Some species that have disappeared from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park over the past two centuries are finding their way back again, thanks to restoration efforts of park rangers and wildlife lovers. Read more

, , Outdoors

Forget the days of stuffy museums with ropes to keep the hands of little visitors from getting too close. Today, many museums are geared for kids of all ages with interactive play, colorful exhibits, and rich opportunities for hands-on learning. Read more

Looking foxy

Margaret Hester photo

There’s a host of furry, feathery, slinky, slimy, big and tiny creatures making their homes across the mountains and with which we share the landscape. Some homes are but temporary. Read more


Hal Herzog

Mark Haskett photo

Granted, I wasn’t always fond of snakes, and even now, picking up a non-venomous redbelly makes me flinch a little. But all in all, the snake world is one I have come to admire. But the kids’ faces are aghast. Read more


Knoxville zoo

Knoxville Zoological Gardens photo

There is little in this world more satisfying than seeing a child’s face light up with sheer awe and delight at the sight of an exotic animal he or she never seen before. At the Knoxville Zoo, one sees that face over and over again. Read more

Winters in the Smokies can be harsh. The lush green mountainsides of spring and summer turn gray and brown and bare. There are no more tender shoots to browse, no more luscious leaves to nibble and no more juicy berries to slurp. Read more


Closer look

Martin Hutten photo

When Jim Lowe strikes out on his twice-monthly foray to check insect traps in the Smokies, he never knows just what is in store. Lowe runs various and sundry traps — cups sunk in the ground, large mesh nets draped from poles and dangling funnels. Read more