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Animal birthday party June 16 at Grandfather

Article Published: Jun. 10, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Animal birthday party June 16 at Grandfather

Birthday party attendees make cards for Grandfather's animals. This year's visitors will be able to make cards from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Nature Museum June 16. 

Photo by Kristen Pickeral

On June 16, Grandfather Mountain will host a birthday celebration for all of the animals in the park.

Grandfather's habitat staff has prepared a fun-filled day for guests, as well as programming to honor and treat its furry inhabitants.

"The Animal Birthday Party gives us an opportunity to celebrate all of their birthdays at the same time, because they all deserve a special day," habitats manager Christie Tipton said.

From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., guests can participate in contest drawings in the Nature Museum and make birthday cards for the animals.

A behind-the-scenes tour will provide an opportunity to see the animals in a unique way from 10:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. Grandfather is offering the tour at a special birthday celebration cost of $30 per person. The tour takes participants beyond the overlooks of the animal habitats to see what it takes to care for the animals year-round.

Participants must wear tennis shoes or hiking boots and make a reservation in advance by calling (828) 733-8715 or registering in the Museum Gift Shop on June 16.

At 1 p.m., visitors are invited to play a game of Quick Frozen Critters with the habitat staff in front of the Fudge Shop.

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., free slices of birthday cake will be served in the shop.

At 2:15 p.m., winners of the contest drawings will be announced and prizes will be awarded in the Nature Museum.

Immediately afterwards, guests are invited to the deer, cougar, otter and bear overlooks to watch the animals receive birthday enrichments.

"Enrichment is anything to stimulate the animals and change up their day," habitats assistant manager Tanya Cline said. "It can be a scent, a toy, food or anything new in their habitat. On their birthday, it will be something special that we know they will love."

"We hope everyone brings their families out to enjoy the birthday festivities," Tipton said. "We all love the animals and want to give them a well-deserved special day."

In 1968, Grandfather Mountain began housing bears as a part of a propagation program and received two bears from the Atlanta Zoo. One of the bears refused to revert to the wild because she was imprinted on humans and did not know how to survive in the wilderness. Her name was Mildred, and a permanent home at Grandfather was created for her.

Since Mildred, dozens of bears, cougars, deer, otters and eagles have made their home at Grandfather. The animals that come to the mountain cannot survive on their own in the wild, and many of them are rescues. Grandfather strives to make the habitats as close to the animals' natural environment and also strives to make life in captivity as pleasant as possible.

Grandfather Mountain is located at the intersection of U.S. 221 and the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305. Admission is $15 for adults and $7 for children ages 4-12. There is no extra charge to participate in the animal birthday activities. For more information, visit or contact Grandfather Mountain by phone at (800) 468-7325.

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