Wilderness at the Smokies: Hits and Misses

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Wilderness at the Smokies

The Wilderness is one of the largest waterpark resorts in Tennessee.  With the Wilderness just a few miles from many other popular attractions, it sounds like a perfect retreat, but before you book your stay to get away from the cold you need to know the good and the bad of the Wilderness Resort.

To begin there are two places you can stay. One is the Wyndham resorts which are timeshare rooms. Wyndham is the Wilderness’ sister company, and this building is connected to the main park. Most of the rooms have two queen size beds,  a pull out couch, refrigerator, microwave, and some have a small cooktop stove as well.  The other option if you don’t want to buy a timeshare, is to stay at either Stone Hill lodge or River Lodge. These lodges are next to and across the street from the main building. These rooms are very similar to the Wyndham’s rooms. The rooms are nice and clean, and contrary to popular belief, they do not have bedbugs. One of the downsides is that in two of the resorts, there is not a continental breakfast offered, and in the Wyndham you can get free breakfast for the kids with one paying adult.

The waterpark itself is nice and has something for everyone. If you go during the summer then you will be able to access multiple outdoor slides for both little children and teenagers. They are also building a large new ride that will be released this summer.  If you want to go during the winter you can enjoy the Waterdome and arcade center. These are both located in the main building so you have to take a shuttle to and from your room. Although this is better then crossing the street in the cold it is not altogether pleasant as the seats are wet and you have to wait 15 to 20 minutes to catch the shuttle if you miss it. Inside he waterdome there are two kiddie areas. One is for toddlers while the other is for kids that are a little older. There is also seating areas at each different section. There is a large heated pool that has a built in basketball area. Next to that there are four tube slides. Two are single racing tubes. If you watch closely you can tell that one slide is faster than the other.  Next to the single/double rider tube are the group slides, The Storm Chaser and the Runaway Canyon. While both are fun and fit four to five people one is for more thrill seekers while the other is a family ride. The Storm Chaser is an orange and white funnel that when ridden at night has flashing lights and is high speed. While it is a short ride it is well worth the wait. If you are not into roller coasters, I don’t recommend this ride.  Runaway Canyon is a slightly longer ride and though fast and fun it is not a stomach twisting as Storm Chaser. There is also a wave pool, surfing ride, and indoor/outdoor hot tub. If you get hungry or thirsty while playing there is a cafe that serves pizza, hotdogs, etc. that though good it is expensive. After a day in the water you can dry off  and enjoy an arcade and a ropes course. However, after about two days in the Waterdome it can get boring, so take the advantage of the free child’s admission to either the Titanic or Wonderworks as a break from the water. I would give the Wilderness at the Smokies a high recommendation.