The 1952 opening of Grandfather Mountain’s Mile-High Swinging Bridge started the mountain’s evolution to becoming a major vacation destination, and in 1991, the Grandfather Mountain Nature Museum upped the mountain’s appeal as an educational outpost. This year’s grand opening may be the biggest yet.
The Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, linchpin of a new Conservation Campus, doubles the museum’s size and impact with extensive state-of-the-art natural history exhibits sure to engage. The Wilson Center redeems the “campus” moniker with three new classrooms to enhance regular interpretive programming and expand educational outreach to students and school groups. The added space, upgraded technology, improved food service, and renovated ADA-accessible auditorium will improve the mountain’s daily and special events, and set the stage for conferences, speakers, seminars, and community gatherings. The $8 million project also modernizes the museum’s architecture.
The project is more than a major refresh for a mountain long-touted as “Carolina’s Top Scenic Attraction.” The new facility reflects an approach embraced when the once-commercial attraction became the nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. “It’s a dream come true,” says Executive Director Jesse Pope, who launchd Grandfather’s educational effort. Today, that mission inspires visitors with amazing biodiversity thriving in the mountain’s backcountry.
2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646