VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP TO THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS
Sevierville has always been a popular field trip destination. But this year, many of our popular attractions stepped up to also offer great educational experiences to students online. Whether through simple YouTube videos, Facebook lives, or educational components on their websites, these Sevierville area attractions keep learning fun.
While many of these attractions are now beginning to reopen, we still recommend calling them directly before visiting to confirm hours of operation. Before you visit, go ahead and dive into their online resources and enjoy a virtual field trip from the comfort of your home.
Tennessee Museum of Aviation
The Tennessee Museum of Aviation is a hidden gem. As Tennessee’s Official Archive and Repository for Aviation History, the museum is home to rare airworthy warbird aircraft – including a Douglas A1-H Skyraider and two P-47 Thunderbolts. Because the museum is located at Sevierville’s municipal airport, many of the planes take to the skies on a regular basis – which gives museum visitors (and those in town) unique opportunities to see history take flight.
Perhaps the greatest treasure at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation are the docents – many of whom are WWII and Vietnam War Veterans.
Get Schooled by Jules, a WWII Vet and museum docent, on the Stinson L-5 aircraft, the importance of mathematics, and a little bit of WWII history in under four minutes.
Want to explore more and plan for a future visit? Check out 5 Fun Reasons to Visit the Tennessee Museum of Aviation.
Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo
The keepers at Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo are focused on conservation and preservation. Because of that, their zoo goes above and beyond to educate guests – even online - about some of the most rare and unique creatures on earth.
Do a little zoological research on the Rainforest Adventures website – which is packed with scientific information about the animals who live there.
Did you know that Cotton Top Tamarins are one of rarest species of primates on earth? Or that scorpions are some of the oldest living creatures on earth today? Choose an animal or two to research on the site and write a report about what you’ve learned. The site also explains how the animals who live at Rainforest Adventures connect to the world at large and why they are so important.
The Rainforest Adventures website is also wonderful for increasing vocabulary, or preparing for a spelling bee. Can you spell (or say?!?) leptospirosis? Can you define it? Rainforest Adventures can help parents learn too!
Titanic Museum Attraction
Titanic Museum Attraction honors the passengers and crew of the famous ship by telling their stories – a mission the museum is continuing even now. Beginning Monday, March 30 First Class Maid Jodi will share a LIVE inspirational passenger story that illustrates hope, courage, and resilience. The live videos will be at Noon EST Monday-Thursday on the Titanic Museum Attraction Facebook page. On Fridays at Noon EST she will read a book about Titanic.
Want to take a look around Titanic Museum Attraction right now? Take a free virtual tour of the museum on the Titanic Kids YouTube Channel.
For parents who would like educational materials, check out their free curriculum resource guide that includes language arts, science, geography, and mathematics.
Alcatraz East Crime Museum has a few exhibits that surprise some guests – like the White Ford Bronco used in the O.J. Simpson chase and Ted Bundy’s VW Bug. But this unique museum is also committed to creating an experience the whole family will enjoy. To that end, they have some fantastic online resources that kids (and parents) will love.
Check out the Cops and Robbers page, which is focused on safety. Once you’re there, you can sign an internet safety pledge (parents this is a great way to begin a conversation about online safety). Then explore links to reputable sites like the National Fire Protection (NFPA’s) online resource page where kids can play games with Sparky, the NFPA mascot, and learn fire safety emergency tips like establishing an outdoor meeting place for your family in the event of a house fire. Additional links from the Alcatraz Cops and Robbers page go to the Federal Trade Commission, where kids can play a game that also focuses on internet safety, and a link to the FBI’s online tips for kids.
For older kids (and true crime fans) the Alcatraz East website also has a Crime Library. Not all of the topics are appropriate for younger kids, but older kids and parents may find these stories very interesting.
Check out a preview of Alcatraz East here.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an International Biosphere Reserve, Great Smoky Mountains National Park definitely has a lot to offer in the way of educational opportunities – and so does their website. Peek into the park, even from home. Six different web cams located throughout the park (Look Rock, Newfound Gap, Clingmans Dome, Twin Creeks, Purchase Knob and LeConte Creek) let you get a glimpse of what’s happening in real time.
Watch spring bloom in the Smokies. The cameras at Twin Creeks and LeConte Creek are part of an Ecosystem Phenology Camera Network. The camera feeds from those two locations include additional educational resources on Phenology, which is the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life.
Additionally, historians will love delving into aspects of the park such as its history and culture.
Discover Great Smoky Mountains National Park by exploring the site here .