Rainy & Foggy Day Activities
Grandfather is a wild and rugged mountain, known for its fast-changing weather. Guests are always encouraged to come prepared for a variety of conditions during their visit. Should rain or fog be among those, here are some ways to still make the most of your time exploring the nature park.
Wilson Center for Nature Discovery
The Wilson Center for Nature Discovery – located about halfway up the mountain, adjacent to the wildlife habitats – helps bring the outdoor world inside and is the perfect place to hole up for a bit. Opened the summer of 2022, it nearly doubles the size of the original museum’s public space with 10,000 square feet of new education space, including state-of-the-art museum exhibits, three classrooms, an ADA-accessible theater and expanded capacity for hosting events and programs. New exhibits include a 3D interactive map of the mountain, flora and fauna walls with field-guide touch screens, a fun (for all ages) hands-on demonstration of wind speeds and other exhibits focusing on the mountain’s natural history and geology.
Beginning every half hour throughout the day, the new “A Mountain of Inspiration” video loop is filled with history, moments of nature, trivia and the plants and animals of Grandfather Mountain and plays in the Hodges Theater.
From presents for those back home to something special for yourself, find plenty of unique items and collectibles in the gift shops located inside the Wilson Center and Top Shop. Both shops carry a variety of artisan crafts and goods, as well as signature Grandfather Mountain souvenirs, from apparel to hiking gear to drinkware and all things in between. All proceeds from the shops support the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.
Dining While Bird-Watching
Savor lunch favorites at Mildred’s Grill inside the Wilson Center with homemade soups, salads and sandwiches and treats like fudge, ice cream, a slice of pie or hot cocoa.
While you dine, you’ll have an ideal vantage point to observe the birds outside at the feeders on the deck. As many as 200 different bird species call Grandfather home, thanks to the variations in terrain, soil, vegetation, wind, water, sunlight and microclimates that create habitat for them here.
Mile High Swinging Bridge
While fog may prevent the endless views a clear day in the park provides, it can create its own magical moments. Crossing the Mile High Swinging Bridge without being able to see all the way to the other side (or below you) is truly a unique experience – and may even help those who are afraid of heights conquer their fear by obscuring just how high up they are!
Did you know foggy days can be ideal for stunning photography? Fog generates depth in the background, thereby adding distance between objects and lending fullness to photos. Capture the varied flora and fauna found on the mountain with an ethereal and atmospheric backdrop!