Dollywood’s spectacular setting makes learning fun

dollywood rideExplore Dollywood’s unique outdoor classroom

By Wes Ramsey

Not many classrooms measure 150 acres, but Dollywood is at the head of the class when it comes to fun, interactive learning in a beautiful outdoor setting.

Dollywood’s rides represent principles of physics that thrill students in more ways than one.  The law of conservation of momentum can be observed on the bumper cars.  On the Smoky Mountain River Rampage, Archimedes’ principle, buoyant force and displacement can be learned, and the thrilling Wild Eagle roller coaster illustrates the physics principles of gravity, centripetal acceleration and force, and kinetic energy.

Dollywood offers a unique zoology lesson at the spectacular Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, home to the country’s largest collection of non-releasable bald eagles.  Dollywood also is headquarters for the not-for-profit American Eagle Foundation which promotes the preservation of the bald eagle.  A 1.5 million-cubic-foot natural outdoor aviary in the park’s Craftsman’s Valley area recreates the birds’ natural habitat, giving students the rare opportunity to see these magnificent birds up close and learn more about ongoing preservation efforts.

Centuries-old history comes to life as Dollywood features dozens of craft demonstrations daily.  Students visiting Dollywood can see master craftspeople practicing unique art forms like glass blowing, candy making, blacksmithing, leather crafting, candle making, wood carving and wagon making.  During the fall, scores of artisans from across the country brings additional crafts to Dollywood’s Harvest Festival featuring the National Southern Gospel Celebration (Oct. 2- Oct. 31, closed Tuesdays).

For music students, Dollywood is an ideal place to showcase their talents.  Choral groups and school bands are invited to present a 20-minute musical performance at Dollywood throughout the season.  It’s an excellent opportunity for students to apply the skills mastered in a classroom setting before a very enthusiastic audience—Dollywood guests!

As a special gift, Dolly provides a free lunch to all students visiting on a weekday (Monday–Friday only) school field trip. For more information about Dollywood’s amazing outdoor classroom opportunities, please call 1-888-428-6789 or visit

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