The Wilderness at the Smokies Resort is a four-season facility set on 22.5 acres in the eastern region of the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, just four miles south of Interstate 40. The resort’s proximity to the Pigeon Forge vacation area draws tourists and families who want to enjoy the surrounding natural beauty and the relaxation of a one-of-a-kind waterpark resort environment as part of their leisure experience.
The “Mountain Modern” themed resort complex consists of a large curved wing of condominiums connecting to the core amenities. It includes an indoor waterpark, which currently boasts the first of four phases — retail area, arcade, deli, restaurant and bar. Not-yet-completed timeshare units (by others) will arc in the opposite direction, effectively surrounding the outdoor waterpark, which also represents the first phase of a multiphased aquatic design.
Nearby, the Sevierville Convention Center and attached Wilderness at the Smokies Event Center Hotel are themed in the warm “Mountain Modern” style as well. At this location, an additional outdoor waterpark provides all the options guests could ask for when planning the perfect family getaway.
The crowning achievement of the Wilderness at the Smokies community is the Wild Water Dome Indoor Waterpark. Featuring Tennessee’s first Texlon transparent roofing system, the approximately 20,800 square feet of Texlon designed along the ridge of the facility’s gable allows 75 percent of UV light into the center of the waterpark, filling it with natural light. This advanced ethylene tetra fluoro ethylene (ETFE) roof system not only enables live tropical palm trees and vegetation to thrive throughout the waterpark, but it also greatly reduces the amount of artificial lighting required during daytime operating hours.
Additionally, this unique glazing system provides passive heat gain from the sun throughout the year, further reducing building energy demands by minimizing load requirements for air-handling equipment. More than four air changes per hour, coupled with heat exchangers, UV systems and advanced Whitten Pressure Sand Bi-Flow filtration systems at all the park’s many pools add to significantly improved air quality over more traditional natatorium, leisure and indoor waterpark facilities. And it gives guests a comfort experience of the highest standard.
The waterpark’s pool and ride attractions include the Smokies Surf Rider- Tennessee’s first indoor Flow Rider. Fifty-thousand gallons of water each minute flow under participants to create 5-foot, ocean-like waves on this exciting ride. Combining the thrills and skills of surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding in one wet, wild and — best of all — safe environment, the Smokies Surf Rider is one experience fans will try again and again as they seek to master the unpredictable waves beneath their boards.
At the Storm Chaser Water Thrill Ride, guests can enjoy a scream-tastic, hair-raising adventure. Seated in four-person rafts, riders plummet 58 feet down the dark tunnel ride before dropping through a zero-gravity fall into a final funnel-shaped bowl where, after several dizzying turns, they shoot through the center opening, splashing into the landing pool below. Guests also can enjoy the 10,000-square-foot wave pool, experiencing ocean wave motion from their inner tubes while tanning in the sun streaming from the roof above.
Kids flock to Washout Mountain, a multilevel water-play feature with slides, spraying waterfeatures and an enormous tipping bucket that tilts at intervals, splashing those waiting below. The additional tube slide selections and 1,000-square-foot Magnolia Grove Hot Spa indoor/outdoor hot tub are among the many feature areas that guests can enjoy on their visits to the Wild Water Dome Indoor Waterpark and the Wilderness at the Smokies Resort.
Delivered on time and on budget, the owner, architect, aquatic design/builder, general contractor and major vendors all teamed to plan and construct this signature facility. With its natural light, live vegetation, water-saving filtration, advanced sanitization systems, state-of-the-art air-handling systems and unique design, the Wild Water Dome provides visitors to the Eastern Tennessee Smokey Mountain Region fun in the sun 365 days of the year.
NUTS & BOLTS
Aquatic space: 76,774 square feet
Year opened: 2008
Cost: $25 million
Dream feature: Advanced roofing system lets heat and natural light into the waterpark; encourages green plants to grow, reduces energy use.
- Dream Designer: Architectural Design Consultants Inc.
- Aquatic Design/Builder: Aquatic Development Group Inc.
- Structural/Mechanical Engineering:Harwood Engineering Consultants
- Water Slide Vendor: ProSlide Technology
- Play Structure Vendor: SCS Interactive
- General Contractor: Kraus-Anderson Construction Co.
- Heat Recovery Units: Governair
- Chemical Control System: LMI / Chemtrol
- Filters: Whitten/Aquatic Development Group Inc.
- Flooring: Whitten/Aquatic Development Group Inc.
- Ladders and Grab Bars: Whitten/Aquatic Development Group Inc.
- Lighting: H-A Energy Solutions
- Lockers: American Lockers
- Pumps: Marlow Pumps
- Specialty Roof: Texlon Transparent Roof/Aquatic Development Group Inc.
- SprayPark Accessories: Funtraption , Water Odyssey , Whitten/Aquatic Development Group Inc.
- Water-Play Structure: SCS Interactive
- Water Slides:ProSlide Technology
- Wave Generator: Wavetek/Aquatic Development Group Inc.
- Stationary Wave Machine: Aquatic Development Group Inc.
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