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Good For Kids

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The park has a small zoo area. People used to be able to feed the animals but no longer.
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Grandfather Mountain Park

2050 Blowing Rock Highway Linville, NC 28646
Hours vary by season, generally 9:00pm-6:00am, longer in summer and fall.
800-468-7325 3 hours
September 2011 Summer, Fall, Spring
$10-29 Linville North Carolina
Website Nature Private Parks
First review
Grandfather Mountain has both a privately managed developed park and a 2,456 acre undeveloped state park. It was once entirely privately owned, but in 2008 a portion was sold to North Carolina to be conserved. The developed attractions include a mile high swinging bridge, animal zoo, nature museum, fudge shop, restaurant, gift shops and hiking trails.

Hugh Morton was primarily responsible for developing Grandfather Mountain. He inherited the property from his family in 1952 and built the main park road, swinging bridge, animal zoo and other attractions. After Morton died in 2006, a nonprofit organization was formed to manage the park. Grandfather Mountain has a rich diversity of life and an incredible 16 different habitats. The mountain name stems from a rock formation that resembles a man's face and beard.

Park attractions can be seen in sequence as you drive up the mountain. There is a short walk, seasonal woodcarving shop and a 640 million year old rock closer to the entrance. The woodcarver was not in, but the walk was shady and pleasant, and the rock made for a good photo. Further up is the nature museum, fudge shop, restaurant and zoo. Of these the fudge shop and zoo ranked highest. The fudge looked oh so tempting, next time will have to indulge. The zoo animals included docile black bears, playful otters and shy deer. The otters were the most enjoyable to watch. A wildlife film at the nature center was so dull that 10 minutes was enough of that. The swinging bridge is the most popular park attraction. The views were good but were slightly diminished by a few housing developments in the distance. Had there been more time a difficult hike at the mountain top looked interesting. Three hours is enough to get a decent perspective, but if you want to take more hikes or stay for lunch, factor in extra time. While the park was enjoyable, nothing here was really exceptional. It will work well though for a family outing. Summer and fall are the busy seasons.
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