Fireflies are surprisingly diverse

Female fireflies in the Photuris genus are known for mimicking the flash responses of other species’ females and then eating the males they lure in. Photo provided by Katja Schulz.

For many people who grew up in the eastern United States, the soft yellow blink of fireflies drifting over dusky fields and lawns is synonymous with summer, a nostalgic symbol of warmth and childhood. But few would guess that the common eastern firefly (Photinus pyralis) is one of more than two thousand firefly species worldwide. […]

Great Smokies

Welcome Center

Hours of Operation

(subject to change)

Open year round (closed December 25)

January - February

Open Daily 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

March - November

Open Daily 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Open Daily 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

The Great Smokies Welcome Center is located on U.S. 321 in Townsend, TN, 2 miles from the west entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Visitors can get information about things to see and do in and around the national park and shop from a wide selection of books, gifts, and other Smokies merchandise. Daily, weekly, and annual parking tags for the national park are also available.

Physical Address

7929 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway Townsend TN 37882


865.436.7318 Ext 320