At Grandfather Mountain, Halloween isn’t scary. It’s Beary Scary.
The Linville, N.C., nature preserve and attraction has mountains of tricks and treats in store for its annual Halloween festival, A Beary Scary Halloween, returning Saturday, Oct. 28.
The special day features a spooky selection of nature programs, Halloween-themed crafts, a costume contest, animal enrichments and trick-or-treating through the park’s environmental wildlife habitats. All activities are included with the price of admission, and kids in costume get in for half-price.
“Not only is it fun to say, Beary Scary’s an entertaining and unique way to celebrate Halloween — with Grandfather Mountain’s resident party animals,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees the park.
The fun runs from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., starting off with craft tables in the Nature Museum, where boys and ghouls can make their own spooky creations. Also during that time, kids can try their hand at autumn-themed games, including a bean-bag toss and pin-the-tail-on-the-bear.
Kids-at-heart can take part in a raffle for a variety of Grandfather Mountain-themed prizes, with proceeds helping purchase new toys for the animals.
From 11 a.m. to noon, guests can trick-or-treat through the animal habitats, meeting the furry and feathered residents and their keepers.
From 12:30 to 1 p.m., the keepers will host a nature program, “Fatten Up For Fall,” where kids will learn what it takes to survive the winter as a bear — “by becoming bears themselves,” habitats curator Christie Tipton said.
At 1 p.m., kids can help the keepers decorate Halloween pumpkins and other treats to offer the animals as an enrichment, or they can make something for themselves.
“Enrichments are special treats that help break up the animals’ routines, while keeping them active and intellectually stimulated,” Tipton explained.
“They’re particularly fond of their special Halloween treats,” Ruggiero added. “And yes, that includes special stuffed pumpkins for the bears.”
At 1:30 p.m., kids can show off their wild side with a costume contest, while vying for fun prizes.
From 1 to 2 p.m., Grandfather Mountain’s naturalists will host a nature program, “Creepy, Crawly Critters,” focusing on creatures of the night, creatures that bite and other “spooky” animals.
At 2 p.m., the raffle winners will be announced, and at 2:15 p.m., participants can parade through the animal habitats, where the keepers will give the animals their special Halloween enrichments.
“It’s a fun and festive way to celebrate the season, for kids and creatures of all ages,” Ruggiero said.
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.