What’s New in the Smokies for 2024: The Most Exciting Attractions to Explore

Change is afoot in the Smoky Mountains, where new attractions are expected to make their mark in 2024. Meanwhile, several familiar brands and destinations will see significant, but exciting changes. We’ve outlined a few of the biggest developments below, along with opportunities to make the most of the Smoky Mountains’ latest and greatest activities.

Dolly Parton Experience

Everybody loved Dolly Parton and, while Dollywood does an amazing job of paying homage to our favorite singing sensation, there’s no such thing as too much Dolly! It’s easy to see, then, why superfans are so excited about the upcoming Dolly Parton Experience.

This immersive series of exhibits provides a deep dive into Dolly’s life and journey: her childhood at Locust Ridge, her musical accomplishments, and even her style evaluation. There is no better way to see authentic Dolly Parton mementos and hear her most fascinating stories. With so many exhibits spread across several buildings, this upcoming attraction will almost certainly become a central part of the local tourist experience.

Changes to Dollywood’s Lighting Rod

Thrillseekers will want to check out a refreshed version of the beloved Lighting Rod attraction at Dollywood. While this coaster will, in most ways, remain the same, there is a very important change in the works: the addition of a high-speed chain lift.

The new setup will ensure that the roller coaster (which has previously suffered a lot of issues) will provide a more consistent ride experience. The unveiling of the new and improved Lighting Rod in the Spring of 2024 will delight anyone who has felt frustrated by the ride’s extended closure.

Dig’n Zone Theme Park

Photo Credit by @dignzone on Instagram

Vehicle-loving kids (and kids at heart) will go crazy for the latest theme park to hit Sevierville: the delightful Dig’n Zone. Boasting over two dozen construction-themed rides and attractions, this thrilling destination has all the loudest and most visually impressive vehicles: excavators, forklifts, steamrollers, and so much more. These can be accessed by visitors of all ages, with the littlest tykes sitting in their parent’s laps as they take it all in. The Dig’n Zone Theme Park will officially be open for business on March 1, 2024.

Take a sneak peek at the Dig’n Zone Theme Park map here.

The Crayola Experience

Photo Credit by @visitcrayola on Instagram

Add some color to your Smoky Mountains expedition with a vibrant attraction that will span over 30,000 feet and include over twenty inspiring exhibits and activities. From melted wax art to personalized crayons, visitors will find plenty of ways to express themselves. This will also become one of the area’s finest shopping destinations, complete with a huge gift store featuring exclusive toys and art supplies. This experience is expected to arrive in the Fall of 2024.

NERF Action Experience

Photo Credit by @nerfaxuk on Instagram

Discover a high-energy destination that encourages visitors of all ages to show off their wild sides. The new NERF center is set to open in the Fall of 2024 and will provide an excellent backup option when it’s too hot or rainy to hit up local theme parks or other outdoor attractions. Sports challenges and blaster battles will encourage competitive types of go all-out, while obstacle courses will provide even more excitement.

The Fox & The Apple

Foxfire Adventure Park boasts some of the area’s most thrilling zipline courses and hiking trails. After a busy day of outdoor adventures, however, you may crave a little downtime. The team at Foxfire is happy to accommodate and, in 2024, this destination will add a cider to the mix: The Fox & The Apple.

This Victorian-inspired cidery has steampunk vibes and draws on the concept of steam-powered machinery. A variety of unique flavors will be extra enticing for cider lovers, providing a great contrast to the breweries, distilleries, and wineries that already abound throughout the region.

XPERIA: Ocean Journey

It’s never difficult to keep busy at the Tanger Outlets, but now, this Sevierville favorite is about to get even more exciting. Discover new worlds from the heart of the Smokies while taking part in the immersive and fully digital XPERIA: Ocean Journey. This sensory experience draws on the latest audiovisual technology to provide ocean encounters you have to see to believe. You’ll emerge in awe of the ocean’s natural beauty.

Sky Pirates of Mermaid Bay

Photo Credit by @skypiratesgolf on Instagram

Although it technically launched in December, 2023, Sky Pirates of Mermaid Bay definitely belongs on this list of must-visit 2024 attractions. The brand-new mini-golf destination includes both indoor and rooftop courses, which are themed to reflect the excitement of the high seas. These pirate and mermaid courses are beautifully decorated, providing plenty of unique photo opps and, of course, compelling mini-golf challenges.

Anakeesta Expansion

It doesn’t seem possible that Anakeesta could get even more features and activities — this popular destination is already huge! Somehow, the iconic attraction will double in size as it undergoes a multi-phase expansion project. The Stone Village expansion is especially exciting, bringing European-inspired flair to the Smokies. Highlights will include Alpine-oriented eats, plus live music and shopping.

There are many other new adventures in store, appealing to guests of all types. Highlights include:

Named after a local salamander, this double-rail mountain coaster will navigate a steep mountain incline, with twists and turns aplenty.

Inspired by the remarkable birds of the Smokies, this unique attraction will include vast birdhouses and adventure zones, complete with serpentine slides and impressive light features.

Ober Mountain Expansion

Anakeesta isn’t the only mountaintop destination getting new digs. Ober Mountain also has big things in store and, after generations of reinventing itself, it’s amazing to see this longtime favorite once again come up with something new.

With Ober, the changes have been prompted, in part, by new ownership. Initially, this meant a new name: going from Ober Gatlinburg to Ober Mountain. For winter sports, the best news involves a much-needed investment in snow machinery, including cutting-edge solutions designed to excel regardless of temperature.

Ober’s refresh has also included new mountain biking opportunities, plus other ways to make the most of the outdoors when the snow disappears. The re-designed lodge was completed in late 2022 but still feels fresh and definitely warrants a visit in 2024.

Embracing Change in the Smokies for 2024

There’s a lot to look forward to in the Smoky Mountains, with new attractions promising to surprise and delight a variety of visitors. Get ready to experience a whole new world of adventure in Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and Pigeon Forge.