Workshops & Home School Programs

To register for a workshop please contact (423) 434-HAND ext. 808 or email reservations@visithandson.org.

Register for Summer Paleo Camp Today!

Children ages 5-12 will dig for fossils, examine rocks and minerals, make a plaster cast of a fossil, dissect an owl pellet, tie dye a Paleo Camp t-shirt, and so much more!  Half day and full day camps in June and July!  Click here for more information!

Friday, June 21st – Solar-scope for Summer Solstice

Join us for some star gazing of our Sun on the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year!  Take a turn using our Celestron EclipSmart solar safe finder telescope which allows the scope to align to the sun without directly viewing it.  Programs by announcement periodically throughout the day.  Weather permitting, stay tuned to social media for updates regarding weather.  Limited access to scope based on participants.  Free with paid general admission.   This program made possible by TVA.

Join us Select Saturdays for The Big Dig!

The Big Dig is a one-of-a-kind, roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, paleontology experience offered by Hands On! Discovery Center and the East Tennessee State University Museum of Natural History!  Participants will have the opportunity to work alongside paleontologists and follow the process from beginning to end, from searching for fossils in the field to curating them in the museum collection.  

For ages 12 to adult.  Ages 12-16 must be accompanied by a paying adult, age 18+.  

The program is 10:00am – 4:00pm and is available on the following dates:

  • July 6
  • July 20
  • August 10
  • August 24
  • September 7
  • September 21

Spots are very limited and pre-registration and payment are required two weeks in advance of each date.  Click here for more information!

Wednesday, July 10th – Nikola Tesla Birthday Celebration

Join us for the most electrifying party of the summer.  Today only, Tesla Experience tickets are $1 for everyone (with paid general admission, excludes groups) or $3 for the Tesla Experience show only (no admission to exhibit or program spaces), with shows at 10:30, 12:30, 2:30, and 4:30.  As always, children under 3 are free.  Additional activities will be announced throughout the day and are free with admission while supplies last.

Tuesday, July 16th – International Tinkering Day

Stop by our Discovery Carts to learn about coding and robotics with our Cubelets Modular Robotics sets.  Then visit our Make It. Take It. exhibit space to tinker and craft with a variety of supplies and try out some of our maker challenges.  FREE with general paid admission.   

Thursday, August 8th – Lions, Tigers, and Saber-Toothed Cats, Oh My!

It’s World Cat Day, why not learn about the secrets of saber-toothed cats?  Join us as we compare and contrast the saber-toothed cat with a variety of cats and learn about why the saber-toothed cat is noteworthy to the Gray Fossil Site.  Programs announced periodically throughout the day.

Monday, August 12th – Proboscideans

Stop by on World Elephant Day to learn about some of our favorite Proboscideans: mastodons, mammoths, and elephants.  Discover their significance to Gray Fossil Site, learn about their past, and what makes these animals similar and different.  Programs by announcement periodically throughout the day.

Monday, August 19th – National Aviation Day

Join us for some fun, high-flying activities related to aviation, including a paper plane contest in honor of National Aviation Week.  Programs announced periodically throughout the day.

Tuesday, August 27th, 4-6pm – Fossil & Artifact ID Night

You don’t have to be a paleontologist to find fossils, but identifying them is a different story.  Bring in any kind of rock, fossil, artifact, or mineral and scientists at the museum will provide space for the study of these finds. There will be an archaeologist, paleontologist, and geologist on site. The event is free and open to the public but does not include admission to exhibits.

Saturday, August 31st – Archaeology Day

Stay tuned to our website and social media for more details!

Saturday, September 21st – Red Panda Day

Calling all Red Panda Rangers!  Join us in recognition of International Red Panda Day to learn more about red pandas of the past and of today, uncover their significance to the Gray Fossil Site, and try out some red panda activities and crafts.  Programs announced periodically throughout the day.

Saturday, September 28th, During the Day – Solar Scope for Fall Astronomy Day

Join us for some star gazing of our Sun gazing in recognition of the upcoming Fall Astronomy Day!  Take a turn using our Celestron EclipSmart solar telescope, which is able to directly align to the Sun and filter the intense sunlight for safe solar observation!  Programs by announcement periodically throughout the day.  Weather permitting, stay tuned to social media for updates regarding weather.  Limited access to scope based on participants. Included with general admission.

Saturday, September 28th, 7-9pm – Star Party

Join us for some out-of-this-world stargazing in recognition of the upcoming Fall Astronomy Day!  Take a turn using our Celestron NexStar computerized telescope or astronomy binoculars.  Weather permitting, stay tuned to social media for more information and for updates regarding weather.  Limited access to scopes and binoculars based on attendees.  Admission is $3 per person ages 4+, children 3 and younger are free.  Exhibit spaces are closed during this event.

More programs coming soon!