Grandfather Mountain opens its gates to High Country residents, employees and their guests for only $3 each throughout April as part of “Dollar Days.”
The month offers plenty to do inside the park, including the return of animal encounter sessions, the seasonal reopening of the Fudge Shop, discounts on Behind-the-Scenes Habitat Tours and the return of Naturalist Programs later in the month.
“We’re happy to continue the longstanding Dollar Days tradition again this April,” said Harris Prevost, vice president of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. “Our guests will be especially excited to meet our new river otters, Oscar and Nova, and enjoy the spring weather at an unbeatable price.”
The Dollar Days promotion allows anyone who works or lives in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga or Wilkes counties — along with their guests traveling in the same vehicle — to visit at the discounted rate.
Students attending a local college or university also are eligible for the discount.
To take advantage of the reduced rate, visitors must present a driver’s license, college ID or local utility bill as proof of High Country residency. An employee identification badge or pay stub can be used to demonstrate employment at a High Country business.
Grandfather Mountain offers extended spring hours starting March 28. The attraction will be open daily, weather permitting, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ticket sales end at 5 p.m., one hour before the park closes.
Animal encounters begin
April is an excellent time to visit Grandfather Mountain, as the park’s flora and fauna become energized with the initial signs of warmer weather.
Starting April 1, the educational staff will begin animal encounters nine times daily.
During these encounters, guests can talk with staff members about the habitat animals — bears, cougar, otters, deer and bald eagles — and watch the animals receive an enrichment. The enrichments, which include special treats, new toys or unfamiliar scents, break up the animals’ routines and help keep them active and intellectually stimulated.
Visit grandfather.com/plan-your-visit/events/daily-events/ or check the sign at the habitat entrance to view daily enrichment times.
Behind-the-scenes habitat tours
Visitors who just can’t get enough of the habitat animals also can enjoy behind-the-scenes habitat tours for only $20 (plus tax) in April, a discount from the usual $30 rate. These 90-minute tours allow the public to see where the animals sleep, learn why they’re here and what it takes to care for the animals, and observe a training session.
Tours occur at 11 a.m. each Saturday and at 12:30 p.m. each Sunday, with extra opportunities during holiday weekends.
The Mountain also offers more intensive Keeper for a Day programs, which allow visitors 12 and older a chance to shadow the habitat staff as they perform their daily work. Learn how to interact with the animals, clean their habitats, prepare food and provide enrichments while observing the habitats’ inner workings.
For more information or to reserve a spot, call (828) 733-8715 or email [email protected]. Any remaining behind-the-scenes tour spaces may be reserved the day of the tour at the Nature Museum Gift Shop.
Grandfather Mountain guests can enrich their visit in yet another way starting April 18 with Naturalist Programs.
Staff naturalists offer unique educational programs, including owl encounters, guided walks, birding expeditions and weather programs, including Junior Ranger programs designed specifically for children. All programs are included in the price of admission and do not require registration.
Visit grandfather.com/plan-your-visit/events/daily-events/ for specific information about the daily naturalist programs.
The not-for-profit 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.