Wilderness Wildlife Week, 2015

Image courtesy of Wilderness Wildlife Week

Image courtesy of Wilderness Wildlife Week

The last week in January marks the time of the 25th Annual Wilderness Wildlife Week. Based in LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, the massively popular event is also incredibly huge in scope. Lasting 8 days from Saturday, January 24, 2015 through Saturday, January 31, the event is totally FREE and open to all.

With literally hundreds of experts and talents in practically any field you can think of, conducting hundreds of classes, demonstrations, tours and performances through the week, it is simply impossible not to find something each day that enthralls you. This is perfect family fun, informative and entertaining at the same time.

Wilderness Wildlife Week aims to demonstrate the culture, history, terrain, wildlife and foliage of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the region around it. This subject is even more vast when you browse the hundreds of events that go into this theme, from music to photography, history to hiking, fishing, writing, art, theater performance and truly a whole lot more.

The Center hosts close to a hundred exhibits and booths, and is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm (closing at 3 pm on the final day). Daily events start at 8 am and run full-tilt until around 7:30 pm, followed by a keynote evening program each day.

Each day covers more than 50 events happening, mostly in the Center and with some offsite in the Park or at other locations. Typically each event is no longer than an hour, and with many running at the same time, you simply can’t see everything you’d like to. But it’s all part of the amazing richness of the Park and the area, brought to life in this bustling event.

What’s Included

There will be a photography exhibit in the Center all week, opening Sunday, and also a photography contest with several categories. There are numerous photography classes through the week, including how to avoid common mistakes and shoot a good nature photograph, exploring editing software, how to shoot flowers, butterflies and birds, where and when to photograph the Smokies through the seasons – and even how best to enter a photography competition!

Music ranges from full performances of bluegrass, hymns and mountain ballads, to explorations of single instruments. Try the hammered dulcimer event or the claw hammer banjo. Don’t forget the bagpipes, of course. And you can even learn how to play the spoons and washtub bass.

History is not far away during Wilderness Wildlife Week, presented in tours and lectures, re-enactments and performances. Colorful characters of the region appear in story and song, while Teddy Roosevelt and one of his Rough Riders engage in an evening of stories around the campfire.

Wait, there’s more

Writing, cartooning, landscape perspective, drawing, trout fishing, storytelling, ragrug making, harp singing, the truth about pirates, Amelia Earhart, bears, Civil War soldiers, camp cookery, gemstone jewelry, Native American skills and lore, mastering the cell phone, bird nest boxes, dowsing, wood carving – all of these things are only SOME of the treats lined up for Wilderness Wildlife Week!

Offsite there are guided hikes of different levels, bird hikes, scenic strolls, waterfalls to visit, as well as numerous indoor classes on hiking and backpacking, hiking journals, hillwalking in Scotland, hiking Mt. Whitney, and of course all about the 900 miles of hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There are so many things happening during the 8 days of Wilderness Wildlife Week that it takes 35 pages to list them. See for yourself by viewing or downloading the Program Guide pdf file.

The LeConte Center is located at 2986 Teaster Lane Pigeon Forge, TN 37868. Call 1-800-251-9100, 865-453-8574

About Lindsey Stallings

Lindsey Stallings

I started with Cabins of the Smoky Mountains at Gatlinburg Falls in early 2014. I love to interact with our guests and help them to plan their vacations. Each guest has a different story, and they come from all over the world. I was raised in Ohio, but moved to Tennessee as a teenager and finished high school in Pigeon Forge. Cades Cove is one of the most beautiful places, by far my favorite place in this area. I try to take time out to visit it as often as possible, especially in the Fall.