Grandfather Mountain, the not-for-profit nature park run by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, is hosting its annual Animal Enrichment Day on Aug. 3 and invites guests to come see firsthand how Grandfather Mountain cares for its resident animals. The event, which allows visitors to watch enrichment demonstrations, talk directly with keepers and participate in family-oriented interactive games, is included with admission.
An enrichment is a special treat, new toy or even an unfamiliar scent given to the animals to break up their routines and help keep them active and intellectually stimulated. The day celebrates the park’s furry, feathered and scaled inhabitants with an afternoon of fun and educational activities, specifically highlighting enrichment and its importance in caring for the animals that call Grandfather Mountain home.
The park’s habitat staff is preparing a fun-filled afternoon for guests that will also include a “Test Your Animal Knowledge” contest and drawing for a rare behind-the-scenes animal visit.
“Having this day to showcase not only what enrichment entails, but particularly what it means for the physical and mental well-being of our resident animals, is a great educational opportunity for our visitors,” said Christie Tipton, animal habitats curator with the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. “Of course, it’s also entertaining and offers a glimpse into the animals’ distinct personalities, as well.”
Activities will kick off at 11 a.m. and continue until 3:30 p.m. The full schedule is below.
Animal Enrichment Day Schedule:
- 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Behind-the-Scenes Tour (additional cost, book in advance at the Wilson Center gift shop)
- 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Animal Olympics Game (Pollinator Garden)
- 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Test Your Animal Knowledge Contest – contest drawing at 2:15 p.m. (Wilson Center Lobby)
- 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.: Fun animal-themed games! (Outside the Wilson Center, inside if raining)
- 1 – 1:30 p.m.: Animal Encounter – Come meet a few of the resident animals including snakes and an opossum. (Wilson Center)
- 1 – 2:30 p.m.: Vote for the enrichments that you think the animals would most like to get during the Enrichment Parade starting at 2:45 p.m. at the elk habitat. (Wilson Center)
- 1 – 3 p.m.: Creepy Critter Corner – meet a few of the more “creepy” animals. (Wilson Center)
- 1 – 3 p.m.: Enrichment Table – learn all about enrichment. (Wilson Center)
- 2:15 p.m.: Contest Drawing! Winners will be announced at the Wilson Center. Contest winners get the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes to visit the animal they were knowledgeable about! Winners are allowed to take family members with them. Participants must be present to win. (Wilson Center)
- 2:45 p.m.: Animal Enrichment Parade! Follow Grandfather Mountain staff to the elk, then otter, then cougar and then bear overlooks to watch the special enrichments! (Begins at Elk Habitat)
Can’t come to the event but still want to provide a special treat for Grandfather animals? Those interested in gifting them some of their favorite items can do so by checking out the mountain’s animal enrichment wish list featuring appropriate toys and supplies. Donors can purchase an item online and have it delivered straight to Grandfather Mountain for immediate enjoyment.
Animal lovers can also contribute through the mountain’s Adopt-an-Animal Program. Honorary adopters receive a photo of their animal, certificate of adoption, informational sheet about the animal’s life and more!
To learn more about this year’s Animal Enrichment Day at Grandfather Mountain, which is included with park admission, visit www.grandfather.com/event/animal-enrichment-day. 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.