Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Just For Kids

Junior Rangers can earn a badge by engaging in specially-designed programs such as blacksmithing, creating a piece of pottery, venturing to learn about insects and other wildlife, or becoming a nature detective and learn how to identify animal sign, tracks, and scat.  These are interactive and fun learning experiences . Age-specific booklets are available at visitor centers and guide kids ages 5 to 12 through a variety of activities.   Expanded programs are offered through the summer.  Hear tales about the settlers, the Cherokee and even ghosts. Southern Appalachian stories are told throughout the summer. 

Walk with a park ranger. Get the real scoop on nature during a ranger-guided walk. Attend a slide show at campground amphitheaters. Check the park newspaper for current times and topics. 

Discover at Discovery Camp. Participate in a three-day program at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, designed specifically for children ages nine through 12. 

Watch millers grind corn and wheat. Visit the water-powered Mingus Mill near Oconaluftee Visitor Center, and Cable Mill in Cades Cove to learn how flour and cornmeal are made. 

Take a field trip. The University of Tennessee Smoky Mountain Field School offers family programs on topics such as reptiles and amphibians, insects and animal tracks. Please call (865) 974-0150 for more information.

Take a hayride in Cades Cove. Early morning is a good time to see wildlife from a hay wagon, but it can be cool, so remember to wear warm clothing. For reservations, call Cades Cove Riding Stables at (865) 448-6286. 

Go Fishing. Nearly 700 miles of fishable streams meander down the Smokies and spill in Fontana Lake. Brook, rainbow and brown trout and other sport fish thrive here. You'll need a valid Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license, available in local communities, if you are 16 years or older (13 years or older for non-residents in Tennessee). Always follow state fishing regulations. Bait fishing is prohibited to prevent accidental introductions of non-native aquatic organisms. Do your part to protect the park by only using artificial lures and flies.

Many park activities for kids are seasonal, so plan your visit accordingly.