Grandfather Mountain opens its gates to High Country residents, employees and their guests for only $3 each throughout April as part of “Dollar Days.”
The month offers plenty to do inside the park, including the return of animal encounter sessions, the seasonal reopening of the Fudge Shop, discounted Behind-the-Scenes Habitat Tours and the return of naturalist programs later in the month.
“We’re more than excited to continue the longstanding tradition of Dollar Days in April,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Linville, N.C.-based nature park. “With all the outdoor fun, activities and programs Grandfather Mountain has to offer, the Dollar Days promotion offers a mile-high value.”
The Dollar Days promotion allows anyone who works or lives in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga or Wilkes counties — along with their guests traveling in the same vehicle — to visit at the discounted rate.
Students attending a local college or university are also eligible for the discount.
To take advantage of the reduced rate, visitors must present a valid driver’s license, college ID or local utility bill as proof of High Country residency. An employee identification badge or pay stub can be used to demonstrate employment at a High Country business.
Grandfather Mountain’s extended spring hours started Saturday, March 24, meaning the park will be open daily, weather permitting, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ticket sales end at 5 p.m., one hour before the park closes.
April is an ideal time to visit Grandfather Mountain, as the park’s flora and fauna become energized with the initial signs of warmer weather.
Starting April 14, the educational staff will begin animal encounters 11 times daily.
During these encounters, guests can talk with staff members about the habitat animals — bears, cougars, river otters, elk and bald eagles — and watch the animals receive an enrichment. Enrichments are special treats, new toys or unfamiliar scents that break up the animals’ routines and help keep them active and intellectually stimulated.
Visit www.grandfather.com/plan-your-visit/events/daily-events/, or check the sign at the habitat entrance to view daily enrichment times.
Behind-the-Scenes Habitat Tours
Visitors who just can’t get enough of the habitat animals can also enjoy Behind-the-Scenes Habitat Tours for only $20 (plus tax) in April, a discount from the usual $25 rate. These 90-minute tours allow the public to see where the animals sleep, learn why they’re here and what it takes to care for them, and observe a training session.
Tours take place from 12:30 to 2 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday, with extra opportunities during holiday weekends.
The mountain also offers more intensive Keeper for a Day programs, which allow visitors 12 and older a chance to shadow the habitat keepers as they perform their daily work. Participants will learn how to interact with the animals, clean their habitats, prepare food and provide enrichments, all while observing the habitats’ inner workings.
Keeper for a Day sessions will be offered from 8 to 11 a.m. every Tuesday, April through October.
For more information or to reserve a spot, call (828) 733-8715, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any remaining Behind-the-Scenes Tour spaces may be reserved the day of the tour at the Nature Museum Gift Shop.
Grandfather Mountain guests can enrich their visit in yet another way starting April 1, with naturalist programs, including Peaks & Stories interpretive talks and Junior Ranger programs designed specifically for children, both held on weekends during spring.
Guests can also expect to encounter “roving naturalists” throughout the park, presenting pop-up science presentations at various locations. All programs are included in the price of admission and do not require registration.
Visit www.grandfather.com/plan-your-visit/events/daily-events/ for specific information about the daily naturalist programs.
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.