LINVILLE — With a mission to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain, the nonprofit nature park and its staff are readying for an eventful year.

“2020 is going to be a remarkable year on Grandfather Mountain,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the park. “Our schedule is packed with special events that bridge education with outdoor fun, while allowing us to share the wonders of Grandfather Mountain with guests of all ages.”

With a few exceptions where noted, most special events are included with park admission. The schedule is subject to change and additional events will be announced and posted on www.grandfather.com.

Nature Photography Weekend — May 29-31

Visit Grandfather Mountain to attend presentations from top nature photographers, while photographing spectacular scenery and native animals before and after regular business hours. Additional cost. Online registration begins April 1 at grandfather.com.

The Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble — 2 p.m. on May 30-June 7

From May 30 to June 7, a series of 20-minute walks will highlight Grandfather Mountain’s rhododendron species and blooms.

Animal Birthday Party — June 10

Grandfather Mountain celebrates the birthdays of all the animals in its environmental habitats with games, contests, crafts and surprises. The mountain’s habitat staff will host a fun-filled day for guests, as well as programs to celebrate the park’s furry and feathered inhabitants from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

65th Grandfather Mountain Highland Games — July 9-12

Blaring bagpipes, Scottish athletics, Highland melodies, Celtic cuisine, crafts aplenty and a spectacular highland setting make this colorful celebration of Scottish culture one of the most highly acclaimed games in the country. Additional cost. For more information, visit www.gmhg.org, or contact the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games office at 828-733-1333 or gmhginfo@yahoo.com.

Animal Enrichment Day —Aug. 12

Enrichment is an integral part of how the mountain cares for its habitat animals every day. An enrichment is a special treat, new toy or even an unfamiliar scent given to the animals to break up their routines and help keep them active and intellectually stimulated. Visitors can enjoy watching enrichment demonstrations, talk directly with keepers and participate in family-oriented games and crafts from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Grandfather Mountain Amateur & Professional Camera Clinic — Aug. 15-16

Top photographers gather at Grandfather Mountain to present on the nuts and bolts of making good photographs. This event is free to working members of the press, with an additional cost for non-press professionals and amateurs. Online registration begins July 15 at grandfather.com.

Junior Ranger Day — Sept. 12

Grandfather Mountain’s Junior Ranger Day will celebrate the park’s Junior Ranger program and its esteemed participants. Programs throughout the day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. will be provided specifically for children ages 5-12 to explore their environment and experience all that Grandfather has to offer.

50th Annual Girl Scout Day — Sept. 26

Girl Scouts are invited to join the park’s naturalists for a learning adventure on Grandfather Mountain. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., participants can enjoy special scout activities, presentations and a closing ceremony. Plus, all Girl Scouts and troop leaders are admitted free with proof of membership, and family members will receive discounted admission.

HawkWatch — all September

All throughout September, guests are invited to join the mountain’s naturalists as they count and celebrate the annual spectacle of the fall raptor migration. Participants can meet daily across the Mile High Swinging Bridge on Linville Peak, weather permitting.

Creatures of the Night and Bonfire Delight — Oct. 3, 6 to 9:30 p.m.

As night falls on Grandfather Mountain, guests can enjoy rare after-dark tours, fireside tales and a chance to meet the park’s nocturnal residents from 6-9:30 p.m. The program includes additional costs and is limited to 48 participants. Registration opens Aug. 24. at grandfather.com.

The Fall Color Ramble — Oct. 3-11

From Oct. 3-11, guests can enjoy 20-minute guided walks that highlight Grandfather Mountain’s fall colors. The walks start at 2 p.m.

Beary Scary Halloween — Oct. 31

Visit Grandfather Mountain for a day of nature programs about animals considered creepy and crawly. This festive celebration includes an opportunity to create special Halloween enrichments for the animals and then trick-or-treat through the animal habitats area from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Plus, children in costume are admitted at half-price.

Grandfather Mountain will add additional events to its lineup throughout the year, including the Grandfather Presents summer evening lecture series, adult field courses, daily programs, night hikes and more. To learn more, visit www.grandfather.com, email events@grandfather.com, or call (828) 733-2013.

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