Asheville is a wonderful city for families of all kinds. Whether you’re looking for an ice cream gathering or an outdoor excursion, Asheville.com is your guide to all family friendly events.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Membership swap program with the WNC Nature Center
Apr 23 – Apr 30 all-day
Asheville Art Museum

April 1—30, 2024

Get ready to embark on an exciting journey this April with our exclusive Membership swap program in collaboration with the WNC Nature Center! As valued Members of the Asheville Art Museum, we’re thrilled to offer you complimentary daily admission to the WNC Nature Center throughout the month of April for up to 2 adults and 4 children—immerse yourself in art and nature at your leisure!

Here are the details:

  • Enjoy free daily admission for the number of individuals covered by your Membership, up to 2 adults and 4 children.
  • Please note that this offer excludes special events and education programs.
  • To gain admission, simply present your valid Membership card along with a valid ID.

But wait, there’s more! As part of this special partnership, Asheville Art Museum Members who decide to join the WNC Nature Center in April will receive an exclusive 10% discount on an Individual, Dual, Family, or FamilyPLUS 1-year Membership.  Memberships must be purchased in person at the WNC Nature Center.

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to explore both art and nature with ease. Mark your calendars and make the most of your Membership benefits this April!

Mile High Swinging Bridge
Apr 23 all-day
Grandfather Mountain

One of the top highlights and memories of visits to Grandfather Mountain nature park is walking across the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge. Since 1952, visitors have “oohed” and “aahed” at the bridge’s 360-degree panoramic views. America’s highest suspension footbridge gives easy access to the spectacular views atop Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak, elevation 5,305 feet.

The 228-foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation (hence the name!). To reach the Mile High Swinging Bridge, drive the two-mile, winding scenic road up the mountain to the summit parking area by the Top Shop. Climb 50 stairs adjacent to the parking area or inside the Top Shop to reach the short pathway to the bridge. Also, an elevator in the Top Shop takes you to the third floor for a level walk to the bridge.

Top Shop

Located adjacent to the Bridge, the Top Shop features a gift shop, snacks, restrooms, elevator and second-floor exhibition area. Also get the latest park information and trail maps. Read more.

Accessibility

Inside the Top Shop, an elevator makes the Mile High Swinging Bridge accessible to people with mobility challenges, including those in wheelchairs. From the Top Shop, there is a paved 50-yard path to the bridge. Read more about our accessibility.

Tickets & Hours

Walking across the Mile High Swinging Bridge is included in your Grandfather Mountain admission ticket that includes many other things to do in our nature park. Buy tickets online and book a reservation time to enter the park. You do not need a separate reservation for the bridge. It’s open, weather permitting, every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. See hours.

More to Explore

Before or after visiting the Mile High Swinging Bridge, allow time to enjoy other parts of the mountain: wildlife habitats, Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, restaurant, hiking trails, roadside overlooks, picnic areas and more. See more Things to Do.

Nearby Hiking Trails

Trailheads to many of the Grandfather Mountain hiking trails are located near the Swinging Bridge. In fact, the 0.4 mile Bridge Trail takes you beneath the bridge, starting from the Black Rock parking area just below the summit. For details on our nearby trails, go to our Hiking Guide.

Bridge Tips & Tidbits

  • Does it really swing? Very little — unlike the original one. Today’s bridge is made of steel and reinforced with cables and springs. It has railings on the sides to ensure safety.
  • We suggest you wear rubber-soled shoes and walk with care when crossing the rocks on the far side of the bridge.
  • If heights give you pause, you can still enjoy Blue Ridge Mountain views from the ground before you reach the bridge and even from the parking area.
  • Due to periodic extreme weather conditions at the bridge, it closes when there is area lightning, high wind or icy conditions.
  • The official U.S. Weather Service Reporting Station atop the Mile High Swinging Bridge has provided daily weather observations since 1955. The temperature is usually 10 to 20 degrees cooler than in the flatlands you see below. It’s also one of the windiest locations in North Carolina, with a 124-mph record set in winter 2019. Learn more about our weather.
  • Pets are allowed on the bridge if well behaved and on a leash.
  • Photographs and videos to remember your visit are encouraged. Be mindful of sharp drop-offs along the Linville Peak ridge. Drones are not allowed. See our photography policies.
  • The Singing Bridge? When the wind blows, the Mile High Swinging Bridge “sings” in the same way as a harmonica.
  • In April through October, join Grandfather’s expert naturalists by the Bridge for Interpretive Talks about the our unique weather, climate, flora and fauna. Read more.
  • Need driving directions? The address for Grandfather Mountain’s entrance gate is 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646 (click link for Google Maps). There are no shuttles, so you must have your own vehicle to explore our nature park. No RVs longer than 28 feet in length or hinged vehicles are allowed through the Entrance Gate. See detailed directions.
  • To see much more info, see our Plan Your Visit section.

