“…Dollywood theme park is a one-of-a-kind Smoky Mountain
Family Adventure! Spanning 125 acres and nestled in the lush
foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge,
Tennessee, it’s one of the most popular family vacation
destinations”. – Dollywood.com
If your family hasn’t yet visited Dollywood, you need to add it to your bucket list! Dollywood is home to some of the top rides and being nestled in the side of the Smoky Mountains, it certainly stands out among the rest. In addition to the thrill and fun the park in known for, it’s unique location, rich history and hometown, family feel provide one of a kind learning opportunities for all members of the family. Kids will naturally be drawn to these opportunities allowing an exciting day at an amusement park to become a day of learning and growing.
Experience Nature Up Close
While taking a stroll through the wooded 125 acres of Dollywood, ask kids to help you point out nature by naming different types of flowers/ trees and wildlife that might appear among the grounds. Point out things in nature unique to the Smoky Mountains and not found where you are from. Let them use a digital camera to grab snapshots of some of the different varieties you encounter on your walks around the park. If you are unsure of something you’ve seen, be sure to use those pictures to look it up online after your day’s end.
It’s hard for me to nail down one thing about Dollywood to be my favorite, but the bald eagles are definitely one of them! Dollywood’s Eagle Mountain Sanctuary is a 30,000 sq. ft. aviary hosting over 20+ non-releasable bald eagles. These birds are majestic and offer visitors rare, up close and personal experiences with them. Angled into the huge nests of these birds, “Nest Cams” allow you to fall even closer into their world. Check out the site before you go. Read about the birds and get to know them even before you leave home. You can also recap with your kids what you’ve learned once you’re back home by frequenting the Dollywood Nest Cam. NOTE: Also keep your eyes peeled for wild bald eagles who home in the Smoky Mountains!
The American Eagle Foundation provides educational presentations interacting with the bald eagles and other birds of prey in the “Wings of America” show. Before or after the show, see these birds up close on display next to the theater
Dollywood offers teaching resources for parents and teachers on Wings Of Wonder! Download these workbooks and worksheets here before you go.
Physics, Math and Entertaining Queue Lines
Older kids may want to hit the roller coasters immediately as Dollywood offers a wide range of exciting styles and designs. Download and print these informative fact sheets & teaching resources in advance. Grasp the downtime waiting in line to talk with them about physics concepts, speed, and wind resistance. Help kids ask good questions as they think through the engineering process involved with creating these massive playtime masterpieces. You may find you have an audience listening in as you educate the others standing in line for the ride while you go over fun science and math facts about coasters.
As mentioned below under “history”, don’t miss the Harvey Water Clock ( and def look it up before you go!).
Dollywood offers teaching resources for parents and teachers on Science In The Park! Download these workbooks and worksheets here before you go.
Relive History “In The Making”
Pit stops are a plenty throughout Dollywood. Stop by these highly recommended ones to peek in for an eyeful of the amazing crafts and skilled workmanship seen at the glass-blowing, blacksmithing and candle-making exhibits (find all crafts & artisans here). All the various artisans are highly worth visiting and can be are intriguing. Seeing how things were done years ago is very different than reading about it in a book. Encourage your children to chat with the artisans and engage in deeper conversations. Let them inquire about everything from the tools used for the trades to the temperature of the heat needed to do the glass blowing or blacksmith creations. The artisans are eager to share their expertise and talents!
Pop inside the Calico Falls Schoolhouse and get a glimpse of what schools around the time of 1890 looked like with the slate boards and single room teaching environment. Mention chapter books your kids have read from that time period, or movies they’ve watched to compare to this experience and remind them of what it was like to live in that environment long ago.
History surrounds you at Dollywood. You couldn’t avoid if you wanted to. Take time to point out, talk about and relive it. Whether it be riding the historic coal-fired steam engine, following the water flume from the top of the park down, experiencing the fully functioning grist mill, checking out the Harvey Water Clock (def look that up before you go!) or stopping to read the signs as you pass, your family is sure to leave richer in history than when they entered.
Learn About The Great Smoky Mountains
As you experience the park, you are engulfed in the Smoky Mountains and will learn about the treasured mountains. Just being a part of this great area is a learning experience.
Also, grab a short rest indoors out of the sun while soaking in some quality, educational entertainment by catching the attraction “Heartsong” (available until mid-late October during the current season). Dolly Parton reveals a place close to her heart in a multi-sensory film presentation that offers viewers an incredible adventure along the Great Smoky Mountains.
Topography, Thrills, And Bonding With Your Child
Need to take your kids on a fast-paced adventure? Consider purchasing a special guest experience to fly like an eagle in the thrilling, fitness-minded adventures of the SkyZip and walking bridge! There’s nothing quite like bonding with your children on a zipline! You can incorporate conversations about cables, gears, and how a zipline functions, or focus on topography facts as you witness the beauty of the Smoky Mountains through the greater heights on the zipline.
Inspire Young Chefs, Bakers, And Candy Makers
Have your little chefs or bakers savor the tastes and smells of southern country cooking from a host of restaurants at Dollywood. Discover classic 50’s menu offerings at Red’s Drive In, or taste test the Sweet Shoppe and other delicious favorites like Kettle Korn to find new recipes for your budding candy and sweets maker to explore. Country Cooker’s Kettle Korn stand even offers a demonstration to learn more about this tasty treat. Be sure to follow up at home with opportunities for your little chef or baker to create meals or snacks with their new found inspiration!
Country Music Roots And Other Music Styles
It’s clear Dollywood offers so much more than just rides. You can also choose to be treated to their top notch musical numbers like the award winning entertainment of the Dreamland Drive-In which takes you on a flash through the past, or hear the exciting beats of the 50’s and 60’s with the Gemtones. You can also learn all about how country music was shaped over the years with the varied styles and musical inspirations of the Country Crossroads.
The Dollywood fun doesn’t end at the Dollywood theme park. Dollywood’s Splash Country provides a world of learning all it’s own. The water park is equally themed in Smoky Mountain history and heritage. The award winning Splash Mountain has been named “One of America’s Best Water Parks” 3 times by The Travel Channel. Beyond the parks, experience the Dollywood magic in the Smoky Mountains at: Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, Dolly Parton’s Lumberjack Adventure, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Dollywood’s Cabins.
Whatever you decide to explore at Dollywood, you’re sure to have a blast learning together and making wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.
Disclaimer: This writer received media passes to Dollywood for review purposes. As always, all opinions expressed are those of the writer and in no way influenced by companies or products mentioned within. Post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for clicking through them! It helps keep 4 The Love Of Family here for you
Experience The Educational Side Of Dollywood!