School Groups & Homeschoolers

School Groups & Homeschoolers

The most awesome classroom nature can provide.

Everyone has something to learn on Grandfather Mountain, and there’s no better teacher than the mountain itself. Education Staff members will answer even the toughest questions, from, “Are rocks alive?” to, “What’s the life cycle of a salamander?” Everyone will learn something new, and everyone will have fun at the same time.

Reservations are essential!

To make your visit more enjoyable, Grandfather Mountain will limit the number of groups visiting each day. Contact Erin Henry at the Grandfather Mountain office, 800-468-7325 or 733-2013 as soon as possible to make sure your preferred date is available.  You must make reservations (Monday-Friday, 9 am to 5 pm) to receive the group rate.)

Educational Group Admission Rates (pre-K through Grade 12)

School Group Admission Rates (Pre-K through Grade 12)
Students Pre-K through Grade 12 $6
Chaperones one FREE for each 8 students
Additional adults $14
Bus drivers (when teachers also drive, they are counted as chaperones) FREE

Educational Group Admission Rates (College)

School Group Admission Rates (College Students)
College Students $6
Chaperones one FREE
Additional adults $14

Groups pay by cash, check or credit card upon arrival. Purchase Orders are not accepted.

Hours

(Ticket Sales End One Hour Before The Park Closes)

We recommend you arrive before 11:00 a.m. or after 3:00 p.m. on summer weekends, holidays and fall color weekends. You’ll move through the Gate more quickly, there will be fewer people in the park, and the animals will be more active. If you can only schedule your visit for midday, we will always be ready to take care of your travel party.

Spring Hours Ticket sales: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Park Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Summer Hours Ticket sales: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Park Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Fall Hours Ticket sales: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Park Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Winter Hours (Starting November, 4 2013) Ticket sales: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Park Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Educational Programs

Make your educational group’s visit to Grandfather Mountain even more exciting with a program delivered by one of our engaging naturalists. Choose from a wide variety of topics, from Animal Behavior to Weather to Geology—and much more.

All educational programs are approximately one hour long unless otherwise posted. All programs are aligned with NC Science Essential Standards along with the North American Association for Environmental Education’s Guidelines for Learning (K-12).

Shuttle Service

Because sharp curves near the top of the mountain restrict commercial motor coaches and some school buses to the lower part of the mountain, Grandfather provides free shuttle service to the top in its own buses. Reservations for the shuttle buses are required.

Motor coaches or buses longer than 28′ are not allowed in the park on weekends. No exceptions will be made.

Group Size for School Outings

School groups and home school groups have the option of receiving a guided habitat tour or participating in an educational program for an additional fee per student.

Our staff can take small groups on each tour through the animal habitats: no more than 30 students with accompanying adults. Other small groups may visit the Nature Museum, movie theater, gift shop, restaurant or rest rooms while waiting for the first group of students to complete the 45-minute habitat tour.

Because of limited space in the Nature Museum gift shop, please take turns visiting the shop in small groups of eight students, each with at least one adult chaperone. The gift shop in the Swinging Bridge Visitor Center is larger and can accommodate more people. Greater numbers of students can visit the Swinging Bridge gift shop together when closely supervised.

Supervision

Please supervise students more closely than normal during their visit. The mountain, the wildlife and the other visitors all deserve our respect, and especially the senior citizens we welcome here every day.

Students should expect to give the tour guides at the animal habitats the same attention they would give you in a classroom. They will be encouraged to ask questions as long as the entire group remains under control.

Days of Operation

Open daily except Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day, weather permitting in winter.

Duration of Visit

On average, an educational visit takes about 3 hours. Allow about ½ hour to walk through the animal habitats (45 minutes if you choose a guided tour), 1 hour in the theater/museum/shop, ½ hour at the Mile High Swinging Bridge/Visitor Center, and ½ hour for lunch. Your visit can easily be shortened or lengthened, depending on group size. Expect a longer stay if your group opts for a habitat tour or naturalist program.

Lunch & Snacks

The 140-seat Nature Museum Restaurant serves hot, tasty food at school-friendly prices. For extra convenience, order your meal in advance—we’ll have the food for your class ready and waiting at the time that best fits your schedule.

From the special “Express Eats” menu, students may choose from a slice of French bread Pepperoni pizza, a plain hot dog, or a grilled cheese sandwich. Each is served with apple slices or chips and milk, juice or a bottled water. All combo meals are served at one low price, tax included.  Vouchers for each individual meal will be mailed after reservations are made.

The Mountain has over 100 picnic tables in scenic locations throughout the park, including a covered picnic area situated next to the Nature Museum. Your group is welcome to bring its own picnic, or our staff will be happy to prepare box lunches for you.

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  • I have been coming to Grandfather Mountain since I was a small child. The change of seasons is more markedly pronounced than anywhere else I've ever been. Every season has it's own sights and smells and of course brings you a different pleasurable sensation of feelings every time.
    Darrell
    Fairview, NC
    Read more››