Mile High Swinging Bridge History

Former North Carolina Tourism Director Charles J. Parker coined the name “Mile High Swinging Bridge” at the Bridge’s dedication in 1952. The term “mile high” refers to the structure’s elevation above sea level (5,280 feet). The term “swinging” refers to the fact that suspension bridges are free to sway.

The original 1952 bridge was designed by Charles Hartmann Jr. of Greensboro, N.C. It was fabricated in Greensboro and then reassembled on top of the Mountain. Erecting the bridge took three weeks, a process slowed by inclement weather created by a hurricane off the North Carolina coast. Cost was $15,000. It was dedicated on Sept. 2, 1952 by North Carolina Gov. William B. Umstead.

The bridge was rebuilt in 1999 using the original towers. The cables, floor boards and side rails were all replaced using galvanized steel. One of the main advantages of the modern building materials is that they do not have to be painted. Now, Grandfather Mountain employees will not have to hang out over the gorge to paint the span. It was redesigned by Sutton, Kennerly & Associates Engineering of Asheville, N.C., and rebuilt by Taylor & Murphy Construction Company of Asheville. The cost of rebuilding was $300,000.

NC Arboretum Hiking Trails
Apr 23 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
NC Arboretum

Located within the wildly-popular and botanically beautiful Southern Appalachian Mountains, The North Carolina Arboretum offers more than 10 miles of hiking trails that connect to many other area attractions such as Lake Powhatan, the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy their hiking experience at the Arboretum as trail options include easy, moderate, and difficult challenge levels. All trails are dog-friendly and visitors are asked to adhere to the proper waste disposing procedures for pets.

Part of a running group that would like to use the Arboretum as a starting point or parking location? Please review our Running Group Guidance and email [email protected] with any questions.

Tuckasegee River Excursion
Apr 23 @ 10:30 am – 3:00 pm
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

TAKE A TRAIN RIDE ALONG SIDE THE BEAUTIFUL NANTAHALA RIVER ON OUR NANTAHALA GORGE EXCURSION! DEPARTING FROM BRYSON CITY, THIS 4½ HOUR ROUNDTRIP EXCURSION CARRIES YOU 44 MILES TO THE NANTAHALA GORGE AND BACK AGAIN ARRIVING AT OUR BRYSON CITY DEPOT.

Ride this excursion via Steam or Diesel locomotive power!

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Great Smoky Mountains while traveling along the Tennessee and Nantahala (nan-tuh-HAY-luh) River. The historic trellis bridge Fontana Trestle takes you across Fontana Lake and into the beautiful Nantahala Gorge. Onboard dining is available in First Class Seating and selecting from our First Class dining menu options OR you can pre-purchase a box lunch option to make this an amazing unique moving dining experience. Arrive at our layover destination in the heart of the Nantahala Gorge for a one-hour layover where you can relax by the river or enjoy sightseeing!

Itinerary

30m before departure Boarding begins at Bryson City Depot
See schedule for departure time Depart Bryson City, NC
1h 45m Reach top of the line
2h 00m Begin return
2h 30m—3h 30m Layover
3h 30m Depart Layover
4h 30m Arrive at Bryson City Depot
Time from Departure Activity
Earth Day Celebration: Make Newspaper Pots and Plant A Seed
Apr 23 @ 3:00 pm – 4:15 pm
North Asheville Library
Family Fun, STEM/STEAM
Age Group School Age – (grades K-5), Teen – (grades 6-12)
Baby Story Time
Apr 23 @ 3:30 pm – 4:15 pm
Weaverville Public Library

Join us for a lively language enrichment story time designed for children ages 4 to 18 months.

