Oct. 22, 2012. Whether it’s the opportunity to see wildlife in the snow or the chance to enjoy endless vistas cleared out by winter’s chill, Grandfather Mountain’s “secret season” pass is a treat for those who live and work in surrounding areas. The pass, good Nov. 1 through April 30, is a very affordable way to experience the Mountain without the crush of summer crowds.
Passes are $32 for an adult, which means the pass holder can visit every day for six months at a price less than the cost of two adult tickets. An individual child’s pass, for those ages four to twelve years old, is $18 each. The group pass (good for six people traveling in the same vehicle) sells for $90 and pays for itself on the first visit.
The term “secret season” refers to the winter months when traffic at Grandfather Mountain slows down. Secret Season pass holders are rewarded not only with the sensation of being on top of the world, but also with the sensation of having it all to themselves. It is a time that employees cherish because of the crystal blue skies, endless vistas, abundance of wildlife, and on occasion, the breathtaking sight of the mountains covered in snow.
No matter how hectic things might be at the office, watching the birds on the feeders outside the windows of Grandfather’s Nature Museum restaurant is always a rejuvenating time out. The restaurant is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., serving homemade vegetable soup, chili, salads and sandwiches. Many local businessmen and women have discovered that Grandfather Mountain’s restaurant is a unique setting to take associates for lunch, while others stop in regularly for breakfast on their way to work. The private dining room is also available for meetings.
Another great opportunity while visiting the park during the winter is to visit the Mountain’s gift shops. Many holiday presents for all age ranges can be found among the dozens of memorable items and collectibles stocked in the gift shops especially for the winter months.
Grandfather Mountain is a magical place when rime ice covers the peaks. Opening is delayed until all roads and paths can be cleared of snow and ice, but a phone call to the entrance at 828-733-4337 can confirm the day’s conditions and set the stage for a memorable outing for the entire family.
Secret Season passes go on sale Nov. 1 at the Grandfather Mountain entrance gate. Winter hours, weather permitting, are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas day.