North Carolina Nature September 12, 2017
This Unique Event Lets You Visit Grandfather Mountain After Dark
While many of us will never get to see Grandfather Mountain after the sun sets and stars come out, Creatures of the Night & Bonfire Delight presents a whole new world where owls hoot and hunt on the mountaintop and plenty of stories are shared around a roaring fire. The event is perfect for curious young explorers wanting to learn a bit more about Grandfather’s animals and their nightly routines while also getting a thrill from the adventure.
The event starts at 6 p.m. September 30th with a trek up Grandfather Mountain VIA shuttle. Once at the top, Grandfather Mountain staff will give an educational, after hours moonlit tour of wildlife habitats. While many know of Grandfather's resident black bears, eagles, otters and Herbie the Screech Owl; many don't know of their habits and activities come nightfall. In a press release, Jenny Condron, habitat keeper at Grandfather said,
"It’s a whole different way to experience the animals. When you see them in the daytime, it’s all just a visual experience. But at night, you hear their unique noises and rustling around way before you actually see them, and it can be quite exciting and eerie."
Monty Combs VIA VIA Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
There's also the "Owl Prowl" which takes guests on a journey in search of the mysterious, sometimes elusive owls that call Grandfather home. There's also an attempt to communicate with the owls through playback of recorded owl calls. Things sure get 'hootie' as last year, the owls "talked back."
"On our last Owl Prowl, the barred owls were very, very responsive, talking back a lot," chief habitats curator Christie Tipton said. "By the time we take the last tour, it’s pitch black, and you can’t see anything. Although the owls can see you." You'll also get a special, guest appearance from Herbie.
Sure, getting a rare chance to witness Grandfather's resident animals, both land and sky dwellers, is incredible...but there's also s'mores, hot cider and cocoa, as well as plenty of spooky stories told round the campfire. The event is BYOS (bring your own s'mores) with roasting sticks and beverages provided. This rare opportunity is perfect for those who love animals and learning about their habitats. It's also only $20/person (age is 8+ to attend). Visitors are encouraged to wear warm clothes and bring blankets and flashlights.
Many of us will never get the opportunity to see Grandfather after dark, until now. "Creatures of the Night" sheds a whole new light on just how special and unique Grandfather Mountain is as well as the animals and natural habitats of the surrounding Blue Ridge mountains.
"Creatures of the Night is an amazing opportunity to see the new world that is Grandfather Mountain after the sun goes down," Tipton said. "The mountain comes alive with inhabitants not seen during daylight hours, and experiencing the majesty of this in complete darkness, with no outside lights, is an awe-inspiring experience."
What a cool event! If you have a young explorer or animal-lover in mind, this seems like such a memorable experience. Have you ever visited Grandfather after dark?
For another event experienced best beneath the blanket of night,
this Chinese Lantern Festival is incredible!
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