Grandfather hosts animal birthday party June 15
Young and old are invited to celebrate the birthdays of Grandfather Mountain's animals June 15.
Guests have the opportunity to join the celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and participate in games, contests, crafts and other special surprises.
"The Animal Birthday Party is a fun day for kids and their families to come celebrate with the animals and experience the wildlife habitats in a unique way," said animal habitats assistant manager Bonnie Clark.
The habitat staff has planned a full day of activities set to take place on the mountain. Children can make a birthday card for the animals, which will later be put on display in the underwater viewing area of the otter habitat. There will be games, prizes and free birthday cake for all who attend.
Grandfather will offer a behind-the-scenes tour from 10:30 a.m. to noon at a special rate of $20 per person. Guests will get to see where the cougars and otters sleep overnight, meet black bears that are not commonly on display, learn the ins and outs of what it takes to care for the animals year-round, observe a training session and learn about why the animals call Grandfather Mountain home.
Participants must wear closed-toe shoes and make a reservation in advance by calling (828) 733-8715 or registering in the museum gift shop on June 15.
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 she became the first of many animals to find a permanent home at Grandfather Mountain.
Many of the animals that are brought to Grandfather are rescues that can no longer survive in the wilderness. The oldest is Morely, the golden eagle. Morely is more than 30 years old and has lived at Grandfather Mountain since 1984. The youngest is otter Luna, who is just one year old and arrived at the mountain in November.
The mountain's wildlife habitats are home to black bears, otters, cougars, deer and a golden eagle.
"Each of the animals will receive a special enrichment during their party," Clark said. "The bears will even have their own birthday cake."
All birthday party events, except the behind-the-scenes tour, are included in regular park admission. A full schedule of the day's activities can be found at http://www.grandfather.com.
Grandfather Mountain is a globally recognized nature preserve famous for its 360-degree vistas, native wildlife habitats and Mile High Swinging Bridge. The attraction is located on U.S. 221, two miles north of Linville and one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305.
The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation established to preserve Grandfather Mountain, operate the nature park in the public interest and participate in educational research activities.
For more information, phone (800) 468-7325 or plan a trip at http://www.grandfather.com.
card_making: Animal Birthday Party attendees make birthday cards for Grandfather Mountain's animals. Each card is displayed in the underwater viewing area of the otter habitat.
Photo by Landis Wofford | Grandfather Mountain
DSC05353: Millie the Bear celebrates Grandfather's Animal Birthday Party with friends. The event on June 15 features games, prizes and free birthday cake.
Photo by Kristen Pickeral | Grandfather Mountain)