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Grandfather Mountain, on U.S. 221 near Linville (tel. 828/733-4337; www.grandfather.com), a mile off the Blue Ridge Parkway, is the highest peak in the Blue Ridge. You can see as far as 100 miles from the Mile High Swinging Bridge; the Environmental Habitat is the home of Mildred the Bear and her black-bear friends. In a spacious separate section, you can view native deer, cougars, and bald and golden eagles (which have been injured and cannot live in the wild on their own). Grandfather Mountain is open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas from 8am to 5pm in winter, to 6pm in spring and fall, and to 7pm in summer. Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $6 for children 4 to 12.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.