If you are planning a Great Smoky Mountains family vacation and need a list of things to do in the Smoky Mountains with kids, then we put this Smoky Mountains Vacation Guide together with you in mind.
As a family with three homeschooled kids, I’m always looking for fun and educational things to do with my kids in the Smokies. Thankfully, there are always a ton of things that meet that criteria.
In this post, I have put together a list of my favorite things to do with my kids in the Smoky Mountains. I’m pretty sure you and your kids are gonna love them too.
Dollywood Pigeon Forge
There’s no question, Dollywood is the #1 attraction in the Smoky Mountains.
My family has been visiting Dollywood since before it was Dollywood, but did you know that Dollywood is a great place to spend a ‘school day’ for homeschoolers?
I know it is a theme park and certainly a fun thing to do with kids in the Smoky Mountains, but I suspect you may be asking, “How is riding roller coasters and splashing down waterslides educational?”
Dollywood Educational Resources
Here are a few things you could discuss before, during, and after your visit to Dollywood.
- Learn how water wheels like the one at Dollywood was used to create electricity.
- Get up close with the Bald Eagle and other birds of prey at the Dollywood Wings of America Theatre.
- Watch a Craftsman in Craftsman’s Valley at his trade.
- Do a unit study on roller coasters and learn about the mathematics and science behind how they are designed and maintained.
Recently the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) and Dollywood teamed up to make Dollywood even more educational by providing informational signs throughout the park and educational resources on Dollywood’s official website.
Dollywood Homeschool Days
HOMESCHOOL DAYS: Dollywood has special ticket prices for homeschoolers August 2nd – September 22nd, 2021 $37 for students and $47 for adults. (2022 dates have not yet been released)
Plus homeschoolers receive free lunch.
Additionally, Dollywood’s Dreammore resort has special rates for homeschooler’s in August and September.
Dollywood Ticket Prices
While you won’t often find coupons or discounts, there are a few ways to get discounts on Dollywood tickets and passes.
- We already mentioned, but the Homeschool Days are a great discount for homeschool families
- There are discounts for United States military personell
- Those that stay at the Dollywood Dreammore can receive discounted ticket packages to the parks
- Pre-School children can regiser for a FREE DOLLYWOOD Pass for both the Dollywood Theme park and Splash Country.
Titanic Pigeon Forge
There are several unique and fun attractions in Pigeon Forge that kids will love, but as a homeschooling mom, the Titanic Museum is one of my favorite things to do with kids in the Smoky Mountains.
Inside this museum, is a replica of the inside of this beautiful ship, the clothing of the guests, and an opportunity to experience just how cold the water was where these pour souls perished.
Titanic Pigeon Forge Educational Resources
The Titanic Pigeon Forge museum has a host of educational resources available for parents and teachers. Before attending the museum here are a few ideas you might consider.
- Learn about the social classes of the different passengers on board.
- Discuss modes of transportation during the late 19th century and why the Titanic was considered a breakthrough.
- Teach a unit on buoyancy and why boats float and/or sink.
- Use a Globe or Map to show kids the planned route and how the Titanic got into trouble.
For these and other ideas and resources, check out the Titanic’s Educational Resources official website.
HOMESCHOOL DAYS: Every day is homeschool day at the Titanic where teachers and students get in for the deep discounted price of $9.00 per student and $9.00 for one adult!
The museum also offers educational resources and a Titanic Scavenger Hunt on the website making it a perfect fun thing to do with the kids in the Smoky Mountain and a wonderful unit study option for homeschoolers.
Titanic Pigeon Ticket Prices
WonderWorks Pigeon Forge
Wonderworks is right next door to the Titanic museum and is another great option for a “school day” in the Smoky Mountains.
This indoor amusement park has over 100 hands-on exhibits to spark a child’s imagination.
WonderWorks Educational Resources
There is a tremendous amount science related educational resources on the WonderWorks website to complement the exhibits your children will experience.
WonderWorks Homeschool Days
HOMESCHOOL DAYS: Wonderworks offers amazing discounts for homeschoolers in the months of September, October, January, February, and May discounting the tickets to only $12 and $10 if you have a group of 10 or more.
WonderWorks Ticket Prices
Ripley’s Aquarium Gatlinburg
Ripley’s Aquarium of Gatlinburg is always a hit with the kids and is such a great place for homeschoolers. Their homeschool resource page has a nice big headline that states, “We love homeschoolers” along with information on monthly labs and discounted rates for homeschoolers.
Ripley’s Aquarium Gatlinburg Educational Resources
Multiple workshops and labs are provided for homeschoolers on the third Wednesday of every month from September through May (no labs in the month of December). Labs include such topics as:
- History of Sea Monsters
- Species Highlight: Cephalopods
- Creepy Ocean Animals
- Animal Defenses: Venom vs. Poison
Download their educational toolkit as an additional resource to prepare your students for their visit to Ripley’s Aquarium.
Ripley’s Aquarium Gatlinburg Homeschool Days
HOMESCHOOL DAYS: Ripley’s offers homeschooler’s and their siblings a discounted ticket price of $10.99 (Reg: $34.99 for adults and $19.99 for children)
A homeschooling family of four gets admission for a little more than the price of one adult admission ticket!!
Ripley’s Aquarium Gatlinburg Ticket PricesSave $2 OFF tickets to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies when you buy online. Buy today!
NOTE: You must provide some form of proof of homeschool such as a letter of intent, attendance record, or homeschool ID card at the admission windows in order to receive this discount.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
We can’t forget the most obvious resource for homeschoolers in the Smoky Mountains: The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
A full day exploring the national park and all the amazing hikes certainly qualify in my book as an excellent day of school.
There are plenty of easy hikes for kids in the Smoky Mountains. However, being a national park, GSMNP also has numerous ranger-led programs, the Junior Ranger program, and other specialty and seasonal programs to cons
Great Smoky Mountains Educational Resources
The National Park website offers materials for educators to assist you in planning your time in the Smoky Mountains.
Additionally, you can learn about field trips led by the rangers throughout the year.
Great Smoky Mountains Entrance Fee
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the few US national parks that doesn’t charge any entrance fee giving you another great reason to visit the Smoky Mountains with your kids.
There are so many reasons to take kids to the national parks and as a homeschooling mom with an eye toward world schooling and road schooling, the United States national parks are the perfect place for my kids to learn about nature, history, and the world in which we live.
What are your favorite things to do in the Smoky Mountains with kids?
Helpful Resources for the Visiting Smoky Mountains
Get Your Smoky Mountains Flex Pass for $99 and plan your Smoky Mountain Vacation at a 30% Discount on either 3 or 5 attractions plus discounts on select entertainment venues and restaurants.