I'm so glad we live as close as we do to an incredibly beautiful mountain range. Yes, I know we're talking about a 7-hour drive from where I live to the Great Smoky Mountains, but that's a far cry from the nearly two-day drive it takes to get to the southern Rockies where I have family.

I love the mountains and absolutely love east Tennessee and every possible way it has grown since Gatlinburg began its life as a gigantic and beloved tourist destination. Oh yes, I remember when it was JUST Gatlinburg, while Pigeon Forge and Sevierville and vicinity were just communities.

Now, you can't usually find ENOUGH time to see everything you'd like to see when you go to the Smokies. And as they keep adding on to theme parks like Gatlinburg's Anakeesta, that becomes more and more of a "good problem."

Anakeesta Adding Two Massive New Attractions in 2023

Anakeesta is a relatively new to Gatlinburg, having opened in 2017. But it quickly became a top destination for east Tennessee visitors and continues to add new attractions to its ever-expanding landscape. Not bad for an already vast property located partly within the Gatlinburg city limits.

And now, here come more additions. In 2023, guests can expect to enjoy a crazy new interactive experience called BirdVenture, set inside a four-story birdhouse. There will also be a new mountain coaster called Hellbender. Park representatives go into great deal about the expansion here:

The Nitty Gritty on the Anakeesta Hellbender

Here's a more specific explanation of the all-new Hellbender:

BirdVenture -- a Unique New Anakeesta Experience

And this draft will give you an idea of what to expect from BirdVenture. Seriously, does this look like a blast or what?

Once again, a Gatlinburg/Smoky Mountains attraction knocks it out of the park. And why not? They have an entire MOUNTAIN RANGE to play with. I say, "Mountain coasters and giant interactive birdhouses all the way around."

Look for a July 4th opening weekend for BirdVenture and a fall start for the Hellbender.

[SOURCE: Knox News]

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