Scribblers Studio: Writing Lab for Tweens
Apr 23 @ 4:15 pm – May 23 @ 5:30 pm
Story Parlor

Led by a certified Inward & Artward Creative Facilitator, Tikva Kingrea, this 6-week series workshop gives space for young folks’ imaginations to run wild, turning anything and everything into an opportunity for storytelling! Students ages 11-14 will dive into their own worlds, build their own imaginations, and creating their own stories through a smorgasbord of storytelling forms. In this class, we’re putting creative power back in the hands of the budding creative both individually and as a group. What kind of wildernesses can we construct and discover?

At the end of the day, we’re exploring various forms of writing, infusing imagination into our stories, and we’re building trust and confidence in young creatives. No homework necessary!

WNC Scale Model Club
Apr 23 @ 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
North Asheville Library

The Western North Carolina Scale Model Club is a non-profit group for static (non-RC) model builders to present their models and share tips and tricks in a laid back atmosphere.  Bring your latest finished piece or your work in progress.  All skill levels are welcome!  Due to the fragile nature of these models this program is designed for ages 12 and up.

Youth Spoken Word performance w/ Dasan Ahanu
Apr 23 @ 5:30 pm
Atelier Maison & Co.

Congratulations to our Youth Spoken Word Contest winners:

✨ Eva S. — 11th grade at Carolina Day

✨ Tesslyn H. — 8th grade at IC Imagine Public Charter School

✨ Gabriella B. — 11th grade at School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville (SILSA)

✨ Lily A. — 9th grade at Madison Early College High School

Come experience these talented students perform with artist Dasan AhanuTuesday, April 23 at 5:30 p.m. at Atelier Maison’s showroom. Admission is free; RSVP required. Drinks and light appetizers will be provided.

RSVP to [email protected].

Event location:

Atelier Maison Showroom

121 Sweeten Creek Road, Ste. 50

Asheville, NC 28803

About Dasan Ahanu: Christopher Massenburg, better known as Dasan Ahanu, is a public speaker, organizer, curator, educator, poet, spoken word artist, songwriter, emcee, and loyal hip-hop head born and raised in Raleigh, NC.

Sponsored by Atelier Maison.

Crafting with Cricut
Apr 23 @ 6:00 pm – May 8 @ 8:00 pm
Stephens-Lee Community Center

Make a new craft each month using your Cricut!
$20 per session, pay instructor at each class
For more information, call 828-350-2058 or email [email protected]

Cricut Kickstart Workshop
Session A: January 10, advance registration at AVLREC.com required by January 3
Session B: April 10, advance registration at AVLREC.com required by April 3
Get your feet wet in the world of all things Cricut as we chat about different machines and their best uses, and tackle the basics of the software, with lots of time for questions. You’ll create your own vinyl design to transfer on to a provided coffee mug.

Valentine’s Day Cards
February 7, advance registration at AVLREC.com required by January 31
Learn how to use your Cricut to make personalized cards. Even if you’re new, you’ll leave with an awesome card in hand.

Easter Banners
March 6, advance registration at AVLREC.com required by February 28
Dive into crafting a cute seasonal banner using the trusty Cricut, twine, and good ol’ clothing pins. We’ll cut out sweet egg shapes and string them up with twine, giving you the perfect excuse to showcase your handmade charm.

Crafting in Progress Sign
May 8, advance registration at AVLREC.com required by May 1
Craft a personalized sign proudly declaring that you’re “Crafting in Progress!” A cute loading bar adds a touch of whimsy as a fun nod to the crafting journey.

Peter Pan
Apr 23 @ 7:30 pm
Peace Concert Hall

This high-flying musical has been thrilling audiences of all ages for close to 70 years and is now being brought back to life in a new adaptation by celebrated playwright Larissa FastHorse, directed by Emmy Award-winner Lonny Price and choreography by Lorin Latarro. The adventure begins when PETER PAN and his mischievous fairy sidekick, Tinker Bell, visit the bedroom of the Darling children late one night. With a sprinkle of pixie dust and a few happy thoughts, the children are taken on a magical journey they will never forget. This extraordinary musical full of excitement and adventure features iconic and timeless songs including “I’m Flying”“I Gotta Crow”“I Won’t Grow Up” and “Neverland”PETER PANembraces the child in us all so go on a journey from the second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning – your entire family will be Hooked!

