Every year we visit The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee so our family is no stranger to the area. A year doesn’t go by that my children don’t ask to stay at the Wilderness at the Smokies Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee. This November my children got their wish as we arrived to the Smoky Mountain area for our annual Sinclair Thanksgiving in the Smokies family vacation. We had a busy itinerary this year in the Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg that we thought staying 2 nights at the Wilderness at the Smokies Resort was a great way to enjoy some family fun at Tennessee’s largest year-round waterpark resort.
I’m going to let you know right now, the Wilderness is one of the few locations in East Tennessee that you can park your vehicle and not leave the parking lot until check-out time. The resort has everything a family would need to enjoy a rustic, cozy setting while enjoying fabulous amenities like an outdoor AND indoor waterparks, a family adventure center called Adventure Forest dry, golf, fitness center, retail shops, several restaurants and yes, a Starbucks!!
Once checking into the resort by Wilderness’s friendly staff we were given coupon books, maps, parking tags, and water park passes for each family member, which is FREE for all Wilderness at the Smokies Resort guests. Having free waterpark passes is a great way to stretch your families budget even further when traveling. In addition to your free waterpark passes, all guests receive free local Smoky Mountain attraction passes to (1) free child admission to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Titanic Museum and to WonderWorks! If you are planning to visit the area you know the attraction tickets can add up so be sue to look for the free passes in your welcome packet.
Our family enjoyed had a Studio Suite at River Lodge which included 2 queen beds, 1 twin sofa sleeper, flat screen TV, microwave, refrigerator, range, several kitchen cabinets and a nice table & chairs area. The rustic decor is quint and charming! It gave my family the cabin look they enjoy with resort amenities that I want while traveling. As you can see in the collage pictured below, there is plenty of space for my family of 4. In addition to space, families can take advantage of the kitchenette area and save a few dollars by cooking a light meal versus eating out. I was definitely impressed by the cabinet space that is located above the microwave and above the kitchenette sink.
End of November is generally cold in East Tennessee but Wilderness at the Smokies Resort has indoor waterpark which is a HUGE perk. The Wild Waterdome is a 66,000 square foot indoor waterpark which features see-through roof and a foil tech glass roof that allows sunshine in. You can “get your tan on” year around! I’m not sure who enjoyed the waterpark more my husband or the kids?!? The Wild WaterDome features a wave pool, indoor/outdoor hot tub (my personal favorite), the Surf Rider (my son’s favorite) and several watersides.
After checking in and getting settled in, we made our way to the indoor waterpark. We experienced some wait time for each ride but considering it was a Saturday afternoon, we fully expected some line delays and enjoyed the waterpark regardless. My husband and (9 & 13 year old) children are waterpark junkies! They enjoyed all the waterslides, while I enjoyed the relaxing indoor hot tub. After several hours we made our way back to the room for a short, well-deserved nap. In my family, a nap is mandatory ( Believe me, I don’t have to twist their lazy arms) while traveling! Dinner was an easy choice. After traveling from the New Orleans area to Sevierville we were still exhausted to eat at a full service restaurant. Instead we chose to eat at the Mountain Marketplace and Deli. I ordered 2 large sub sandwiches, bought a bag of chips, a gallon of sweet tea and made my way back to our room.
Our favorite day at the Wild Waterdome was Sunday when lines were minimal. We arrived when the indoor waterpark opened (had Starbucks for breakfast) and spent the entire day enjoying the water fun. The kids were able to go on waterslide upon waterslide without any wait time. We stopped only to enjoy lunch at Grizzly’s Grill which is located in the Wild WaterDome indoor waterpark. The food at Grizzly’s Grill is priced reasonably for a waterpark. We purchased a pizza/drink combo which was more than enough for my family of 4. My children are older, but a larger family with younger children can enjoy the pizza combo and also have plenty of food for their entire family.
New to Wilderness at the Smokies Resort is Adventure Forest. Adventure Forest is a family fun center which includes a 25,000 sq. ft. indoor, dry family adventure center. Adventure Forest features the Tree Top Towers, a three story ropes course. You can also enjoy laser tag at Fury in the Forest, a multi-level laser arena, arcades and other adventure opportunities for your family. You can buy all day passes to Wilderness at the Smokies Resort -Adventure Forest or enjoy individual attractions and pay “a la carte”. Passes are definitely the way to go!
Resort amenities and family savings normally are paired together well but Wilderness at the Smokies Resort has managed to offer families huge savings like Kids Eat Free, free waterpark passes, a complimentary child pass to 3 various local attractions and more. If you notice in the picture above, there is also a movie rental kiosk which can also save your family money on entertainment. With the indoor/outdoor waterparks, several dining options, family activities and cozy accommodations I was impressed with Wilderness at the Smokies Resort. I mentioned at the beginning that we parked our vehicles and did not leave the property until check out. I think the ability to enjoy the resort and not leave says so much about Wilderness at the Smokies Resort.
Be sure to follow Wilderness at the Smokies Resort on Facebook. They have weekly Facebook Friday fan specials which includes a promo code for additional savings on lodging. Book your next family vacation at Wilderness at the Smokies Resort and enjoy the amenities for yourself. If we had this much fun in November, I can’t imagine the fun we could have this spring or summer. Hope to see you at their!
What amenities do you look for when experiencing family travel?