People love the Smoky Mountains at every time of the year.
For fall foliage, the high elevations and beautiful light of the Smoky Mountains make the colors spectacular to see. And in the winter time, we love to have a getaway end enjoy Valentine’s Day with the people we love.
The truth is, we never need an excuse to take a great trip to the Smoky Mountains. Half the fun is getting away and traveling here.
A great activity while you’re visiting Smoky Mountains is to play a local game of wildlife bingo. We’ve found it helps us keep an eye out for all of the beauty and surprises the region has to offer.
Perfect for kids, and great for romantic getaways, wildlife bingo is a lot of laughs. Plus, we’re always looking for ways to get the kids outside and enjoying nature.
Researchers say most kids aren’t getting enough time in nature. Many doctors are starting to suggest time with nature to treat all sorts of conditions children (and adults!) may have.
Wildlife Bingo will have you and your loved ones raring to go each day. You may just be surprised at what you see along the way! Best of all, Wildlife Bingo is easy to play.
Let’s get started:
Make Your Wildlife Bingo Cards
You can easily make your own Wildlife Bingo cards before your next trip to the Smoky Mountains. One of the things we love to do is think about our next getaway and all we are going to see.
Prepping for a game of Wildlife Bingo makes trip planning more exciting. You will want to use cardboard from a box for durable game cards.
Depending on how many players you have, you may make a large number of cards. Wildlife Bingo is great for groups and families.
Next, draw a grid on the cards. 5 x 5 or 4 x 4 is a great place to start.
Then you will want to place wildlife at random in the squares. You can write the names, or get creative and print out photos from your computer’s printer at home.
If you have kids, they will love seeing the wildlife ahead of time. It will help them know what to look for.
You can do the same for playing pieces. Then it is like a match game where each player works with their deck of cards to match the wildlife to their Bingo card.
Keep reading for a list of wildlife you can expect to see in our Smoky Mountains!
One idea we love for extended trips is to place “free squares” at different intervals on the cards as well. For example, rather than placing an animal in a square we might place a picture of sunscreen with a corresponding card.
When traveling with loved ones, they only get the “free” square if they put on their sunscreen that day.
Remember, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) encourages people who are going to be spending time outside to put on at least SPF 15 sunscreen. This includes cloudy days with little sun.
You can do the same with “no cell phone during the whole game” or “ate fruit.” Get creative with the game and expand the squares to include as many as you like.
Using free squares like “picked up trash” might help preserve the wildlife too. It’s dangerous to the wildlife to leave food and human trash laying around.
But beyond creative fun ideas, there are plenty of beautiful animals to put on your wildlife bingo cards.
The American Black Bear
Every time we go the Smoky Mountains we hope to see a Black Bear. Experts say approximately 1,500 of these animals live in and around the Smoky Mountains.
Don’t just look out for the color black though! National Geographic explains that “despite their name, black bears can be blue-gray or blue-black, brown, cinnamon, or even (very rarely) white.”
Speaking of National Geographic, doing a search for any of this wildlife on the National Geographic Your Shot site will give you and your family plenty of inspiration for your game pieces.
There is no shortage of animals to choose from for your Bingo game.
In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park alone there are an extraordinary number of species and animals to see. You can even check out what species are most common here before you arrive.
You can get as simple as “bear” for your wildlife game, or as specific as “American Black Bear.”
The same is true for all the wildlife in the Smoky Mountains. There is an amazing variety of mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish to see.
You can be on the lookout for:
- White-Tailed Deer
And that’s just to start! Doing some research with your loved ones will reveal hundreds of species to choose from in the Smoky Mountains.
Don’t forget to pack your camera, your binoculars, and stay a safe distance from wildlife. Remember, you are visiting their natural habitat.
Make sure you leave it safe and comfortable for the beautiful animals we get to enjoy. Always practice Leave No Trace, and leave every place you visit better than you found it.
There’s So Much More To Do!
We know you and your family will love animal bingo. Let’s get you playing as soon as possible!
Are you looking for the perfect place to stay on your next trip to the Smoky Mountains? There’s nothing better than having a base camp to explore from during your trip.
Or maybe you’re planning your next visit and want to coordinate around fun events in the Smoky Mountains region. When it comes to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Smoky Mountains, we’ve got your covered.
If there’s one bad part of our travels to the region it’s this: There’s always so much to do!
American Patriot Getaways can help. You don’t have to plan your next trip alone. We have so many guides to help!
And you don’t have to wait either.
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