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LINVILLE — Grandfather Mountain, the nonprofit wildlife park run by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, hosts its annual Animal Enrichment Day from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, inviting guests to come see firsthand how Grandfather Mountain cares for its animals.
The event, which allows visitors to watch enrichment demonstrations, talk directly with goalkeepers and participate in family-oriented interactive games, is included with admission.
An enrichment is a special treat, new toy or even an unfamiliar scent given to the animals to break their routines and keep them active and intellectually stimulated. The day celebrates the park’s furry, feathered, and scaly residents with an afternoon of fun and educational activities, with a particular emphasis on enrichment and its importance in caring for the animals that call Grandfather Mountain home.
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The park’s habitat staff will prepare a fun afternoon for guests, which will also include a “Test Your Animal Knowledge” contest and draw for a rare behind-the-scenes animal visit.
“Having this day to showcase not just what enrichment is all about, but more importantly what it means for the physical and mental wellbeing of our animals is a great educational opportunity for our visitors,” said Christie Tipton, curator of animal habitats at the Grandfather Mountain Foundation Stewardship. “Of course it’s also entertaining and also offers a glimpse into the different personalities of the animals.”
The planned activities are as follows:
- 11 a.m. to noon: Behind-the-scenes tour (additional cost, pre-book at the Wilson Center gift shop) and Animal Olympics Game (Pollinator Garden)
- 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Test Your Animal Knowledge Contest – Drawing Competition at 2:15 p.m. (Wilson Center Lobby)
- 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Fun animal-themed games (outside the Wilson Center, indoors when it rains)
- 1 – 1:30 PM: Animal Encounter – Meet some of the animals present, including snakes and a possum. (Wilson Center)
- 1:30 PM: Vote for the enrichments you think the animals would prefer during the 2:45 PM enrichment parade at the moose habitat. (Wilson Center)
- 1-3pm: Creepy Critter Corner – meet some of the more “creepy” animals. (Wilson Center) and Enrichment Table — learn all about enrichment. (Wilson Center)
- 2:15 PM: Match Draw — Winners will be announced at the Wilson Center. Competition winners get the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes to visit the animal they had knowledge of. Winners may bring family members. Entrants must be present to win. (Wilson Center)
- 2:45 PM: Animal Enrichment Parade – Follow the staff at Grandfather Mountain to the views of moose, otters, cougars and bears to check out the special enrichments. (Starts at Any Habitat)
Can’t make it to the event but still want to give grandpa animals a special treat? Those interested in gifting them some of their favorite items can do so by checking out the mountain’s animal enrichment wishes list of suitable toys and supplies. Donors can purchase an item online and have it delivered directly to Grandfather Mountain for instant enjoyment.
Animal lovers can also contribute through the mountain’s Adopt-an-Animal program. Honorary adopters receive a photo of their animal, certificate of adoption, information sheet about the animal’s life and more.
To learn more about this year’s Animal Enrichment Day on Grandfather Mountain, visit https://bit.ly/3zo68c3.