Monday, April 19, 2010

Habitat tours available at Grandfather Mountain

Beginning this Saturday, April 24, the general public will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes of Grandfather Mountain’s Animal Habitats. Two new exciting programs are being offered in the wildlife habitats: "Behind the Scenes" habitat tours and "Keeper for a Day" outings.

Behind the Scenes habitat tours give the public an opportunity to see where the animals sleep, learn about what it takes to care for the animals year-round, observe a training session, and learn why the animals call Grandfather Mountain their home. The Mountain’s knowledgeable and experienced keepers will gladly answer any questions as they guide participants on their tour.

Each tour takes approximately one hour and 30 minutes. Participants must be able to walk up and down steep terrain, wear closed toe hiking or work boots, dress in layers and be willing to sign a waiver of liability.

The cost for the Behind the Scenes habitat tour is $75 per participant ($50 each for annual pass holders). To schedule an available tour date you must book 48 hours in advance and dates can be found under the “Wildlife Habitats” tab on

In addition to Behind the Scenes habitat tours, guests may choose to learn what it takes to care for the animals by becoming a “Keeper For a Day.” Keepers for a Day will shadow the habitat staff, interact with the animals, help with the cleaning and feeding, and assist with enrichment activities for the animals. Participants must be 12-years-old or older, capable of walking up and down steep, rough terrain and must be willing to sign a waiver of liability. Lunch with the Habitat staff is included and each participant will be given a work shirt.

The “Keeper For a Day” outing must be booked one week in advance by sending an e-mail to Please allow 24 hours for a response. The cost is $200 per participant ($150 each for annual pass holders) with park admission and lunch included. This program will be offered April 20 and the second Tuesday of each month May through October. For more information please call the Grandfather Mountain Habitat Office at 828-733-8715.

Grandfather Mountain is a 600-acre scenic attraction and nature preserve located near Linville, NC on US Highway 221, one mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305. For more information on these programs, please click here.

For information on hiking at Grandfather Mountain State Park, please click here.

Jeff Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.

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