SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. — The Great Smoky Mountains National Park remains closed to visitors amid the COVID-19 response. Since people can't journey to the park, rangers are bringing the park to them in their homes.
On National Park Week from April 16 to 26, the Smokies are going digital with a website that features videos and activities for students of all ages.
It's called 'SmokiEEEs @ Home.' The three Es stand for explore, entertain and escape. The website lets kids get outside to explore what they can discover in their own neighborhood, give them fun, creative opportunities to experience nature and art, and have a virtual escape for a quiet, captivating moment.
“During this time of uncertainty when the park is closed and most people are confined to their homes, we hope you’ll join us for an opportunity to virtually experience the Smokies,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the park soon, but until then, I invite you to pause and enjoy a Smokies break online with us.”
Students can travel to the Smokies through a variety of online experiences. It includes original videos that provide families an opportunity to take ranger-led 'Parks as Classrooms' virtual field trips, along with adventures led by Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont and Discover Life in America staff.
Educators with both organizations are working on new videos and activities to add to the website on a regular basis.
The website was created in collaboration with the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, Discover Life in America, the Great Smoky Mountains Association, and in partnership with Friends of the Smokies.
The park said it will also be celebrating National Park Week on social media through April 26 where people's favorite park memories will be shared. People can find a special park ranger emoji using #NationalParkWeek, #FindYourPark, #FindYourVirtualPark and #EncuentraTuParque on Twitter.