Glimpse a cougar in its natural mountain habitat. No need to run the other way.
Take a walk on Grandfather Mountain, and you’re likely to spot squirrels, songbirds and other forest animals. But what about the more elusive wildlife? It only takes a visit to our environmental habitats to see cougars (which no longer live in the wild on Grandfather Mountain), black bears, bald eagles, river otters and elk. Observing these animals up close in their native settings, it’s easy to imagine what it would be like to come face-to-face in the wild.
Environmental habitats are large enclosures that allow visitors to see animals in natural settings. Unlike the exhibits found in city zoos that bring in plants and boulders to recreate an appropriate setting, these enclosures were built around the animals’ actual native habitat.
Viewing areas give visitors an up-close perspective of the animals as they live in the wild. Separated from the animals by moats or elevated above the habitats on large retaining walls, these viewing areas allow you to stand only a few feet away from animals you probably wouldn’t see in your everyday life. A special aquarium-like viewing area allows you to enjoy watching the playful otters above or below the water.