Peter Pan‘s run time is 2 hours including intermission.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Asheville Performing Arts Academy Summer Musical Theatre Camps: Registration Open
Apr 24 all-day
Asheville Performing Arts Academy

We’re offering TWO grade levels this summer for our workshops:

  • Younger Ages (Rising 1st – 3rd Grade)
  • Older Ages (Rising 4th – 10th Grade)

Camps run Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm

Finding Nemo Workshop

June 17-21, 2024

July 8-12, 2024

July 29- Aug 2, 2024

Moana Workshop

June 24-28, 2024

July 15-19, 2024

August 5-9, 2024

Pirate Palooza Workshop

July 1-5, 2024

The Little Mermaid Workshop

July 22-26, 2024

Our Musical Theatre Workshop camps center around favorite stage musicals, where students will learn musical numbers and perform a shortened production at the end of each week. Campers will not only perform in many dance numbers and scenes but will work on the technical aspects that all productions need, like sets, props, and costumes.

LEAF SUMMER CAMPS registration open
Apr 24 all-day
LEAF Global Arts

LEAF Schools & Streets invites your students to join us at LEAF Global Arts for summer camps, which run June 17-August 23 at 19 Eagle Street downtown. Registration is open!

Most camps are for rising first-graders through rising sixth-graders, with the addition of the ‘Making a Music Video’ and ‘Songwriting and Recording’ camps for middleschoolers and highschoolers.

SUMMER CAMPS

• June 17-21 – World Dance

• June 24-28 – West African Culture: Drumming, Dance, Clothing & Food

• July 8-12 – Blues

• July 15-19 – LEAF International Haiti

• July 22-25 – Making a Music Video: Songwriting, Recording, and Film-Making*

• July 29-August 2 – Stop Motion Animation

• August 12-15 – Songwriting and Recording*

• August 19-23 – World-Changing Visual Art

*middle and high school, all others are rising 1st-6th

Mile High Swinging Bridge
Apr 24 all-day
Grandfather Mountain

One of the top highlights and memories of visits to Grandfather Mountain nature park is walking across the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge. Since 1952, visitors have “oohed” and “aahed” at the bridge’s 360-degree panoramic views. America’s highest suspension footbridge gives easy access to the spectacular views atop Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak, elevation 5,305 feet.

The 228-foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation (hence the name!). To reach the Mile High Swinging Bridge, drive the two-mile, winding scenic road up the mountain to the summit parking area by the Top Shop. Climb 50 stairs adjacent to the parking area or inside the Top Shop to reach the short pathway to the bridge. Also, an elevator in the Top Shop takes you to the third floor for a level walk to the bridge.

Top Shop

Located adjacent to the Bridge, the Top Shop features a gift shop, snacks, restrooms, elevator and second-floor exhibition area. Also get the latest park information and trail maps. Read more.

Accessibility

Inside the Top Shop, an elevator makes the Mile High Swinging Bridge accessible to people with mobility challenges, including those in wheelchairs. From the Top Shop, there is a paved 50-yard path to the bridge. Read more about our accessibility.

Tickets & Hours

Walking across the Mile High Swinging Bridge is included in your Grandfather Mountain admission ticket that includes many other things to do in our nature park. Buy tickets online and book a reservation time to enter the park. You do not need a separate reservation for the bridge. It’s open, weather permitting, every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. See hours.

More to Explore

Before or after visiting the Mile High Swinging Bridge, allow time to enjoy other parts of the mountain: wildlife habitats, Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, restaurant, hiking trails, roadside overlooks, picnic areas and more. See more Things to Do.

Nearby Hiking Trails

Trailheads to many of the Grandfather Mountain hiking trails are located near the Swinging Bridge. In fact, the 0.4 mile Bridge Trail takes you beneath the bridge, starting from the Black Rock parking area just below the summit. For details on our nearby trails, go to our Hiking Guide.

Bridge Tips & Tidbits

  • Does it really swing? Very little — unlike the original one. Today’s bridge is made of steel and reinforced with cables and springs. It has railings on the sides to ensure safety.
  • We suggest you wear rubber-soled shoes and walk with care when crossing the rocks on the far side of the bridge.
  • If heights give you pause, you can still enjoy Blue Ridge Mountain views from the ground before you reach the bridge and even from the parking area.
  • Due to periodic extreme weather conditions at the bridge, it closes when there is area lightning, high wind or icy conditions.
  • The official U.S. Weather Service Reporting Station atop the Mile High Swinging Bridge has provided daily weather observations since 1955. The temperature is usually 10 to 20 degrees cooler than in the flatlands you see below. It’s also one of the windiest locations in North Carolina, with a 124-mph record set in winter 2019. Learn more about our weather.
  • Pets are allowed on the bridge if well behaved and on a leash.
  • Photographs and videos to remember your visit are encouraged. Be mindful of sharp drop-offs along the Linville Peak ridge. Drones are not allowed. See our photography policies.
  • The Singing Bridge? When the wind blows, the Mile High Swinging Bridge “sings” in the same way as a harmonica.
  • In April through October, join Grandfather’s expert naturalists by the Bridge for Interpretive Talks about the our unique weather, climate, flora and fauna. Read more.
  • Need driving directions? The address for Grandfather Mountain’s entrance gate is 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646 (click link for Google Maps). There are no shuttles, so you must have your own vehicle to explore our nature park. No RVs longer than 28 feet in length or hinged vehicles are allowed through the Entrance Gate. See detailed directions.
  • To see much more info, see our Plan Your Visit section.

