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Holidays bring discounts, shopping to nature park
Grandfather Mountain
Winter Wonderland

Holidays bring discounts, shopping to nature park

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With winter on the way, Grandfather Mountain is decking its halls and hills for the holidays.

Visitors are invited to celebrate the season from a mile high, where they’ll encounter idyllic winter scenery, invigorating outdoor adventure and more at the Linville nature park.

On Tuesday, Nov. 24, the park officially rang in the holiday season with a special delivery — a 12-foot Fraser fir Christmas tree, donated by Larry Smith of Mountain Top Fraser Fir in Avery County.

In previous years, Smith has provided Christmas trees for the state Capitol in Raleigh, the U.S. Naval Observatory (the residence of the U.S. vice president), the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and the White House.

Donating a tree to Grandfather Mountain, however, is a literal high point in Smith’s career.

“People come from all over the world to see Grandfather Mountain,” he said. “And, of course, this tree is from Avery County. We don’t want a tree from outside Avery County to go up on Grandfather Mountain.”

Although this particular tree is on display in the Grandfather’s Nature Museum, Fraser firs can be found in the mountain’s more natural surroundings.

“The Fraser fir is basically the Cadillac of Christmas trees,” Smith said. “There’s only a few mountaintops in the world they’re native to, and Grandfather Mountain is one of them.”

Although Grandfather Mountain’s official tree is now on display, guests are welcome to bring their own — to enjoy a festive discount on park admission during the holiday season. As a gesture of support for local Christmas tree farmers, anyone who arrives at the mountain with a tree atop their vehicle or a receipt from a local tree farm will receive $2 off each adult admission and $1 off each child admission.

Located in the Nature Museum and Top Shop, Grandfather Mountain’s gift shops carry a variety of artisan crafts and goods, as well as signature Grandfather Mountain souvenirs, from apparel to hiking gear to drinkware and all things in between. The shops, along with the mountain’s Entrance Gate, also offer Grandfather Mountain gift cards, which are applicable toward admission, souvenirs, food, fudge and more.

Adopt an animal

Looking for a gift that’s warm and fuzzy? While Grandfather Mountain’s resident animals are not for sale, the Adopt-an-Animal program is the next best thing. The program allows participants to symbolically adopt any of Grandfather Mountain’s furry or feathered residents, including black bears, river otters, cougars, bald eagles, elk and more. By adopting an animal, individually or on behalf of a friend, family member or loved one, the sponsor will receive a special gift package. Gifts vary, depending on the donation level, and can include photographs, plush toys, plaster footprint castings, day passes and more. Visit https://bit.ly/gfm-adopt to learn more.

Make our animals’ season merry and bright by treating them to gift items and enrichment treats. To see what the animals are wanting this holiday season, visit their Amazon.com wish list at https://bit.ly/gfm-wishlist. For more information, email habitats@grandfather.com.

Treat your favorite animal lover to an up-close-and-personal experience with Grandfather’s resident animals. Hosted by Grandfather’s knowledgeable and experienced keepers, Behind-the-scenes tours show guests where the park’s resident animals sleep overnight, while sharing the ins and outs of what it takes to care for the animals year-round. To reserve a tour, email habitats@grandfather.com.

Think the views are sweet? Try the Grandfather Mountain Fudge Shop. The park’s sustainably operated fudge shop boasts a colorful variety of homemade, delectable and seasonal flavors. Best of all, it’s only a phone call or email away. To place an order for pick-up or home delivery, call 828-733-6518 or 828-733-1058, or email fudgeshop@grandfather.com.

For a gift that keeps on giving, shoppers can purchase an annual membership to Grandfather Mountain’s Bridge Club. Bridge Club membership offers unlimited, free admission to Grandfather Mountain for a year, exclusive discounts on and off the mountain, invitations to special member programs, a Bridge Club car decal and more. Group passes are also available. To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/gfmbridgeclub.

Park's ownership

Grandfather Mountain is owned and operated by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. All of the park’s funding is derived from admission, souvenir sales, food and beverage sales and donations, 100% of which goes right back into the mountain, ensuring its pristine beauty is preserved for generations to come.

The foundation’s Fulfilling Promises campaign is underway, and funds raised through donations will help create a new Conservation Campus to share the wonders of Grandfather to more visitors more broadly and deeply than ever before. Through these new facilities, which will nearly double the size of the park’s current nature museum, guests will gain an even greater appreciation of nature and become even more passionate about protecting and preserving it. Charitable giving also benefits the park’s many educational programs and initiatives, such as the Field Trip Scholarship Fund in Memory of Nathan Pribble, which helps groups from underfunded schools come to Grandfather Mountain’s “classroom in the clouds.” Those hoping to contribute in their or someone else’s name may do so by visiting www.grandfather.com/donate, which allows them to sponsor a particular project, such as the Fulfilling Promises campaign, or donate to a cause of their choosing.

Grandfather Mountain is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day in winter, weather permitting, except Thanksgiving and Christmas. During times of inclement weather, park opening is delayed until all roads and paths can be cleared of snow and ice. As such, those planning a trip are encouraged to contact the park’s entrance gate before visiting to confirm the day’s conditions. Due to COVID-19, the park is also requiring guests to book their visit online at www.grandfather.com. To learn more about Grandfather Mountain’s COVID-19 operating procedures, visit www.grandfather.com/covid-19-update.

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