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Creepy Critters Are Calling: Grandfather Mountain Hosts Beary Scary Halloween Oct. 26

One of Grandfather Mountain’s bears enjoys a special pumpkin enrichment during the park’s A Beary Scary Halloween festival. Photo by Monty Combs | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Grandfather Mountain can bear-ly stand the excitement, because Oct. 26 marks the nonprofit nature park’s annual Beary Scary Halloween celebration.

This special day features a wide range of activities, including trick-or-treating, spooky arts and crafts, making enrichments for animals and a costume contest. The activities start at 11 a.m. and run to 3:30 p.m. and are included with the price of admission. Plus, kids in costume receive half-priced admission.

“Beary Scary is a great way for kids to come up to celebrate Halloween and learn all about bears and other fun creatures,” said Jenny Condron, assistant habitats curator for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the park. “This year’s theme is all about native animals and creepy critters that will highlight the environment of the mountain during the autumn season.”

The day starts off with craft tables in the Nature Museum, where kids can make their own spooky creations. Also during that time, participants can try their hands at autumn-themed games. These activities will be running throughout the entirety of the event.

From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., guests can trick-or-treat throughout the park, while learning about bear facts. Locations include the gate house, Half Moon Overlook, animal habitats, Nature Museum, Top Shop and the Mile High Swinging Bridge.

From 11:30 a.m. to noon, kids can participate in Junior Ranger activities, during which they will learn about Grandfather Mountain’s unique ecosystem through hands-on activities.

From noon to 12:30 p.m., a featured speaker will host a nature program called “Are Bears Scary?” This event will take place in the Nature Museum and will be about black bears—discussing such topics as myths and what to do if you encounter one, along with many other subjects.

After the talk, from 12:30 to 1 p.m., kids can show off their creativity at the Let-It-Rain Picnic Shelter, where special pumpkin-themed enrichments will be made for the animals.

“Enrichments are special treats that help break up the animals’ routines, while keeping them active and intellectually stimulated,” chief habitats curator Christie Tipton explained.

From 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., it’s the moment all the boys and ghouls have been waiting for: the costume contest. This event will also be held in the Nature Museum Auditorium and comes with prizes for numerous costume categories.

Finally, the day wraps up from 3 to 3:30 p.m. when the carefully crafted enrichments are paraded throughout the habitats for the animals to enjoy.

In the event of rain or very cold weather, all main events will be moved and held at the Nature Museum and Let-It-Rain Picnic Shelter.

For more information, call 828-733-2013, or email habitats@grandfather.com.

The nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call 800-468-7325, or visit www.grandfather.com to plan a trip.

The animals are otter-ly excited for their treat. In this photo, one of the mountain’s resident river otters plays with a festive Halloween enrichment. Photo by Monty Combs | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
One of Grandfather Mountain’s black bears dives headfirst into her special Halloween enrichment, during the mountain’s A Beary Scary Halloween festival. The seasonal celebration returns Saturday, Oct. 26. Photo by Monty Combs | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation