Perform for Dollywood guests and learn about the biodiversity of the Great Smoky Mountains

Nestled below the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge is home to a rich country and folk music heritage. Students can boogie to an Elvis impersonator at the Memories Theatre, hear hard-rocking Garth Brooks covers at the Smoky Mountain Opry and witness a honky-tonk revue at Country Tonite. There your student group can play a role in the opening act, take backstage tours, get their most pressing questions answered by the cast and sign up for dance, comedy or vocal workshops. 

Your band can entertain Dollywood attendees when it performs in the park’s main plaza. Students receive a meal voucher, rehearsal time and an on-stage clinic with a festival technician. After playing for park guests, your group can experience the rest of Dollywood’s thrills including the Wild Eagle roller coaster. 

STEM-focused groups will want to visit WonderWorks, a 35,000-square-foot “edu-tainment” center. Students can explore the museum’s six “WonderZones” that follow themes like astronomy, physics and imagination. In the Far Out Gallery, visitors can learn about the science behind optical illusions and forensic fingerprint identification, while the Natural Disasters area includes a Tesla Coil, earthquake simulator and interactive Google Earth kiosk. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park also offers the popular Biodiversity Classroom. Tailored to middle school science students, the lesson pairs school groups with a park ranger to construct plots that will inventory the park’s biological elements and environmental conditions. Students will learn about ordering organisms by kingdom and phylum, the importance of environmental stewardship and how to operate a basic microscope. 

Learn about the construction, voyage and tragic 1912 sinking of the famous vessel at the Titanic Museum. Interactive and tactile activities will engage students of any age, who can learn how to send SOS distress signals, shovel coal in a boiler room and feel a 28-degree iceberg. The museum also provides supplementary materials for school groups to place their Titanic Museum experience into a STEM context. The science packet contains lessons that focus on the ship’s buoyancy, the North Atlantic’s water temperature and the liquid physics of the sinking.

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