GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN — Grandfather Mountain celebrated the birthdays of its resident animals with a party that offered fun and education to guests.

On June 8 Grandfather Mountain Staff hosted games, contests, crafts and a parade for guests to enjoy included with admission cost.

Animal trivia, birthday card making, educational games, encounters with insects and snakes and a birthday parade took place in the Nature Museum, Pollinator Garden and the animal exhibits. The swinging bride, hiking trails, animal viewing areas and the museum were open as normal in addition the special celebration.

Trivia participants were entered in a raffle with winners and their family receiving a behind-the-scenes tour of the exhibit of the animal they correctly answered a question about.

To end the event, staff led visitors from exhibit to exhibit to offer the animals enrichments. Earlier in the day guests were encouraged to vote for which enrichments they would like each animal to receive. Staff decided to give each group of animals all appropriate enrichments.

“We give our animals enrichments in addition to their needs to keep them entertained and happy, so of course we need to give them some extra enrichments on the day of their birthday celebration,” said staff member Amber Shelton. “The animals will come in for their enrichments and everyone can get a really cool look at them and see them do some fun behaviors for their favorite food and toys.”

The parade began with the elk who received bananas, balls and food. Next were the otters who raced through the water to catch fish before bringing them on to rocks to eat. The cougars then received food, toilet paper — which they enjoy playing with — and other toys. The parade ended with the bears who ate birthday cake made of their favorite foods.

For more information on Grandfather Mountain and its resident animals, visit www.grandfather.com.

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