone themselves with this unbelievably thrilling attraction. It combines a RocketBLAST®  watercoaster with four FlyingSAUCER® high-speed turns and a massive sweeping TornadoWAVE finish. The excitement and anticipation of this breathtaking ride are definitely not for the faint at heart.”  

Riders begin this unique watercoaster experience by looking down the entire length of the intimidating ride before sitting in a “boat.” Once launched, the coaster immediately accelerates into a left-hand turn that gains speed and whips into the first FlyingSAUCER®. There, riders experience a feeling similar to that of a giant slalom ski turn as the “boat” accelerates through a steep, high-speed turn giving the feeling of G-forces pulling them around the curve.

The ride is then momentarily enclosed. when the “boat” emerges, riders get a sneak peak of the quickly approaching initial RocketBLAST® watercoaster booster. Blasting water jets propel riders down a quick drop into the valley before they gain even more speed and are propelled uphill and over the crest only to face another FlyingSAUCER® back-to-back combo. It is here that riders feel the heightened acceleration from left then into right all while continuing to gain speed.

The watercoaster’s momentum is further enhanced as riders are propelled upwards again with the RocketBLAST® water jets propelling them into the ‘camel bump’, where two BLASTS are sequenced one right after one another. This gives the riders the brief feeling of weightlessness over the ‘hump’, and then another boost of speed and energy as they crest the top into the fourth and final FlyingSAUCER®. Again, the riders accelerate through the compound curve and feel centrifugal forces along the outer wall as they drop and dive through the turn to the final RocketBLAST® that propels them into an enclosed part of the ride with a tight right turn giving the feeling that the ride is about to end.

However, once they emerge from the turn they immediately see a drop into the 60 foot TornadoWAVE® in which they gain speed towards the in-run sweeping across the top of the curved wall experiencing near weightlessness into a free-fall towards the transition to the end of the ride into a ProSlide Prosplash.

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 are some unique food options. Building upon the popularity of food trucks, the waterpark’s creators 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 is now home to Tacolicious, serving up Mexican favorites on the bottom level, and offering seating overlooking the waterpark and the Smoky Mountains on the upper level. The truck is located next to Black Bear Rapids. The other truck was purchased in Illinois and is now home to the Rolly Macaroni food and beverage outlet, which serves up sorts of mac and cheese with unique twists! It is located by Soaky Surge.

Due to restricted capacity levels as a result of the COVID-19 situation, waterpark officials are strongly encouraging guests to purchase their daily admission tickets in advance at soakymountainwaterpark.com. Season pass holders are being accommodated. Masks are optional in the park and are not allowed in or on any water attractions.

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. The waterpark has also created a Safer at Play safety program they will be following. It is posted at https://www.wildernessatthesmokies.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/SOAKY-MOUNTAIN-SAFER-AT-PLAY.pdf

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.

 According to Andrews “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.

For more information visit: SoakyMountainWaterpark.com.

Joe Kleimanhttp://www.themedreality.com
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, 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 has been News Editor and contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, and MiceChat. His blog, ThemedReality.com takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @themedreality Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his fiancé, two dogs, and a ghost.

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