Grandfather Dollar Days return

Grandfather Mountain’s resident black bears emerge from their dens after a long winter’s sleep, just in time for the park’s annual Dollar Days promotion in April.

LINVILLE — Grandfather Mountain will open its gates to High Country residents, employees and their guests for only $3 each April 1 to 23, as the park’s “Dollar Days” promotion returns in time for spring.

The promotion allows anyone who lives or works in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga or Wilkes counties — along with their guests traveling in the same vehicle — to visit at the discounted rate. Students attending a local college or university are also eligible for the discount.

Due to COVID-19, however, Dollar Days guests must book their visit online at To take advantage of the reduced rate, guests must choose the Dollar Days admission rate when reserving their visit.

Upon arrival to the Grandfather entrance gate, Dollar Days ticket holders must present a valid driver’s license, college ID or local utility bill as proof of High Country residency. An employee identification badge or pay stub can be used to demonstrate employment at a High Country business.

Being that the special rate applies to all guests traveling in the same vehicle, only one Dollar Days ticket holder must present verification of local residence or employment. If the ticket holder does not display proof of local residency or employment, they and their party will be charged the full rate of admission.

The Dollar Days rate cannot be combined with other discounts or offers. Due to state occupancy restrictions during COVID-19, only a limited number of Dollar Days passes will be available each day, in addition to general admission tickets.

“We’re excited to bring Dollar Days back for 2021,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Linville nature park. “And this is always an incredible time of year, as the mountain springs to life with warm weather, friendly faces and new activities.”

Discounted admission aside, April offers mountains of activities on Grandfather, including the return of animal encounters and other nature programs.

Nature Programs

April is an ideal time to visit Grandfather Mountain, as the park’s flora and fauna become energized with the initial signs of warmer weather.

Starting April 1, the park’s educational staff will begin habitat animal interpretive talks, also known as animal encounters.

During these brief but informative sessions, guests can talk with staff members about the habitat animals — black bears, cougars, river otters, bald eagles and elk — and watch them receive an enrichment. Enrichments are special treats, new toys or unfamiliar scents designed to break up the animals’ routines and help keep them active and intellectually stimulated.

April 1 also sees the return of Peaks and Profiles interpretive talks near the Mile High Swinging Bridge, along with Junior Ranger programs for kids at the Butterfly Garden.

Guests may view the day’s schedule at the park’s nature museum. All such programming is included in the price of admission and does not require registration.


Grandfather Mountain is currently offering extended spring hours, meaning the park will be open daily, weather permitting, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with ticket sales ending at 4:30 p.m.

Summer hours begin May 22, during which the park will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with ticket sales ending at 5:30 p.m.

The nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325, or click to to book a trip.

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