Facility Profile - October 2009
Find a printable version here

Wet and Wild

Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, Tenn.

By Sutton Stokes

Amanda Eaton, the resort's aquatics director, is particularly enthusiastic about the play structure's interactive features. "There are hoses everywhere—people can even squirt each other going down the slides," Eaton said. "There are bright colors, places to climb, different textures, a great view from the top. All of your senses are engaged. Even for older kids, it's a dream come true."

The multi-story shape of Lunker's Landing was influenced in part by the limited footprint available for the Salamander Springs waterpark, explained Patrick Helland, a co-owner of Wilderness at the Smokies.

"Because of the space restrictions for the site, we knew we needed to build up instead of out," Helland said. "We took our requirements to SCS Interactive, because we've worked with them in the past and they always come up with unique, creative designs. We were really pleased with their ideas for Lunker's Landing."

Part of what attracted the Wilderness Development Corp. to this project was Bridgemont's geographic location.

"Our plan was two-fold," said Wilderness at the Smokies co-owner Patrick Helland. "We wanted to give our guests the ability to have two or three days of family fun, but we also wanted to have the resort close to other attractions, such as Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, Dollywood and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So we're not just a destination, we also offer a base for exploring the area."

Whatever else guests might be planning to do in the area, however, they are definitely spending a lot of time enjoying the resort's waterparks. All of the water attractions and play features are popular—during the shortened 2008 season, Salamander Springs alone saw about 40,000 visitors—with Lunker's Landing leading the pack.

"Without a doubt, Lunker's Landing is what draws people to the waterpark," McGregor said.

Eaton agreed. "People love water, and there's nothing else like this in the area," she said. "I have visited a lot of pools and other water attractions, and Lunker's Landing is one of the most exciting I've seen."

In fact, Lunker's Landing has been so popular that McGregor thinks anyone designing a waterpark should consider including a similar attraction.

"If you need to draw more people in, something like Lunker's Landing is the way to go," McGregor said. "Judging by screams, laughter and squeals, I'd say Lunker's Landing is our most successful feature."


Wilderness at the Smokies:

SCS Interactive: www.scsinteractive.com