Hey, Ashevillians — if you love the outdoors (or have budding nature-lovers in the household), we’ve got you covered for your next summer trip.
Grandfather Mountain (an ~1.5-hour drive from AVL) is widely known for its lofty heights and its breathtaking vantage points of the natural world.Now guests are able to experience and interact with nature in a whole new way with the newly-opened Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, located about halfway up the mountain and adjacent to the Wildlife Habitats.
The center is part of an all-new Conservation Campus that nearly doubles the size of the park’s original Nature Museum, and gives visitors experiential learning opportunities with 3D interactive maps, flora + fauna walls, and engaging museum exhibits covering Grandfather Mountain’s unique history, geology, and weather.
Outside the center, guests can enjoy new outdoor learning spaces, including:
- An amphitheater with terraced seating
- A pavilion
- A new botanical garden
The Wilson Center features 10,000 sqft of education space, including:
- State-of-the-art museum exhibits
- Three classrooms
- Restoration of the ADA-accessible auditorium
- Enhanced food service facilities to allow for catering + serving educational groups
- Expanded capacity for hosting conferences, seminars, receptions and community events
Exhibits to explore
Details on the new exhibits include:
- A 3-D interactive map of the mountain, showcasing Grandfather’s ecological + geological history
- Flora and fauna walls, which spotlight the mountain’s unique biodiversity
- A weather + climate section designed to dynamically explain the science behind Grandfather’s extreme weather
Adjacent to the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, you can visit Grandfather Mountain’s resident animals (think: cougars, black bears + bald eagles) at the Wildlife Habitats, or stop by Split Rock and Sphinx Rock.
Want to make a day of it? Take a break for lunch at Mildred’s Grill, drive to the summit to see the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge, or find souvenirs, outdoor gear + art in the gift shop. Start planning your visit and view hours, online reservations + ticketing information.*