Naturalist Programs

Naturalist Programs

Watch a nature program on TV with the sound turned down, and you will enjoy the beauty and drama. Turn the sound up, and you’ll also be enlightened with lots of interesting details that bring extra meaning and interest to the images you see unfolding on the screen.

So it is when you visit Grandfather Mountain in the company of one of our staff naturalists. Any time you visit, you will enjoy the breathtaking scenery and entertaining animals, but tag along with a staff naturalist, and you’ll take away a much greater understanding of what you have seen and a much deeper appreciation of how rare and wonderful this Mountain truly is.

Our Naturalists and Interpretive Rangers offer an array of programs that allows them to share their love and enthusiasm for all things natural with Grandfather Mountain’s guests. From slide programs on otters and bears to a hands-on show-and-tell with animal skins and deer antlers, from a close-range interaction with a barred owl to guided hikes across Grandfather’s rugged peaks, Grandfather’s naturalists will be happy to tailor any sort of interpretive activity that will make your experience of Grandfather Mountain fun and meaningful.

Many programs are offered on a regular schedule and are included in the cost of admission. Other programs are available upon request and will require an additional activity fee. Call (828) 733-4326 for details, or email Amy Renfranz, education specialist with Grandfather Mountain’s Department of Education and Natural Resources, at

Naturalists’ 2016 Program Schedule

May 13-15
Naturalist Weekend
The Grandfather Mountain Naturalist Weekend is a fascinating collection of programs and guided walks, offered to help guests discover more about the biodiversity of life at Grandfather Mountain, during the heart of spring. Programs included with regular admission.

Daily, June through August
Daily Nature Programs
Check the message boards at the Nature Museum or the Top Shop to see what topic the program of the day will cover! Some of the presentations offered include: nature walks, wildflower walks, history talks, interaction with live owls, talks on forest composition, nature near the Swinging Bridge and animal workshops on butterflies, salamanders and each of the animals that reside in Grandfather’s animal habitats. Programs are scheduled for 1 p.m. and will last about 1 hour. Free with park admission.

June 1-12
The Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble
Join us as we showcase the beauty and significance of this native plant. Staff naturalists will lead guided experiences exploring the cultural history behind the plant, as well as its function in the wild landscape. Included with park admission.

Saturday, Sept. 10
A full day of games, music and fun awaits at the annual Grandfather Mountain Kidfest, where families can explore the nature, history and music of the Southern Appalachians — a great event for grandparents and grandchildren, too! Included with park admission.

Saturday, Sept. 17
Girl Scout Day
Calling all Girl Scouts! Join Grandfather Mountain for a fun-filled learning adventure, including special scout activities, presentations and a closing ceremony. The 2016 event will focus on plant life. All Girl Scouts and troop leaders are admitted free with proof of membership, and family members received discounted admission.

Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23
The Colors of Grandfather
Grandfather Mountain naturalists lead guided walks to showcase the changing leaves and explain the science behind the annual phenomenon. Included with park admission.