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Written by Steve Frank   
Thursday, 01 September 2011 06:11

GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN, NC - On Saturday, September 10, Grandfather Mountain will offer a fun-filled opportunity for families to enjoy the nature and culture of the North Carolina mountains. Kidfest provides children of all ages with entertaining activities such as guided hikes, storytellers, face painting, crafts and games.

The day kicks off at 9 a.m. with a guided hike at the Woods Walk trail led by Naturalist Katie Gray. Gray will discuss the Mountain’s wild inhabitants and answer questions about their lives and environment.

At 10 a.m. Watauga County Library will lead a story time that focuses on nature, animals and mountain culture. Afterwards, kids can get creative with a nature craft related to the books that were read.

At 10:30 a.m. a Dead Snag Hike will take place at the Woods Walk Trail. Led by one of the Mountain’s interpretive rangers, this hike examines an important and rarely appreciated part of the ecosystem; dead plant matter on the forest floor.

Beginning at 11 a.m. Grandfather Mountain’s Climate Science Workshop will be held beside the Butterfly Garden. Participants will record data about incoming solar radiation, density of particulate matter in the atmosphere, temperature and precipitation. NASA scientists use this data to make comparisons to readings collected in other areas.

A rare chance to see birds of prey up close is scheduled for 11 a.m. in the Nature Museum. Volunteers from the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute bring in live hawks and owls and teach children about the habits, personalities and unique features of each bird that they introduce.

Face painting is offered in the Fudge Shop from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Children are welcome to have their faces decorated to resemble insects, flowers, snakes and furry animals of all kinds.

An interactive Naturalist table will be inside the Nature Museum Lobby from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Kids can stop by to ask questions, touch animal skins and skulls, and possibly meet Calvin the snake. A craft table will be set up from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Mountain culture is a special and very important part of Kidfest. At 1 p.m. storyteller Glenn Bolick keeps kids laughing with exciting and humorous stories of mountain characters and their adventures. Bolick combines his skillful storytelling with his musical talent by incorporating bluegrass instruments into the program. Children and parents alike will thoroughly enjoy his mountain tales.

Members of the Habitat staff will be on hand from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. to talk with guests in the wildlife habitats, answer questions and lead “enrichment” activities for the animals. “Enrichment” is something new or exciting designed to treat the animals and bring them up close for visitors to enjoy.

The day will conclude with a Children’s Nature Game at 3:30 p.m.  Naturalists are scheduled to lead the “Bat vs. Moth” game at the Woods Walk.

The first 250 children ages 4-12 receive an activity packet upon arrival at the park. Packets include Grandfather Mountain coloring books, crayons and special Kidfest buttons.

Grandfather Mountain is a globally recognized nature preserve famous for its 360-degree vistas, native wildlife habitats and Mile High Swinging Bridge. The attraction is located on US Highway 221, two miles north of Linville, NC, and one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305.

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation established to preserve Grandfather Mountain, operate the nature park in the public interest and participate in educational research activities.

For more information phone 800-468-7325 or plan a trip at

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