Learning at Carowinds

Local amusement park highlights school subjects during youth education days

By Krisha Chachra | Photo courtesy of Carowinds

On Fridays during spring, Carowinds Sales Director Marc Gran and his team invite local schools to participate in Youth Education Days. Students learn how the park uses everyday subjects taught in the classroom. Ballantyne Magazine partnered with Carowinds on its Marketing Day in May, when students entered a contest to creatively retheme one of the park’s existing rides and design a mock marketing campaign.

Gran shared more about the park’s educational efforts.

Why host Marketing Day?

Carowinds is only open [to the public] during weekends in spring, and schools are looking for something to do. We know how important teachers are and want to help relate what they are teaching to kids back to the park. We have 11 youth education days before summer. For Marketing Day this year, we tapped into our long-standing partnership with Coca-Cola. We asked Aida Smailagic, manager of consumer connections at Coca-Cola Consolidated, to speak to our students about how she positions the Coke brand within Carowinds and other entertainment franchises.

What other themed days are there?

On Engineering Day, we take students on a back-of-house tour of our new Aeronautical section to see how our rides use gravity, levers, pulleys and other simple machines. We also have a STEAM village [through a] partnership with AtomzLab, where guests move through stations, test science and create art. Our Festival of Music invites school bands and choir groups to perform.

Who can participate?

Any school-aged student, but the program is [geared] toward middle and high school students in North and South Carolina. After a morning session with a guest speaker or panel, students can cut loose and ride all the rides in the park.

Why get involved with education?

Think of the park as the educator itself. It takes so much science, engineering, marketing, finance and retail knowledge to make a park run. Our in-house greenhouse grows the plants you see around the park, so lessons in ecology and sustainability are also used here.

Tell us more about participation.

Student tickets are $37, which includes park admission. The contest is optional but encouraged! This year, John F. Kennedy High School won the $500 prize for their submission on a water park ride.

Anything else to share?

We’re reopening the Paladium Amphitheatre for the Carowinds Summer Music Fest, with LeAnn Rimes headlining on July 5. We’re looking forward to bringing it back to life with the help of our partners at Coke.

For more on Youth Education Days: