Grandfather Mountain has unveiled a new attraction at the Linville park: the Mile High Growth Chart.
The Growth Chart, located on the third floor of the Top Shop Visitor Center, allows guests to measure their height compared to Mildred the Bear on a platform that’s exactly one mile above the sea in elevation.
Guests who visit annually can watch their kids “grow” over the years as they compare photos at the chart over time.
Jim Morton, chairman of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation Board of Directors, said the Growth Chart has been a dream since the Top Shop was renovated in 2010.
When they learned that the top floor would be only 16 inches shy of one mile, the idea emerged to set up the Growth Chart. But the space limitations and need for good photography lighting made the project daunting until Coffey Architecture of Boone stepped in to conceptualize the design.
“We are deeply grateful to the team from Coffey Architecture for turning our idea into a good idea,” Morton said. “Locating and designing our Mile High Growth Chart was a challenging task, but the creative folks at Coffey Architecture made it look easy. It was the out-of-the-box thinking that we needed.”
Architect Hunter Coffey said he and Michelle Daughtry were pleased to work on the project pro bono.
“This is an architecture firm, but we like to get involved in all scales of design,” Coffey said. “I’ve designed everything from houses and large buildings to furniture to cabinetry to kiosks, so this sort of falls into that scale of project.”
Printing specialists Blair Inc. from Springfield, Va., crafted the visual displays, and the completed Growth Chart opened in June.
Already, guests from only a few feet tall to 7 feet, 2 inches have posed for pictures beside Mildred, Grandfather Mountain’s first habitat animal, at the Growth Chart.