2022 is underway, and Grandfather Mountain’s calendar of events is in peak condition.
With a mission to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain, the nonprofit nature park and its staff are readying for a fun and eventful year.
“2022 is going to be an incredible year on Grandfather Mountain,” said Frank Ruggiero, communications manager for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Linville, N.C., nature park. “Not only are we opening the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, the jewel of our brand new Conservation Campus, but our schedule is packed with special events, all of them bridging education with outdoor fun, while allowing us to share the wonders of Grandfather Mountain with guests of all ages.”
Set to open in spring 2022, the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery will nearly double the size of the park’s current Nature Museum with 10,000 square feet of education space, including state-of-the-art museum exhibits, three classrooms, restoration of the ADA-accessible auditorium, enhanced food service facilities to allow for catering and serving educational groups, and expanded capacity for hosting conferences, seminars, receptions and community events.
Outside the center, guests will enjoy new outdoor learning spaces, including an amphitheater with terraced seating and a pavilion, as well as a new botanical garden.
In turn, Grandfather will be able to offer an expanded, mile-high slate of programming opportunities for audiences and participants of all ages, while enhancing its lineup of special events.
With a few exceptions where noted, most special events are included with park admission. Additional events will be announced and posted on grandfather.com.
The Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble
May 28-June 5
2 p.m. (May 28-June 4) and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (June 5)
From May 28 through June 4, daily, short, guided strolls will highlight Grandfather Mountain’s rhododendron species and blooms. The weeklong rambles culminate on Sunday, June 5, during which the park will host a special speaker and activities throughout the day.
Animal Birthday Party
Wednesday, June 8
Grandfather Mountain celebrates the birthdays of its resident animals with games, contests, crafts and surprises. The mountain’s habitat staff will prepare a fun-filled afternoon for guests, as well as programs to celebrate the park’s furry and feathered inhabitants.
Nature Photography Weekend
Grandfather Mountain’s annual Nature Photography Weekend returns, with presentations from top nature photographers, hands-on breakout sessions, a friendly contest and the rare opportunity to photograph the mountain’s spectacular scenery and native animals before and after regular business hours. Online registration begins April 4 at grandfather.com.
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
Blaring bagpipes, Scottish athletics, Highland melodies, Celtic cuisine, crafts aplenty and a spectacular highland setting make this colorful celebration of Scottish culture one of the most highly acclaimed games in the country. Additional cost. For more information, visit www.gmhg.org.
Grandfather by Night
July 15, 22 & 29 from 8-10 p.m., Aug. 5, 12 & 19 from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Explore Grandfather Mountain after hours with your own personal guides. You’ll 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! Additional cost.
Animal Enrichment Day
Wednesday, Aug. 3
On Animal Enrichment Day, guests will see firsthand how Grandfather Mountain cares for its resident animals. An enrichment is a special treat, new toy or even an unfamiliar scent given to the animals to break up their routines and help keep them active and intellectually stimulated. Visitors can enjoy watching enrichment demonstrations, talk directly with keepers and participate in family-oriented games and crafts.
Grandfather Mountain Camera Clinic
Top photographers gather at Grandfather Mountain to present on the nuts and bolts of making good photographs. This event is free to working members of the press, with an additional cost for non-press professionals and amateurs. Online registration begins July 20 at grandfather.com.
Grandfather Mountain Campfire Stories
Friday, Aug. 26
This all-new event allows guests to enjoy stories around the campfire from interesting figures in the realms of science, conservation and environmental education, all while experiencing the wonder of Grandfather Mountain after dark. Additional costs. Online registration begins July 26.
All throughout September, guests are invited to join the mountain’s naturalists as they count and celebrate the annual spectacle of fall raptor migration. Participants can observe the migration daily at Linville Peak, across the Mile High Swinging Bridge, weather permitting.
70th Anniversary of the Mile High Swinging Bridge
Friday, Sept. 2
Celebrate seven decades of mile-high wonder with a day of activities for the whole family, as Grandfather Mountain observes the 70th anniversary of its world-famous Mile High Swinging Bridge.
Junior Naturalist Day
Saturday, Sept. 10
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Grandfather Mountain’s Junior Ranger Program is now the Junior Naturalist Program — a new program for our new Conservation Campus! Activities throughout the day will be provided specifically for children ages 5-12 to explore their environment and experience all that Grandfather has to offer.
52nd Annual Girl Scout Day
Saturday, Sept. 24
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Girl Scouts are invited to join the park’s educators for a fun-filled learning adventure on Grandfather Mountain. Participants can enjoy special scout activities, presentations and speakers. Plus, all Girl Scouts and troop leaders are admitted free with proof of membership, and family members will receive discounted admission.
Creatures of the Night & Bonfire Delight
Saturday, Oct. 1
As night falls on Grandfather Mountain, guests can enjoy rare after-dark tours, fireside tales and a chance to meet the park’s nocturnal residents. Additional cost. Limited to 28 participants. Registration opens Sept. 1 at grandfather.com.
The Fall Color Ramble
Oct. 1-10 at 2 p.m., Oct. 15 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
From Oct. 1-10, guests can enjoy short, guided walks that highlight Grandfather Mountain’s fall colors. On Oct. 15, folks can join the park’s educators for a day full of fall-color activities, including guest speakers and short rambles, allowing participants to explore and admire the annual phenomenon.
Beary Scary Halloween
Saturday, Oct. 29
Visit Grandfather Mountain for an afternoon of nature programs about animals that some consider creepy and crawly! This fun-filled celebration includes an opportunity to trick-or-treat through the animal habitats area and then watch special Halloween enrichments be given to the animals. Plus, children in costume are admitted at half-price.
Grandfather Mountain will add more events to its lineup throughout the year, including the Grandfather Presents evening lecture series, adult field courses and daily programs. To learn more, visit www.grandfather.com, email email@example.com, or call 828-733-2013.
The nonprofit 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, or visit www.grandfather.com to plan a trip.