Habitat Programs

Habitat Programs & Events

One-of-a-kind opportunities with Grandfather’s most special residents.

Every day, the Grandfather Mountain habitat staff undertakes the sometimes monumental task of caring for all the habitat animals. But they also want to make sure visitors can enjoy the animals — and vice versa — on a more personal level. Several exciting opportunities let visitors see the wildlife up close, and delve more deeply into their behavior, antics and daily care, while special events will help participants celebrate the animals in a whole new way.

Habitat Programs and Events Schedule:

Behind the Scenes Tours

Offered on weekends, April – October

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 find out why the animals call Grandfather Mountain home.
$25 per person/$20 for Bridge Club members.

Keeper for a Day

Offered Tuesdays, April – October

Come spend a morning shadowing and working alongside the keepers of the Animal Habitats. Learn how to interact with the animals, clean up, prepare food and provide enrichments. Observe various training sessions, animal behavior and the inner workings of the animal habitats. To learn more, click here.
$75 per participant/$60 for Bridge Club members. Includes admission to the park.


Animal Encounters

Offered daily, April – October

Talk to Grandfather Mountain staff about the animals and observe an animal enrichment. An enrichment is anything that breaks up an animal’s day — maybe a special scent or toy newly introduced into their habitat. Visitors to Grandfather are encouraged to view the animal enrichments, as they provide a great opportunity to see each animal active and close to the overlook of the habitat. No additional cost.

11 a.m.: Otter Overlook
11:30 a.m.: Bear Overlook
12 p.m.: Elk Overlook
12:30 p.m.: Cougar Overlook
1 p.m.: Eagle Overlook
1:30 p.m.: Bear Overlook
2 p.m.: Elk Overlook
2:30 p.m.: Bear Overlook
3 p.m.: Otter Overlook
3:30 p.m.: Cougar Overlook
4 p.m.: Bear Overlook

* Additional Encounters are scheduled in afternoons from late April through late October. Click here to check the daily schedule for the day of your visit, or check the signs outside each Animal Habitat to see when the next enrichment is scheduled! *


2019 Special Programs

Wednesday, June 12
Animal Birthday Party
Learn about the animals that call Grandfather Mountain home in a day of kids’ activities celebrating the Mountain’s bears, eagles, otters, cougars and deer. Included with par admission.

Wednesday, Aug. 7
Animal Enrichment Day
Enrichment is an integral part of how the mountain cares for its habitat animals every day. Visitors will enjoy watching enrichment demonstrations, talk directly with keepers and participate in family-oriented games and crafts. Included with park admission.

Saturday, Sept. 21
Creatures of the Night and Bonfire Delight
Enjoy rare after-dark habitat tours of Grandfather Mountain, fireside tales and a chance to meet the park’s nocturnal residents. Online registration opens Aug. 26.

Saturday, Oct. 26
Beary Scary Halloween
Celebrate Halloween at Grandfather Mountain with crafts, nature programs, trick-or-treating and costume contest. Included with regular admission. Kids in costume enter park for half-price.

For more details on any of these events or opportunities, please call (828) 733-8715, or email habitats@grandfather.com.