Throughout the year, the GSMNP hosts various events, including lectures, workshops and outings that provide the visitor with an experience that they will remember for a lifetime. These events are put on by Park Rangers, experts from around the National Park and special guests that are brought in. Almost all of the events that are put on by the GSMNP are free but a few do have a cost involved. It is wise to check the National Parks calendar of events before you head into the park so that you can sure to take advantage of these educational opportunities.
Junior Ranger Lectures – Throughout the summer the Park Rangers set up talks to be given to members of the Junior Rangers. These talks range from discussions about the indigenous wildlife to the conservation of the trails and other natural features in the park. Having the Rangers in the park lead these discussions makes sure that your children and the other involved in the Junior Rangers program are getting the most up to date info from trained experts that supervise and protect the National Park year after year.
Synchronous Fireflies – In June, when the fireflies start blinking together, the Park Service shuttles people back and forth to the Elkmont area for viewing the fireflies. This event has been going on forever but once people started flocking to this natural wonder, they have started providing transportation to the area to increase the number of visitors that can get in to see the fireflies putting on a dazzling show.
Mountain Life Festival – This festival takes place at the Mountain Farm display at the Oconaluftee Visitors Center on the Cherokee side of the GSMNP. This event takes place in the fall, giving the visitor the opportunity to see how harvest was conducted on a mountain town and how the people that ran those farms got ready for the wintry months of the year.
Photography Workshops – Knowing that the GSMNP is a haven for shutterbugs of all ages, photography workshops are geared for the novice and the expert alike. Taught by photographers from the area, you get to learn from people that are plying their trade in the park itself. They know what gear to bring and how to get the best photograph that you can get. During the spring, these workshops might focus on wildflowers while in the fall these workshops might be focused more on capturing the fall colors as the trees put on an amazing show in the canopy above the forest floor.