Mile High Swinging Bridge History

Former North Carolina Tourism Director Charles J. Parker coined the name “Mile High Swinging Bridge” at the Bridge’s dedication in 1952. The term “mile high” refers to the structure’s elevation above sea level (5,280 feet). The term “swinging” refers to the fact that suspension bridges are free to sway.

The original 1952 bridge was designed by Charles Hartmann Jr. of Greensboro, N.C. It was fabricated in Greensboro and then reassembled on top of the Mountain. Erecting the bridge took three weeks, a process slowed by inclement weather created by a hurricane off the North Carolina coast. Cost was $15,000. It was dedicated on Sept. 2, 1952 by North Carolina Gov. William B. Umstead.

The bridge was rebuilt in 1999 using the original towers. The cables, floor boards and side rails were all replaced using galvanized steel. One of the main advantages of the modern building materials is that they do not have to be painted. Now, Grandfather Mountain employees will not have to hang out over the gorge to paint the span. It was redesigned by Sutton, Kennerly & Associates Engineering of Asheville, N.C., and rebuilt by Taylor & Murphy Construction Company of Asheville. The cost of rebuilding was $300,000.

XP League Summer Camps
Apr 24 all-day
XP LEAGUE ASHEVILLE

XP League Camps are designed to engage kids at many different levels. Not only do kids get to meet new friends and improve their skills in the games they love to play, but they will learn about teamwork, communications, sportsmanship, esports health, nutrition, esports psychology, stretching and exercise, mindset and motivation, boosting focus, and so much more.

Led by trained coaches and staff

Designed with on-screen and off-screen activities that focus on teamwork, communication, problem solving, leadership, and critical thinking

Open to all gamers regardless of skill level

Open to gamers ages 7 to 17

CHOOSE XP LEAGUE

WE BUILD CHARACTER, NOT AVATARS.

XP League’s professional coaches teach important skills such as sportsmanship and strategic thinking. Our gamer athletes experience all the benefits of being a part of a youth sports team. XP League is the first esports program to partner with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) to ensure that our coaches set the highest standard for competitive youth gaming.

ALL ABILITIES WELCOME

Our programs are designed to fit athletes at all levels. From recreational players to advanced competitive teams, all athletes receive the positive influence and guidance of our experienced coaches.

DOUBLE-GOAL CERTIFIED COACHES

Our coaches aren’t just focused on winning. They want their teams to learn important life lessons as well. Our partnership with PCA, and XP League’s proprietary coach training certification process, equip our coaches with the tools to coach better play while being positive role models for our athletes.

PLAY LIKE THE PROS

All our programs include pro-level game training on professional equipment. We’re the real deal even down to our jerseys.

ACCOUNTABLE, NOT ANONYMOUS

Our athletes are coached to respect the rules and their fellow players. Forget about that anonymous player hiding behind their avatar. We compete hard AND compete fair.

THE HOTTEST GAMES. EPIC EXPERIENCES.

OUR CAMPS

ESPORTS ENTRPRENEUR: RUN YOUR OWN ESPORTS EVENT

Run your own esports event from plan to production and learn how to organize brackets, plan events, create marketing materials, and stream!

MINECRAFT REDSTONE ENGINEERING

Learn how redstone works in Minecraft and how it connects to electrical engineering in real life by building devices!

GAME DESIGN WITH FORTNITE CREATIVE

Learn game design concepts like collision, functions, and conditionals by building games using Fortnite’s Creative mode.

CONTENT CREATION FOR YOUTUBE & TWITCH

Learn how to record and edit video, create your own stream overlays, and learn how to write a script to turn your awesome video ideas into reality!

