The special day promises a schedule full of fun and educational activities, all about the residents of the Linville, N.C., nature park’s environmental wildlife habitats.
Specifically, the day highlights animal enrichment and its importance in caring for the animals that call Grandfather Mountain home.
An enrichment is a special treat, new toy or unfamiliar scent that breaks up the animals’ routines and helps keep them active and intellectually stimulated. The habitat residents are given enrichments multiple times daily, and park guests are encouraged to watch through staff-led animal encounters, which are held daily, spring through fall, and provide an ideal opportunity to see each animal active, up close and personal.
For Animal Enrichment Day, guests will get to see special enrichments in each habitat and even participate in some interactive games and activities related to caring for the animals. Guests will even have the chance to create their own enrichments, which will be presented to the animals later that day. Those who participate in a trivia contest will also have the chance to receive free behind-the-scenes tours to see the animals at a much closer perspective. These special activities are all included with the price of admission.
“Enrichment is such a big part of what we do for the quality of life of our animals that not that many people are aware of,” habitat keeper Jenny May Condron said. “Animal Enrichment Day is such a good and fun way to bring our guests into the day-to-day experience of how we make our animals’ lives the best they can be while in our care.”
To learn more about Animal Enrichment Day and see a schedule of events, visit https://grandfather.com/event/animal-enrichment-day/.
Grandfather Mountain offers numerous ways to contribute to the animals and their well-being.
The nonprofit park has an Amazon.com wish list, featuring toys and supplies that are appropriate for the habitat animals. Donors can choose a gift for their favorite animal, purchase it online and have it delivered straight to the mountain for their immediate enjoyment. The list of suggested items is available at http://bit.ly/GMAmazonWishlist.
Animal lovers also can contribute through the Grandfather Mountain Adopt-an-Animal Program. Honorary adopters receive a photo of their animal, certificate of adoption, informational sheet about the animal’s life and additional items at higher donation levels, such as a plush animal, cast of an animal footprint, day pass to Grandfather Mountain or behind-the-scenes visits with their animal. Adoption levels range from $25 to $300, and more information is available online at https://grandfather.com/preserving-protecting/adopt-an-animal/.
The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call 800-468-7325.