Young and old are invited to celebrate the birthdays of Grandfather Mountain’s animals June 15. Guests have the opportunity to join the celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and participate in games, contests, crafts, and other special surprises.

“The Animal Birthday Party is a fun day for kids and their families to come celebrate with the animals and experience the wildlife habitats in a unique way,” said Animal Habitats Assistant Manager Bonnie Clark..


The habitat staff have planned a full day of activities set to take place on the Mountain. Children can make a birthday card for the animals, which will later be put on display in the underwater viewing area of the otter habitat. There will be games, prizes and free birthday cake for all who attend.

Grandfather will offer a Behind the Scenes Tour from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at a special rate of $20 per person. Guests will get to see where the cougars and otters sleep overnight, meet black bears that are not commonly on display, learn the ins and outs of what it takes to care for the animals year-round, observe a training session and learn about why the animals call Grandfather Mountain home. Participants must wear closed toe shoes and make a reservation in advance by calling 828-733-8715 or registering in the Museum Gift Shop on June 15.

In 1968 Grandfather Mountain began housing bears as a part of a propagation program and received two bears from the Atlanta Zoo. One of the bears refused to revert to the wild because she was imprinted on humans and did not know how to survive in the wilderness. Her name was Mildred and she became the first of many animals to find a permanent home at Grandfather Mountain.

Many of the animals that are brought to Grandfather are rescues that can no longer survive in the wilderness.  The oldest is Morely, the golden eagle. Morely is more than 30 years old and has lived at Grandfather Mountain since 1984. The youngest is Luna the otter who is just one year old and arrived at the Mountain in November. The Mountain’s wildlife habitats are home to black bears, otters, cougars, deer and a golden eagle.

“Each of the animals will receive a special enrichment during their party,” said Clark. “The bears will even have their own birthday cake.”

All birthday party events, except the Behind the Scenes Tour, are included in regular park admission. A full schedule of the day’s activities can be found at

Grandfather Mountain is a globally recognized nature preserve famous for its 360-degree vistas, native wildlife habitats and Mile High Swinging Bridge. The attraction is located on US Highway 221, two miles north of Linville, NC, and one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305.

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation established to preserve Grandfather Mountain, operate the nature park in the public interest and participate in educational research activities.

For more information phone 800-468-7325 or plan a trip at .

2011 Schedule
10 am-2 pm Test Your Animal Knowledge Contest at the Nature Museum.
10 am–2 pm Make a Birthday Card for the Animals in the Nature Museum. Cards will be displayed in the otter underwater viewing area. At the end of the day the cards will be given to the animals!
10:30 am–12 pm Behind the Scenes Tour takes participants beyond the overlooks of the Animal Habitats to see what it takes to care for the animals year-round. Participants must wear tennis shoes or hiking boots and make a reservation in advance by calling 828-733-8715 or registering in the Museum Gift Shop on June 16. Special “birthday party” price of $20 each.
1:30 pm Come play the Thicket Game! Meet at the Let It Rain picnic shelter.
1:00 pm Owl Encounter! Meet our Naturalists in front of the Fudge Shop.
1-4 pm Free birthday cake from the Fudge Shop while supplies last (one slice per person).
1:30 pm Quick Frozen Critters Game! Meet at the Let It Rain picnic shelter.
2:15 pm Contest prizes will be awarded. Names will be drawn and winners will be announced at the Nature Museum.
2:30 pm Animal Enrichment. After the awarding of contest prizes, follow the habitat staff to the deer, otter, cougar and bear overlooks to watch an exciting birthday enrichment!