SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — If you've driven down Winfield Dunn Parkway in Sevierville, your eyes have likely been drawn to the massive orange tube known as the "Tornado" and the rest of the massive Wilderness at the Smokies resort.
Soon, you'll be seeing a lot more. Next door, Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks is expanding with a brand new $90 million water park that's planned to open in 2020. What right now is just a field of dirt will become a massive 50-acre area of fun.
"Sevier County has really embraced the water park industry; it's the natural next step for us to build a major major water park attraction, where there will be state-of-the-art slides and a water coaster. It's the next step for tourism," Joe Eck, COO of Wilderness Resorts and Waterparks, said.
Although crews have already been moving dirt, Soaky Mountain held its official groundbreaking Tuesday. At the event, the water park released new renderings and details on what future guests can expect.
Some of those plans include:
-A 35,000 square foot wave pool that can generate waves that are up to 6 feet high
-A winding wave river that will create a "not so lazy" river experience
-A WIBIT water obstacle course
-Dozens of float or body slides
-A cabana pool
-A one-of-a-kind water coaster
And for little guests, a kid area will have water slides their size.
"We have a kid's slide pool, which is really unique," Eck explained. "We have taken all our major slides that you find in our parks and miniaturized them, so kids can ride the Tornado if they aren't tall enough now. It gets the kids ready for the big water slides when they are tall enough."
Not only will Soaky Mountain be a new venue for visitors and locals alike, the water park will also bring with it a big boost for Sevier County's economy. The developers of the park expect it to create 500 full-time, seasonal and part-time jobs.
Developers also predict that 400,000 visitors will visit the new water park annually, with 100,000 being new visitors to the area.
The park is expected to open Summer 2020. If you drive by on 66, you'll see the transformation from the road.
The next step in construction will be the plumbing and pipe work, and soon the fiberglass slides will pop up.
Once it opens, the water park will operate daily from mid-May through August, with select days through September.
Soaky Mountain will be located at 175 Gists Creek Road in Sevierville.