Habitat Programs & Events

Habitat Programs & Events

One-of-a-kind opportunities with Grandfather’s most special residents.

Every day, the Grandfather Mountain habitat staff undertakes the sometimes monumental task of caring for all the habitat animals. But they also want to make sure visitors can enjoy the animals—and vice versa—on a more personal level. Several exciting opportunities let visitors see the wildlife up close, and delve more deeply into their behavior, antics and daily care, while special events will help participants celebrate the animals in a whole new way.

Habitat Programs and Events Schedule:

Behind the Scenes Tours

Offered on weekends April – October

See where the cougars and otters sleep overnight, meet black bears that are not commonly on display, learn the ins and outs of what it takes to care for the animals year-round, observe a training session and find out why the animals call Grandfather Mountain home.
$30 per person. $25 for annual pass holders.

Keeper for a Day

Offered April – October

Come spend your day shadowing and working alongside the keepers of the Animal Habitats. Learn how to interact with the animals, clean up, prepare food and provide enrichments. Observe various training sessions, animal behavior and the inner workings of the animal habitats.
The cost is $150.00 per participant ($120.00 each for annual pass holders). Admission to the park, a t-shirt and lunch is included.
The three-hour cost is $75 per participant ($60 each for annual pass holders). Admission to the park and a t-shirt is included.

Animal Enrichments

Offered daily April – October

An enrichment is anything that breaks up an animal’s day — maybe a special scent or toy newly introduced into their habitat. Visitors to Grandfather are encouraged to view the animal enrichments, as they provide a great opportunity to see each animal active and close to the overlook of the habitat.

No additional cost.
11 am: Deer Overlook
11:30 am: Bear Overlook
12 pm: Otter Overlook
12:15 pm: Cougar Overlook
1:00 pm: Bear Overlook
1:30 pm: Deer Overlook
2:00 pm: Bear Overlook
2:30 pm: Cougar Overlook
3 pm: Otter Overlook
3:30 pm: Bear Overlook

Critter Crawl
Thursday, June 7, 2014

This 5K race starts in MacRae Meadows and ends at the top of Grandfather. Proceeds benefit the Mountain’s eagle habitat renovation fund. Online registration begins March 1.

Animal Birthday Party
Wednesday, June 18

Grandfather Mountain celebrates the birthdays of all the animals in the park with games, contests, crafts and surprises. Included with park admission.

Creatures of the Night and Bonfire Delight
Saturday, October 4

Stories are told by firelight and rare after-dark tours of the mountain, including a nocturnal animal prowl, are offered. Additional cost. Online registration begins August 28

Beary Scary Halloween
Saturday, October 25

Celebrate Halloween at Grandfather with crafts, nature programs, trick or treating and a costume contest. Included with park admission. Children in costume get in for half price.

For more details on any of these events or opportunities, please call 828-733-8715 or email habitats@grandfather.com.

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  • I was amazed with the scenery and the way the mountains just made my mouth drop in awe and wonder.  I have began hiking as a hobby lately after having a major back surgery in January 2010.  Now after coming there I have a new goal to hike up MacRae Peak so we will be coming back in a few months  and hopefully bring more people with us.  We really enjoyed the natural habitat and the bears. You people really know how to entertain us. The staff was very very and a special thanks to Jill on top of the Mountain at the Swinging Bridge for explaining the points and mountains to us.  She is to be my tour guide when I come back !
    Troutman, NC
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