The 2022 holiday season is officially underway here at Grandfather Mountain, the not-for-profit nature park run by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. Those looking for unique gifts for loved ones that will also help support the foundation have plenty of options to choose from this year. Get your shopping done and feel good knowing your gifts are giving in more ways than one.
GIFT IDEAS TO ORDER FROM HOME
Adopt an Animal
Looking for a gift that’s warm and fuzzy? While Grandfather Mountain’s resident animals are not for sale, the Adopt-an-Animal Program is the next best thing. The program allows participants to symbolically adopt any of Grandfather Mountain’s furry or feathered residents, including black bears, river otters, cougars, bald eagles, elk and more.
By adopting an animal, individually or on behalf of a friend, family member or loved one, the recipient will get a special gift package. Gifts vary, depending on the donation level, and can include photographs, plush toys, plaster footprint castings, day passes and more. Learn more.
Treat your favorite animal lover to an up-close-and-personal experience with Grandfather’s resident animals. Hosted by Grandfather’s knowledgeable and experienced keepers, Behind-the-Scenes Tours show guests where the park’s resident animals sleep overnight, while sharing the ins and outs of what it takes to care for the animals year-round. Behind-the-Scenes Tours are offered April through October but can be booked in advance.
To give a Behind-the-Scenes Tour as a gift, please call the Wilson Center Gift Shop at 828-733-1059 and purchase over the phone. The gift recipient will be responsible for contacting the habitat staff and scheduling their tour. Please note, a gift of a tour or experience does not include park admission. That would need to be purchased separately or covered by a Bridge Club membership. Get additional information.
Paint With an Otter
New in 2023! This one-of-a-kind activity will lead to lifelong memories. Watch one of the resident otters playfully create a painting by walking through nontoxic paint, in an assortment of colors chosen by the group, and onto sheets of paper for each participant to take home. Paint With an Otter is available Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 a.m., April through October.
Those wanting to give this experience as a gift should call the Wilson Center Gift Shop at 828-733-1059 to purchase over the phone. The gift recipient will be responsible for contacting the habitat staff and scheduling their tour. Please note, a gift of a tour or experience does not include park admission. That would need to be purchased separately or covered by a Bridge Club membership. Find out more.
With Grandfather’s Meet-the-Bears Tours, go behind the scenes to meet some of the mountain’s resident black bears and learn all about them, including their names, daily routines, care, histories and more. This offering is available weekends, at 11 a.m., April through October.
To give a Meet-the-Bears Tour as a gift, please call the Wilson Center Gift Shop at 828-733-1059 and purchase over the phone. The gift recipient will be responsible for contacting the habitat staff and scheduling their tour. Please note, a gift of a tour or experience does not include park admission. That would need to be purchased separately or covered by a Bridge Club membership. Read more.
Animal Wish List
Make the season merry and bright for the creatures that call Grandfather home by treating them to gift items and enrichment treats. To see what the animals are wanting this holiday season, visit their Amazon.com wish list at https://bit.ly/gfm-wishlist. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think the views are sweet? Try Grandfather Mountain’s fudge. The park offers homemade fudge, available in seasonal flavors and year-round favorites. Best of all, it’s only a phone call away. To place an order for pickup or shipment, call Mildred’s Grill at 828-733-1058.
For a gift that keeps on giving, shoppers can purchase an annual membership to Grandfather Mountain’s Bridge Club. It offers unlimited, free admission to Grandfather Mountain for a year, exclusive discounts on and off the mountain, a Bridge Club car decal and more. Group passes are also available. Learn more.
Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. All of the park’s funding is derived from admission, souvenir sales, food and beverage sales and donations, 100 percent of which goes right back into the mountain, ensuring its pristine beauty is preserved for generations to come.
Charitable giving also benefits the park’s many educational programs and initiatives. Those hoping to contribute in their or someone else’s name may donate online now, which allows them to sponsor a particular project or donate to a cause of their choosing.
VISITING THE MOUNTAIN?
Located in the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery and Top Shop, Grandfather Mountain’s gift 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. One of the most popular items is something truly unique to the mountain – animal art, as in artwork actually painted by Grandfather Mountain’s habitat animals.
Choose & Cut & Save
Although Grandfather Mountain’s official tree is now on display, guests are welcome to bring their own – to enjoy a festive discount on park admission during the holiday season. As a gesture of support for local Christmas tree farmers, anyone who arrives at the mountain with a tree atop their vehicle or a receipt from a local tree farm will receive $2 off each adult admission and $1 off each child admission. This offer is valid when booking a visit online (choose the discount pricing) or when buying tickets in person, if available.
Grandfather Mountain is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day in winter, weather permitting, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Ticket sales end at 3:30 p.m., and trails closes at 4 p.m.
Guests are encouraged to book their visit online. With the exception of this year’s choose-and-cut Christmas tree promotion, discounts and coupons are valid only when booking online.
During times of inclement weather, the park may close early or delay opening until all roads and paths can be cleared of snow and ice. As such, those planning a trip are encouraged to call the Entrance Gate at 828-733-4337 or check the website before visiting to learn about the day’s conditions and opening status.
See more gift ideas from Grandfather Mountain.