Tennessee Theme Parks and Water Parks

Lightning Rod coaster at Dollywood.
Dollywood

Thanks to Tennessee native Dolly Parton and her fabulous Dollywood, the state has a large, highly regarded theme park. And adjacent to Dollywood is Tennessee's biggest water park, Splash Country. But the state has several other amusement parks and water parks (including some indoor ones) to explore. 

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    Anakeesta Dueling Zipline

    Anakeesta

    As a theme park in the mountains, Anakeesta offers  a variety of attractions, including a gondola, a tree canopy walk, dueling ziplines, a mountain coaster, and gem mining. There is also a dining and shopping complex, a botanical garden, and a forest walk.

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    Adrenaline Park is not a traditional amusement park or theme park. It offers two attractions: extreme zip lines and a Skybridge that offers spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains.

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    Dollywood grist mill
    © Arthur Levine

    Dollywood is a major theme park celebrating country music, Smoky Mountain culture, and Dolly Parton with a lot of fun coasters and rides. It continues to expand with attention-grabbing attractions such as Lightning Rod, the world’s first launched wooden coaster. Considering Dolly's involvement, it should come as no surprise that Dollywood is well known for its great shows. Its food and festivals (including Christmas in the Smokies and Festival of Nations) are two more reasons to visit.

    Next door to Dollywood is Splash Country, a full-featured, separate-admission water park. Rides at the outdoor park include the RiverRush water coaster, a family raft ride, speed slides, and an interactive play attraction with dump bucket.

    A true destination resort, Dollywood also offers the lovely DreamMore hotel. Guests at the hotel get great extras, including early park admission and line-skipping privileges for the rides.

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    The Island in Pigeon Forge

    The Island in Pigeon Forge

    A shopping, dining, and entertainment complex, The Island in Pigeon Forge offers a number of rides and attractions, including The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel (a large Ferris wheel), a carousel, carnival games, dancing fountains, and live music. It is located on one of the area’s busy tourist strips that includes dinner theaters, restaurants, shops, and a variety of other attractions. See the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism site for more info.

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    Lake Winne Cannon Ball coaster

    Lake Winnepesaukah

    The small, traditional amusement park is physically located in Georgia on the state line. The park advertises itself as being in Chattanooga, however. Attractions include the Wild Lightnin' steel coaster, the wooden coaster, Cannon Ball, a bunch of spinning rides such as a Paratrooper and a Wave Swinger, and kiddie rides.

    The outdoor Soakya Water Park, which is quite small, is included with Lake Winnie admission.

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    Ober Gatlinburg

    Ober Gatlinburg

    In the winter, it's a ski resort. In the warmer weather, it's an “amusement park,” though only in a liberal interpretation of the term. Ride the aerial tramway (the country's largest according to its owners), careen down the Alpine slide, and get wet on the two water coasters.

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    Nashville Shores water park

    Nashville Shores

    The medium-sized outdoor water park offers eight water slides, including a mat racing slide, a lazy river, the Cowabunga Beach interactive water play center with a tipping bucket, swimming pools, and a lake beach. In addition to the water park, Nashville Shores offers lake cruises and the Treetop Adventure Park with zip lines, cargo nets, tree swings, suspended bridges, and other challenging activities.

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    The Resort at Governor's Crossing is a hotel located near Dollywood that offers a small indoor water park as well as some outdoor water park attractions.

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  • 09 of 11

    The Wetlands is a small, municipal outdoor water park with a few water slides, a lazy river, a pool, a water playground, and sand volleyball.

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    Wild Bear Falls indoor water park Gatlinburg

    Westgate Resorts

    Located at the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa, Wild Bear Falls is a medium-sized indoor water park. Attractions include a lazy river, water slides, and an indoor/outdoor hot tub.

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    Wilderness at the Smokies indoor water park

    Wilderness at the Smokies

    Wilderness at the Smokies is an indoor water park resort that is part of the Wilderness chain. Attractions include the Wild Vortex, a water slide with a launch chamber and a near vertical loop, as well as the Tornado, a funnel ride. The park features a translucent roof that allows sun to shine indoors year round.