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Kidfest at Grandfather Mountain Sept. 11

Article Published: Sep. 2, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Kidfest at Grandfather Mountain Sept. 11

Chief naturalist Jesse Pope leads a game outside during Kidfest.  All Kidfest activites on Sept. 11 are included in regular park admission. 

Photo by Helen Moss Hopper

Grandfather Mountain will host the seventh annual Kidfest on Saturday, Sept. 11.

This event is designed to provide kids with their very own day at Grandfather and get them excited about the nature and culture of the North Carolina mountains.

The day will kick off with a guided hike at the Woods Walk trail with naturalist Katie Gray. At 9 a.m., Gray will share some exciting secrets about the inhabitants of the forest at Grandfather Mountain.

At 10 a.m., a guest from the Watauga County Library is scheduled to share interesting stories about nature, animals and mountain culture. Craft time follows with a nature craft relating to the books that were read.

The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute introduces Birds of the Blue Ridge at 11 a.m. The demonstration will be held in the Nature Museum and led by Nina Fischesser. Fischesser teaches children about the personalities and habits of hawks, owls and other feathered creatures of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Face painters will be on hand from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Fudge Shop. In years past, children have gotten their faces adorned with insects, flowers, snakes and furry animals.

Children are invited to make crafts with the Grandfather Mountain naturalists from noon until 2 p.m. in the Nature Museum Lobby. Materials will be on hand to make spiders, butterflies and other critters.

Mountain culture is a special and very important part of Kidfest. At 1 p.m., storyteller Glen Bollick will be on hand to spin his yarns and keep kids laughing with exciting and humorous stories of mountain characters and their adventures. Bollick is also a talented musician and can build and play about any instrument.

"Children and parents alike will thoroughly enjoy his creative way of telling stories with bluegrass instruments," a Grandfather spokesperson said.

Members of the Habitat staff will be on hand from 2 to 3 p.m. to talk with guests in the wildlife habitats and lead "enrichment" activities for the otters, cougars and deer. "Enrichment" is anything new or different to break up the animals' day. This could be a new toy in their habitat or an exciting food for them to enjoy.

The day will conclude with a Children's Nature Program at 3:30 p.m. Grandfather's naturalists are scheduled to lead children in "Quick Frozen Critters" at the Woods Walk trail. "Quick Frozen Critters" is a freeze tag game that explores the relationship between predators and prey.

Keith Mastin of the Western North Carolina Nature Center will be set up in the Nature Museum Lobby from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

"Keith will be a real treat for those attending Kidfest," chief naturalist Jesse Pope said. "He's an expert on animals and will be around to answer any questions folks might have."

Mastin plans to bring a corn snake and a box turtle, along with other animal skulls and a snake skeleton.

The first 275 children ages 4-12 receive an activity packet upon arrival at the park. Packets include a Grandfather Mountain coloring book, crayons and special Kidfest button.

Grandfather Mountain is a scenic travel attraction and nature preserve located near Linville on U.S. 221, one mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305. The Kidfest activities on Sept. 11 are included in the regular park admission. For more information, phone (800) 468-7325 or plan a trip at

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