LINVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — You’re invited to Grandfather Mountain’s annual birthday bash on June 8 for all resident animals of the nature park.

The celebration will feature games, contests, crafts and surprises and is included with admission, according to a statement released by Grandfather Mountain on Friday.

Millie the Bear, the mountain’s mascot, will also make special appearances.

“Our animal residents are truly members of the family here,” said Christie Tipton, animal habitats curator with the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. “They bring us and our visitors so much joy. Having this extra-special day in their honor is just one way we can return the favor. It really is a rewarding experience for all.”

Activities begin at 11 a.m. and continue until 3:30 p.m. The full schedule is below:

  • 1 a.m.  2 p.m.: Test Your Animal Knowledge Contest – contest drawing at 2:15 p.m. (Nature Museum Lobby)
  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.: Make a birthday card for the animals (Nature Museum Lobby)
  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.: Come play some fun animal games (outside the Nature Museum; inside if raining)
  • 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Behind-the-Scenes Tour (additional charge; you’re asked to book in advance; read more here)
  • 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.: A Walk in the Woods Game – learn about nature through an interactive game (Nature Museum)
  • 1 – 2:30 p.m.: Vote for the enrichments that you think the animals would most like to get during the enrichment parade starting at 2:45 p.m. at the elk habitat (Nature Museum Lobby)
  • 1 – 3 p.m.: Creepy Critter Corner – meet a few of the more “creepy” animals (Nature Museum Lobby)
  • 1 – 3 p.m.: Birthday Cake – visit Mildred’s Grill for a free slice
  • 1 – 1:30 p.m.: Animal Encounter – meet a few of the resident animals including snakes and an opossum (Nature Museum Lobby)
  • 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.: Animal Olympics Game (Pollinator Garden)
  • 2:15 p.m.: Contest Drawing. Winners will be announced at the Nature Museum Lobby. Contest winners get the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes to visit the animal you were knowledgeable about. Winners are allowed to take family members with them. Participants must be present to win.
  • 2:45 p.m.: Animal Enrichment Parade. Follow the staff to the elk, otter, cougar and bear overlooks to watch the special birthday enrichments

Anyone who wants to get the animals birthday presents can choose a gift from the mountain’s animal enrichment wish list. Donors can buy an item online and have it delivered straight to Grandfather Mountain.

Animal lovers can also contribute through the mountain’s Adopt-an-Animal Program. Honorary adopters receive a photo of their animal, certificate of adoption and informational sheet about the animal’s life.

To learn more about this year’s animal birthday party at Grandfather Mountain, click here.