ESPORTS BOOTCAMP: BETTER PLAYER, BETTER PERSON

Learn the psychology behind rapid improvement and growth while gaining confidence in your skills in your favorite game.

DATES

JUNE 17-21 = Esports Bootcamp: Better Player, Better Person (Featuring Fortnite)*

JULY 8-12 = Esports Entrepreneur: Run your own Esports Event*

JULY 15-19 = Esports Bootcamp: Better Player, Better Person (Featuring Rocket League)*

JULY 22-26 = Game Design with Fortnite Creative*

AUGUST 5-9 = Content Creation for YouTube & Twitch*

AUGUST 12-16 = Esports Bootcamp: Better Player, Better Person (Featuring Fortnite)*

AUGUST 19-23 = Minecraft Redstone Engineering*

*SUBJECT TO CHANGE DUE TO DEMAND

$199 for 5 days of a HALF-DAY morning camp: 8am-12pm

$199 for 5 days of a HALF-DAY afternoon camp: 12:00pm-4:00pm

$349 for 5 days of a FULL-DAY camp – save $50! 8am-4:00pm, bring their own lunch!

New Park Pavilion Reservation Software
Apr 24 @ 8:00 am
online

Buncombe County Parks & Recreation is announcing the launch of its new online reservation system for park pavilions.

ACTIVENet, the new online reservation system, allows for a hassle-free user experience for Buncombe County park visitors. With just a few clicks, visitors can make and cancel reservations from the comfort of their home, in addition to checking real-time availability of the pavilions. Park pavilions are located at Lake Jullian, Charles D. Owen, and the Buncombe County Sports Park. Field rental is also available through this new portal.

Key takeaways of the new reservation system include: 

Seamless Interface: The user-friendly layout of the reservation system allows for hassle-free bookings and cancelations.

Real-time Park Pavilion Availability: Users are able to check the availability of the park pavilions at their favorite park, and on their preferred date and time.

Secure Payment: ACTIVENet’s secure payment portal ensures data protection and encryption with Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant technology.

Email confirmations: Once a reservation is made or canceled, users will receive a confirmation email with the details of their booking.

Click here to view a tutorial on how to book a park pavilion. 

To access the new park pavilion reservation system, please visit www.buncombecounty.org/parks. There is a “Reserve & Register” button that will take users directly to the reservation portal. Please note that users must create an account prior to booking a park pavilion. For any inquiries or additional information, please contact [email protected] or call (828) 250-4260.

NC Arboretum Hiking Trails
Apr 24 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
NC Arboretum

Located within the wildly-popular and botanically beautiful Southern Appalachian Mountains, The North Carolina Arboretum offers more than 10 miles of hiking trails that connect to many other area attractions such as Lake Powhatan, the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy their hiking experience at the Arboretum as trail options include easy, moderate, and difficult challenge levels. All trails are dog-friendly and visitors are asked to adhere to the proper waste disposing procedures for pets.

Part of a running group that would like to use the Arboretum as a starting point or parking location? Please review our Running Group Guidance and email [email protected] with any questions.

Puppet Playtime
Apr 24 @ 10:00 am
East Asheville Public Library

Every Wednesday morning, we open up the children’s activity room to give kids time for free play with puppets. Children must be under the supervision or a parent or guardian.

Tuckasegee River Excursion
Apr 24 @ 10:30 am – 3:00 pm
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

TAKE A TRAIN RIDE ALONG SIDE THE BEAUTIFUL NANTAHALA RIVER ON OUR NANTAHALA GORGE EXCURSION! DEPARTING FROM BRYSON CITY, THIS 4½ HOUR ROUNDTRIP EXCURSION CARRIES YOU 44 MILES TO THE NANTAHALA GORGE AND BACK AGAIN ARRIVING AT OUR BRYSON CITY DEPOT.

Ride this excursion via Steam or Diesel locomotive power!

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Great Smoky Mountains while traveling along the Tennessee and Nantahala (nan-tuh-HAY-luh) River. The historic trellis bridge Fontana Trestle takes you across Fontana Lake and into the beautiful Nantahala Gorge. Onboard dining is available in First Class Seating and selecting from our First Class dining menu options OR you can pre-purchase a box lunch option to make this an amazing unique moving dining experience. Arrive at our layover destination in the heart of the Nantahala Gorge for a one-hour layover where you can relax by the river or enjoy sightseeing!

