7 Ways to Rock Your Field Trip in the Smokies


All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.
-Martin H. Fischer

Hands-on experiences are often the best way for kids to learn. With a base in the conventional classroom, kids can go out and expand their knowledge by seeing – in person – what they’ve read in books. In the Smokies, there are many great things to explore for students. Here we’ve offered 7 top places for a field trip, in both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, where students can grow, learn, and play.

1. Play at Dollywood | Pigeon Forge
When the students just need a break from sitting at a desk, Dollywood is the place to go for a day of fun. Younger students can ride the Dollywood Express, play in the Firehouse Fun Yard, check out Granny’s Garden, cool off at the River Battle, or play the many carnival games within the park.

Older students will love the rides (and maybe the shows), from the Barnstormer and Blazing Fury to the Mystery Mine and Tennessee Tornado. There are plenty of places to eat, and they even have animal shows and encounters (under shaded areas) that are the perfect additions to field trips for school groups.

2.Explore Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies | Gatlinburg
With a new Pearl Harbor exhibit, a 4-story indoor playground, interactive exhibits, and thousands of underwater sea creatures across many different species, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies offers hours of fun and out-of-classroom education for students of all ages.

It’s a great place for any group, but Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies has gone a step above, offering special programs and resources for field trips in Gatlinburg. They’ll help educators plan it all, from finding the right experience at the aquarium to ironing out the logistics.

They also offer student rates to all home school families, along with monthly home school classes. And if teachers want to stay in the classroom, the aquarium offers an outreach program where they’ll go to the classroom with a personalized program.
Cabins For YOU partner program discount:
$2 off adult, child, and +2 combo tickets

3. Mix education with entertainment at WonderWorks | Pigeon Forge
WonderWorks is all the ultimate in mixing education with fun. The 6 distinct Wonder Zones – Natural Disasters, Physical Challenge Zone, Light & Sound Zone, Space Discovery, Imagination Lab, and Far Out Art Gallery – invite students to explore and push them outside of their comfort zones. And with so many different subjects covered, every student can find something they’re interested in.

They also have great team-building experiences like the Indoor Ropes Challenge and Laser Tag Arena. Teachers wanting more resources for a day at WonderWorks can fill out a contact form online or contact group sales for lunch and ticket pricing options.

4. Have fun at Ober Gatlinburg | Gatlinburg
Ober Gatlinburg offers a huge variety of fun for school groups, from the ride on the Aerial Tramway, the exciting Ski Mountain Coaster, and indoor ice skating to the Wildlife Encounter, arcade, and Amaze’n Maze. Dining will be easy with several great options, and of course, winter means skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.
Cabins For YOU partner program discount:
$2 off adult and $1 off child tram tickets

5. Get hands-on with Ranger programs | Great Smoky Mountains National Par
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a fantastic place for kids to explore. It gets them out of the conventional classroom and into the great outdoors. Once they get their hands in the earth and start finding new creatures, they’ll forget all about their apps – a least for a little while. In the Smokies, the National Park System has provided some great resources for field trips, whether a teacher wants to take the helm or plan for a ranger-guided program.

The ranger-guided programs are tailored to Tennessee and North Carolina students, with specific activities and themes for elementary, middle school, and high school students. The teacher-guided programs cover everything from wildflowers, communities, and insects to animals, the Walker sisters, and night skies.

Teachers should get more information about scheduling and sample permits by calling 865.436.1258 (TN) or 828.497.1942 (NC).

6. Ripley’s Guinness World of Records Museum | Gatlinburg
Now with new hands-on exhibits where the students can see how they stack up against the best (check out Block Breaker, Quick Draw, Frisbee Toss, and Lumberjack Tree Hack), Ripley’s Guinness World of Records Museum features 100s of exhibits that cover any subject a kid might be interested in.Let students explore the displays, play games, try trivia, and see memorabilia at this fun (and educational!) exhibit in downtown Gatlinburg.
Cabins For YOU partner program discount:
$2 off adult, child, and +2 combo tickets

7. Smoky Mountain Guides
Teachers can let the guides do the talking on their guided hikes and specialty trips in the Great Smoky Mountains. They can tailor field trips for a more unique experience, including their Adventure Photography tour. The pros at Smoky Mountain Guides are focused on team building and safety – 2 key components to a great field trip in the Smokies.
Cabins For YOU partner program discount:
10% off any tour on the website (4+ people)