The new Soaky Mountain Waterpark in Tennessee opened amid a pandemic with state-of-the-art attractions and “mountain modern” theming.
Straddling the Tennessee-North Carolina border, the Great Smoky Mountains are one of America’s great natural landmarks and tourist attractions. Opened at the end of June, Soaky Mountain Waterpark in Sevierville, Tennessee, mirrors the Smokies in its name, layout, and style.
“If you’re putting something in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains—something this large in scale—then you have to scale your water park to match,” says David Andrews Jr., Soaky Mountain’s general manager. “That’s what we have done with Soaky Mountain.”
The 50-acre outdoor water park embraced its hilly terrain to create an expansive multilevel entertainment complex in harmony with its natural Smokies environment.
Aquatic Development Group (ADG) served as Soaky Mountain’s design/builder, construction manager, and supplier of the wave pool, tidal river, and many other attractions, which bejewel the park’s hillside site. The layout reflects a key objective in ADG’s design, which was to preserve and showcase the unique elevation grade as much as possible, rather than flattening it.
“Most water parks are built on relatively flat lands, which makes for straightforward layouts,” says ADG President Jim Dunn. “With its 100-foot elevation rise across the park, Soaky was a real challenge because we did our best to work with the landscape and indeed showcase it to park guests.”
To the untrained eye, Soaky Mountain’s attractions look as if they were simply grafted onto the hillside, but the truth is something else. Mainly comprised of shale rock, the Soaky Mountain site wasn’t easy to work with. ADG had to blast and then move 750,000 yards of earth and shale before beginning water park construction. All told, more than $13 million of the park’s $90 million construction budget had to be spent on material removal and landscaping.
Download the full article to hear about the construction hurdles, the mix of attractions and how the park tailored operations to opening during a worldwide pandemic.