LINVILLE, N.C. – Grandfather Mountain, the not-for-profit nature park run by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, has announced that it has shifted to a new ticketing system and, along with it, a dynamic pricing structure that went live Feb. 13.
This change will result in some of the lowest rates guests have experienced in years, as well as slightly higher prices during what are considered in-demand days. In addition to helping improve the overall guest experience of visiting the mountain – while protecting its natural resources – by dispersing visitation throughout the year, the goal is to also make park admission more accessible through the lower prices now offered on select dates.
“Grandfather Mountain has continued to see incremental growth in attendance over the past decade, and we anticipate continued growth for the foreseeable future,” said Jesse Pope, president and executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. “In an effort to better protect our natural resources, and preserve the wonderful experience at Grandfather, we are implementing a new ticketing program we hope will spread out our visitation throughout the year and spread out the visitors on any given day to reduce crowding in the park on busy days.”
“This decision was not made lightly, being carefully researched over the past few years,” he added. “We want to ensure our park continues to be affordable and accessible for everyone. As a nonprofit organization, we are very mindful of our operating expenses and costs associated with people visiting the park.”
The organization is fortunate to have a substantial network of donors (both individuals and organizations) who help fund educational programming, large projects and capital campaigns, like the recently completed Wilson Center for Nature Discovery. Volunteers also give their time to further the mission of the organization.
“We are very fortunate to have a great network of volunteers and donors who continue to support the park by sharing their time and resources to help fund large projects and keep our admission rates as low as we can possibly offer,” said Pope. “That said, we rely heavily on park admissions and in-park sales to cover our operating costs, pay our employees and protect the vast natural resources of this unique, biologically diverse nature park.”
Grandfather first launched online ticket sales in 2015 to provide visitors the convenience of buying tickets ahead of time, and the program greatly ramped up during the pandemic when purchasing tickets online in advance became required. This new system now allows those planning a visit to Grandfather Mountain to see pricing for the whole year and book tickets many months in advance. The hope is that folks will click through the calendar to see when pricing might differ and use that extra information to help inform when they visit the park.
The new fees take into account many variables – including seasonality, holiday dates and the extra experiences available on the mountain – and are arranged into three tiers: Base, Mid-Level and Peak. Child ticket prices remain unchanged.
Recent add-ons that have expanded the opportunities for guests to Grandfather include the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery that opened in June 2022 and the Williams Outdoor Learning Space that is set to open this spring. Plans to further develop and improve the mountain’s Conservation Campus are also underway.
Below are the general pricing details, with more information on additional admission rates (including discounted prices on days the mountain is only open halfway due to inclement weather) at: www.grandfather.com/tickets.
Base Days *These are quieter days, mostly in the winter months.
- Adult: $15
- Senior: $13
- Child: $10
- AAA Adult: $13
- AAA Child: $9
Mid-Level Days *These include most, not all, April-October dates and feature extra experiences in the park, such as Grandfather’s schedule of Daily Programs during these months.
- Adult: $24
- Senior: $22
- Child: $10
- AAA Adult: $22
- AAA Child: $9
Peak Days *These are the in-demand days, usually around a holiday or fall color season, that also typically feature extra experiences in the park.
- Adult: $28
- Senior: $26
- Child: $10
- AAA Adult: $26
- AAA Child: $9
The new ticketing platform offers several benefits to customers, who will be encouraged to create an account when booking their reservation. By doing so, they will be able to log in and view their tickets, reprint tickets and move them to their Apple Wallet, if desired. Upon arrival, the Entrance Gate can scan tickets from a customer’s phone and will also accept printed tickets. Guests will have up to 24 hours before their planned visit to change or cancel their reservation via a link in their confirmation email. After that, they would need to call the Entrance Gate at 828-733-4337 to move their tickets.
This same confirmation email can also be forwarded (with tickets attached) to someone else to transfer the reservation should the original customer be unable to visit or want to purchase tickets as a gift for others.
Customers will not have the option to move out of their current price tier if changing their reservations. In these instances, guests will need to request a refund and then book tickets for their new preferred day and time.
As in the past, Bridge Club members do not need to book a reservation when visiting with their annual pass. And, coming soon, they will be able to manage their memberships directly within the new portal.
“We are excited about the new benefits our new ticketing software will offer our guests, making it easier to visit the park,” said Pope. “The new software system will make it faster to book your visit, see your visit history, renew memberships, transfer tickets to friends and family and book new experiences and events more easily.”
For more information on Grandfather Mountain’s new ticketing system and pricing details, visit www.grandfather.com/tickets.
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, visit www.grandfather.com.
Courtesy of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.
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