The Water Parks at Wilderness at the Smokies are part of the facilities that belong to the resort. There are several indoor and outdoor water parks at this resort that cater only resort guests.
We visited Wilderness At The Smokies in February of last year. Since only the indoor water park is open during that time, we got a good deal on our stay. The room we stayed in was great! We have a large family (6 kids) and for once, we had plenty of room! It even had a separate bedroom for my husband and I. There was shuttle that took us down the hill to the waterpark which was nice. Personally I don't think it's worth the extra money to stay in the rooms that are attached to the indoor waterpark. The waterpark itself was not huge but it was big enough for the kids to enjoy. There's a wave pool, several slides, including a tube slides and a multi level play area for kids. There's also a separate area for toddlers. I really appreciated this because I could let my son go and play without worrying he'd get hurt. The dome does allow sunlight in so you still need to wear sunscreen or you will burn! Also, because of the glass roof, it was very humid in the dome. I was actually sweating at times. The restaurant is a little pricey although kids eat free with adult purchase so that helps. We plan to go back again in the summer to take advantage of the two additional outdoor parks.
Wilderness at the Smokies has three separate water park areas. We spent the majority of our time at the Salamander Springs and the Wild Water Dome. Overall, each of the water parks are taken care of and properly staffed. You must be a guest of the hotels at Wilderness at the Smokies to visit the water parks.
Salamander Springs -
When we found out that we were staying in the Stone Hill Lodge across the street from the larger indoor waterpark, we were extremely disappointed UNTIL we saw where our hotel room was located! If you have smaller children, I highly recommend that you stay in the Stone Hill Lodge because it is just an elevator ride to Salamander Springs. Salamander Springs is over 40,000 square feet of water slides, pools, and play structures perfect for the kids ages 0 and up! There is a toddler area where the bigger children are not allowed so your children can play safely. We spent hours and hours just in Salamander Springs. The kids loved that they were big enough to go down both of the large slides and mom and dad loved that we could lounge for a few minutes and keep an eye on them with no problem! We probably would have played here the whole weekend if it weren’t for the fact that we were trying out everything around the hotel!
Wild Water Dome Indoor Waterpark
The Wild Water Dome Indoor Waterpark is 60,000 square feet and is open year round. It felt like it was a big space because it wasn’t very crowded. However, I could imagine that if there were big crowds it could feel claustrophobic. The ceiling is made of Foil Tech glass that allows you to get a tan even if it is cold outside so make sure that you bring the sunscreen. There are one time use lockers available for rent if you bring valuables over from the other side of the resort. If you plan on opening the locker more than once, bring several dollars. There are change machines near the lockers. My 5 year old was able to ride most of the larger slides with dad so I kept the 3 year old occupied with the Washout Mountain were she went down the slide no less than 50 times! The whole family loved hanging out in the wave pool. If you don’t have a strong swimmer, I recommend using one of the life jackets available. I really liked the fact that the life jackets we saw were well kept and clean. My husband and son both tried their hand at the Smokies Surf Rider. Big S was thrilled when he found out that you had to be 44in to try it and he was exactly 44in tall!
Lake Wilderness Outdoor Waterpark
Outside of the Wild Water Dome Indoor Waterpark you will find the Lake Wilderness Outdoor Waterpark where we made several round trips on the Cataloochee Creek lazy river. In all of the water parks we have visited, we have not seen inner tubes like the ones here. There are your typical single and double inner tubes, but there is an additional double inner tube where the front seat is closed to the water in the bottom. My 3 year old was able to enjoy the ride and splash about and I did not have to worry about her falling through the inner tube. As you cruise down the lazy river, you can pull off at the Washout Wilderness Rapids. This wave pool is smaller than the one indoors. The river surrounds the new miniature golf course which is 6 dollars an adult, and 4 dollars a child to play.
We like that the waterparks provide towels poolside. It is convenient to be able to just walk in to the waterpark empty handed and know that a towel will be waiting for you. That being said, the towel was not like my big fluffy beach towels that were sitting in our room!
Although Wilderness at the Smokies is not as large as some of the waterparks we have been to coming from Florida, I was certainly able to keep my children entertained for 36 fabulous hours, get a suntan, and enjoy some family time. We are already planning a vacation up there next year. It is about 8 hours north of me and 8 hours south of my sister so it is the perfect meeting place!
*This review is based on a complimentary visit to Wilderness at the Smokies. I received no other compensation and the business owner did not state any requirements that I express a particular point of view
We are at this hotel now and it is nice but not the best waterpark that we have ever been to. Dolly's Splash Country is much nicer and not much more expensive if you stayed at a cheaper hotel. This would be neat in the winter. The indoor park is very crowded and VERY loud. The kids are having a great time but I can't see paying over $300 (rack rate) for this room!