Dollywood's Annual Homeschool Days Let Students Learn in the Theme Park

Homeschooled students can learn about science, history, and more at Dollywood.

Dollywood theme park sign
Photo: Courtesy of Dollywood

Dollywood is hosting its annual Homeschool Days now through Sept. 21, giving families a unique option for at-home learning. With many more families turning to homeschooling this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Dolly Parton-owned Tennessee theme park wants to provide an educational but exciting field trip for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Students can learn about physics, ornithology, conservation, and history at Dollywood this summer during 2020’s Homeschool Days. And honestly, learning Archimedes’ principle from the Smoky Mountain River Rampage raft ride sounds way more fun than studying the physics law in a textbook. Dollywood created a new curriculum called “Science in the Park” based on the thrilling coasters, illustrating how the rides demonstrate gravity, speed, and other scientific principles.

Not a fan of roller coasters? No problem. You can learn about ornithology — the scientific study of birds — at the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, which houses the country’s largest collection of non-releasable bald eagles. The Tennessee Valley Authority also created online STEM learning materials related to Dollywood attractions that you can use to enhance your field trip. Plus, students can see craftspeople practicing glass blowing, blacksmithing, candle making, and more using centuries-old methods for an immersive history lesson.

Metal smith working with sparks flying
Courtesy of Dollywood

Related: Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch

Students in grades K-12 can get a Dollywood ticket for just $37 plus tax, and their accompanying adults can purchase a ticket for $47 plus tax. One-day adult theme park tickets normally cost $79 for guests ages 10 to 61, so this is a great deal for families who are homeschooling this year. People taking advantage of this offer will need to call Dollywood group sales at (888) 428-6789 Monday through Friday at least 72 hours before they plan to visit because these tickets aren’t available at the front gate. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa is also offering a special rate of $129 per night Sunday through Thursday for homeschoolers through Sept. 24.

Dollywood reopened in June with new health and safety measures in place. Even if you won’t be visiting the theme park this summer, you’ll want to whip up some of Dollywood’s famous cinnamon bread — and we’ve got the recipe.

Elizabeth Rhodes is an associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure who loves all things theme parks. Follow her adventures on Instagram at @elizabetheverywhere.

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