We have many annual events on Grandfather Mountain that have become a favorite annual tradition for many of our guests. Presented by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, these offer a chance for a more intimate exploration for a variety of interests.
Click on the names below for details and dates. See our Calendar of Events for a full list of upcoming happenings.
- Adult Field Courses (April-October): Examine speciﬁc aspects of the park ecosystem through fun, hands-on ﬁeld excursions. Course leaders are experts in their ﬁelds and include professors, naturalists, scientists and acclaimed photographers, writers, historians and artists.
- Rhododendron Ramble (late May / early June): Take a short, guided strolls will highlight Grandfather Mountain’s rhododendron species and blooms. Included in admission.
- Nature Photography Weekend (June): During three days, enjoy presentations from top nature photographers, hands-on breakout sessions, a friendly contest, after-hours photography and more!
- Grandfather Glows Firefly Viewing Event (June or July): Grandfather Mountain is home to 10 species of fireflies or illumining insects, including Photinus carolinus, Blue Ghost fireflies, and Glowworms. These wonders only appear for a few weeks each year, so we open our nature park several nights for special bioluminescent evenings,
- Educator Workshops(June-September): A free resource for our teachers! Take advantage of the mountain’s classroom in the clouds. Learn and have fun, while earning certification as an environmental educator in North Carolina.
- Grandfather Presents (July-September): Attend Thursday night events with internationally and nationally known presenters focused on conservation, nature and outdoor adventure or Saturday afternoon programs focused on local conservation issues and initiatives.
- Animal Birthday Party (June): This afternoon celebration honors the black bears, bald eagles, river otters, cougars and elk that call the mountain home. Activities include crafts, games, interpretive talks and special birthday enrichments for the animals. Included with regular admission.
- Grandfather By Night (July & August): Discover some of the park’s nighttime wonders, while stopping at its most significant sites. Watch a stunning Grandfather sunset, and experience the mountain as never before!
- Animal Enrichment Day (August): Interact with habitats staff and observe special enrichments in each habitat, such as fresh fish for the river otters to hunt and chase, new scents and snacks for the black bears to relish, a surprise tasty treat for the cougars and more. Also participate in interactive games and activities related to caring for the animals.
- Hawk Watch (September): Grab a front-row seat to one of nature’s most stunning spectacles — thousands of raptors migrating over the mountains and heading south toward their wintering grounds.
- Junior Naturalist Day (September): A day’s worth of special programming to spark participants’ curiosity about the natural world.
- Girl Scout Day (September): Nature hikes, hands-on activities, weather exploration, presentation, habitats tours and more are enjoyed by Girl Scouts and their troop leaders – free admission if in uniform.
- Creatures of the Night & Bonfire Delights (October): A nighttime event that features fun and spooky stories told by firelight, along with exclusive after-dark tours. This is an unique opportunity to see the new world that is Grandfather Mountain after the sun goes down.
- Fall Color Ramble (October): These easy-going rambles, led by members of the park’s naturalist staff, give guests an opportunity to learn more about color change and explore the species of plants and trees native to Grandfather Mountain.
- Beary Scary Halloween (October): This spooky selection of fun, interactive programs, features Halloween-themed activities and trick-or-treating. Guests can try their hands at Halloween crafts, along with games like Pin the Tail on the Bear, bean-bag toss and more. Park educators host interactive, autumn-themed nature programs
Just Outside our Nature Park (operated by a separate non-profit):
- Grandfather Mountain Highland Games (July): Located in MacRae Meadows, discover bagpipes, Scottish athletics, Highland melodies, Celtic cuisine, crafts and tons of tartans.