Dollywood School Day

Dollywood School Day

While we usually focus on fun and family when we spend a day at Dollywood it’s easy to make it count as school day.

From learning about Tennessee history to the physics of roller coasters, a day at Dollywood can be fun and educational.

Dollywood has several printable educational resources. My kids aren’t quite ready for the lessons on the physics of roller coasters, so our favorite is Raptor Academy: Bird of Prey Workbook. Educational Resources | Dollywood Parks & Resorts

You can also find a homeschool day itinerary on with ideas for history, language arts, math, and science.

We love the up close encounters with rescued birds of prey, including owls, hawks, falcons, and vultures, while learning about these amazing birds during The Wings of America show.

Dollywood’s 30,000-square-foot Eagle Mountain Santuary is home to the largest collection of non-releasable Bald Eagles in the country. They have bred and released more than 180 Bald Eagles over the past 30 years.

You can check out the Eagle Cams at DW here: Dollywood Bald Eagle Nest Cams | 24/7 Bald Eagle Nest Cams at Dollywood!

Many of the birds at DW have their own instagrams!

We love Dolly, and it is fascinating to learn about her life and contributions. The parks hosts a replica of her two-room childhood home, built and designed by her brother and mother. There is also a replica of a school house, her childhood church, and you can walk inside one of her actual tour busses.

There are other educational opportunities too: a working Gristmill, a blacksmith shop, and do you know what a whistle punk is? 

Experiences like this are also great ways to work on life and social skills. A day at Dollywood has been a great place for my kids to work on setting goals and overcoming fears. 

They also get many chances to practice speaking up for themselves, to talk to vendors and workers politely and clearly, and ask for what they want. For my emergent reader, I set a goal of reading 10 to 20 words while walking around the park – a game she really enjoys while reading environmental text build her confidence.

Have you used a day at Dollywood or another theme park as a school day? How did you do it? Let us know in the comments below.

A Day in the Garden

A Day in the Garden

We are lucky to have Clemson University close to us because they offer wonderful science summer camps, as well as science labs for homeschoolers throughout the school year. But it’s not close enough that we can drive home after we drop the boys off, so we spend a lot of time at Clemson’s South Carolina Botanical Garden and the Bob Campbell Geology Museum.

Searching for turtles, feeding the geese, and learning the names of flowers are some of our favorite ways to spend time there. We use the seek app to help us identify plants, flowers, and trees, and record what we find in nature journals.

There are several different types of gardens are featured throughout the Botanical Gardens, including a pollinator garden, an aquatic garden, conifer, desert, heritage, which leads to conversations about how the climate and environment needs to change to grow different plants such as moss, cactus, hibiscus, and aquatic plants.

With a children’s garden, vegetable garden, and a butterfly garden, this is a great place to observe many kinds of pollinators.

There is also an old caboose, a duck pond, and a monument to the Clemson military school.

The botanical gardens were built on what used to be an Appalachian family farm, and there are signs along some of the trails in remembrance of the family who lived there. Hunt cabin, an 1835 cabin built by enslaved people for the Hunt family was moved to the area in the 1960s. This tiny cabin was once home for the 14-member family.

The Bob Campbell Geology Museum has gemstones, fossils, skulls, bones such as a brontosaurus foot, a cave bear skull, and Dash’s favorite: a dodo bird skeleton. Outside the museum is a desert garden and Jurassic Garden featuring plants that have been around for billions of years.

There’s so much to learn and explore at the SCBG, but it’s also a beautiful, peaceful place to walk with friends—which is our favorite way to be here.

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