Grandfather GO: Annual KidFest Coming Up on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Grandfather Mountain

Published Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at 10:52 am

This September, kids are invited to visit their Grandfather.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, Grandfather Mountain hosts its annual KidFest, a fun-filled and educational celebration of natural history in the Appalachian Mountains.

“KidFest is our annual event to showcase the park’s natural wonders to our younger visitors,” said Mickey Shortt, director of education and natural resources for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Linville travel attraction and nature preserve.

This year’s theme is “Grandfather GO,” inspired by the popular mobile video game, “Pokémon GO,” in which players must use their handheld device to “capture” simulated creatures.

In “Grandfather GO,” however, young participants will focus on finding the real deal in a park-wide scavenger hunt.

“The purpose of the scavenger hunt is to get kids thinking about wildlife on Grandfather Mountain, particularly that which is unique to the mountain,” Grandfather Mountain education specialist Amy Renfranz said.

Running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., “Grandfather GO” will feature a series of stations located throughout the mountain, which participants can find using a map they’re given at arrival.

“At each station, we’ll be highlighting the mountain’s biodiversity — salamanders, birds, black bears and bats, for instance — and kids will ‘catch’ the animals by doing a group activity to learn about the specific creature,” Renfranz said.

Each station will feature a staff naturalist or volunteer to lead the activity, some even accompanied by live animals, such as owls and salamanders.

After completing the challenge, players will receive a special wildlife stamp on their map, and they can then follow the clues to find the next station.

“Just collect all the creatures, and they’ll wind their way up to the last station, where they’ll receive prizes and have a mountain celebration,” Renfranz said.

What do the prizes entail?

“They’re a surprise!” Renfranz said. “But I’ll give you a hint. There are prizes the kids can wear or show off, or eat and enjoy, or share with their friends. But the main goal is to get kids engaged in hands-on activities that highlight Grandfather Mountain’s biodiversity.”

KidFest is geared toward children ages 4 to 12, and all activities are included with the price of admission to Grandfather Mountain. To participate, simply ask the gate attendant for a “Grandfather GO” map.

There will also be a KidFest information table in the Nature Museum, featuring game maps, park information, Junior Ranger books and Grandfather Mountain’s mascot, Millie the Bear.

In addition to the special programs taking place throughout the day, families can enjoy the experiences that make Grandfather Mountain exciting year-round, including crossing the Mile High Swinging Bridge, watching animals frolic in the environmental wildlife habitats, exploring the Nature Museum, hiking the trails and tasting the treats at Mildred’s Grill restaurant and the Fudge Shop.

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 plan a trip at www.grandfather.com.

 

Grandfather Mountain’s annual KidFest showcases the park’s natural wonders to younger visitors through fun, games and education. Photo courtesy of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Grandfather Mountain’s annual KidFest showcases the park’s natural wonders to younger visitors through fun, games and education. Photo courtesy of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

During this year’s KidFest scavenger hunt, young participants will look for and learn about Grandfather Mountain’s biodiversity, including salamanders. Photo courtesy of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

During this year’s KidFest scavenger hunt, young participants will look for and learn about Grandfather Mountain’s biodiversity, including salamanders. Photo courtesy of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

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