Junior Ranger Program

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Meet Grandfather’s best friend, Yonni!

Hi, Junior Rangers! I’m Yonni, a Yonahlossee Salamander from Grandfather Mountain! I help kids explore the mountain and use what they learn at home, too!

When you visit Grandfather Mountain, you can pick up a Junior Ranger booklet from the box beside the paved path as you start down to the Animal Habitat area to get to know me better. It’ll take you on a fun scavenger hunt, help you explore a trail, learn cool facts about the nature around you, and let you meet some of my friends. Before you leave the park, take your completed Junior Ranger booklet to the Entrance Gate to take the official Junior Ranger pledge and receive your honorary badge and certificate.

I ask my Junior Rangers to do one thing to protect the planet — anything you want! We don’t all have to do everything, but we do have to help take care of the world we live in. What will you do? Maybe:

— Turn off the lights when you leave a room?
— Recycle plastic bottles and aluminum cans?
— Remind your family to bring along reusable bags when they shop?
— Turn off the water when you brush your teeth?

Stay up-to-date with the Junior Ranger Program when you leave the park!

Junior Rangers now have their own home on the web at grandfather.com/juniorranger.

Here you’ll find the quarterly Junior Ranger newsletter that includes games, trivia, and information about what’s happening at Grandfather Mountain! With parents’ permission, kids can submit their own photos, drawings and artwork to juniorranger@grandfather.com to be featured in an upcoming newsletter!

Special Events that are Fun for Junior Rangers

Weather & Climate Observations
Daily, year-round 

Help members of the Naturalist staff take weather and climate observations in front of the Fudge Shop at 11 a.m. every day.
Free with park admission.

Junior Ranger Program
Offered at 11:30 a.m. daily, April – October

Meet Grandfather Mountain’s naturalists for a special program geared toward children. Kids are invited to learn about the mountain’s animals through activities and wildlife viewing during this brief program held at the Butterfly Garden near the Fudge Shop.

Animal Encounters
Offered daily, April – October

Talk with Grandfather Mountain staff about the habitat animals and observe an enrichment session. 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: Bear Overlook
12 pm: Cougar Overlook
12:30 pm: Otter Overlook
1:00 pm: Deer Overlook
1:30 pm: Bear Overlook
2:00 pm: Eagle Overlook
2:30 pm: Bear Overlook
3 pm: Cougar Overlook
3:30 pm: Otter Overlook

* Additional Encounters are scheduled in afternoons from late April through late October. Click here to check the daily schedule for the day of your visit, or check the signs outside each Animal Habitat to see when the next enrichment is scheduled! *

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.

Keeper for a Day
Offered Tuesdays, 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.

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  • It was the most breathtaking experience we ever shared as a family. Many memories were made as we hiked on the trails, crossed the mile high bridge and saw the views of this part of our state. We wanted to thank the locals who greeted us, welcomed us, and made our first visit the best! We will return. Great family vacation!
    Patricia
    Willard, NC
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