Itinerary

30m before departure Boarding begins at Bryson City Depot
See schedule for departure time Depart Bryson City, NC
1h 45m Reach top of the line
2h 00m Begin return
2h 30m—3h 30m Layover
3h 30m Depart Layover
4h 30m Arrive at Bryson City Depot
Time from Departure Activity
Pacolet Junior Appalachian Music (PacJAM) Spring Semester
Apr 24 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Tryon Fine Arts Center

Beginning & Intermediate youth music classes on traditional and ol’ time instruments including but not limited to, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and guitar. Students will attend 40 minutes of music enrichment, including multiple flat-footing sessions led by Alice Kexel, story-telling, visits from guest musicians, as well as learn about the heritage of the music and the region. They will have 40 minutes of group music classes, and 40 minutes of singing or JAM rehearsal.

Advanced students will have 40 minutes of group instrument lessons, followed by 30 minutes of advanced singing including harmony and shape-note singing, and finish with 50 minutes of coached, small-ensemble rehearsal.

Classes are $15/session, for a total of $210 for the first student, and a 20% discount of $168 for each additional sibling. Parents may choose to split payments when registering. Inquire with Julie Moore at [email protected] or 864-420-6407 about scholarships.

Youth Classes

Wednesdays, 4-6 pm

Peter Pan
Apr 24 @ 7:30 pm
Peace Concert Hall

This high-flying musical has been thrilling audiences of all ages for close to 70 years and is now being brought back to life in a new adaptation by celebrated playwright Larissa FastHorse, directed by Emmy Award-winner Lonny Price and choreography by Lorin Latarro. The adventure begins when PETER PAN and his mischievous fairy sidekick, Tinker Bell, visit the bedroom of the Darling children late one night. With a sprinkle of pixie dust and a few happy thoughts, the children are taken on a magical journey they will never forget. This extraordinary musical full of excitement and adventure features iconic and timeless songs including “I’m Flying”“I Gotta Crow”“I Won’t Grow Up” and “Neverland”PETER PANembraces the child in us all so go on a journey from the second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning – your entire family will be Hooked!

Peter Pan‘s run time is 2 hours including intermission.

Thursday, April 25, 2024
Asheville Performing Arts Academy Summer Musical Theatre Camps: Registration Open
Apr 25 all-day
Asheville Performing Arts Academy

We’re offering TWO grade levels this summer for our workshops:

  • Younger Ages (Rising 1st – 3rd Grade)
  • Older Ages (Rising 4th – 10th Grade)

Camps run Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm

Finding Nemo Workshop

June 17-21, 2024

July 8-12, 2024

July 29- Aug 2, 2024

Moana Workshop

June 24-28, 2024

July 15-19, 2024

August 5-9, 2024

Pirate Palooza Workshop

July 1-5, 2024

The Little Mermaid Workshop

July 22-26, 2024

Our Musical Theatre Workshop camps center around favorite stage musicals, where students will learn musical numbers and perform a shortened production at the end of each week. Campers will not only perform in many dance numbers and scenes but will work on the technical aspects that all productions need, like sets, props, and costumes.

BRING ON SPRING w/ Nantahala Outdoor Center
Apr 25 all-day
Nantahala Outdoor Center

 

LEAF SUMMER CAMPS registration open
Apr 25 all-day
LEAF Global Arts

LEAF Schools & Streets invites your students to join us at LEAF Global Arts for summer camps, which run June 17-August 23 at 19 Eagle Street downtown. Registration is open!

Most camps are for rising first-graders through rising sixth-graders, with the addition of the ‘Making a Music Video’ and ‘Songwriting and Recording’ camps for middleschoolers and highschoolers.

SUMMER CAMPS

• June 17-21 – World Dance

• June 24-28 – West African Culture: Drumming, Dance, Clothing & Food

• July 8-12 – Blues

• July 15-19 – LEAF International Haiti

• July 22-25 – Making a Music Video: Songwriting, Recording, and Film-Making*

• July 29-August 2 – Stop Motion Animation

• August 12-15 – Songwriting and Recording*

• August 19-23 – World-Changing Visual Art

*middle and high school, all others are rising 1st-6th

Mile High Swinging Bridge
Apr 25 all-day
Grandfather Mountain

One of the top highlights and memories of visits to Grandfather Mountain nature park is walking across the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge. Since 1952, visitors have “oohed” and “aahed” at the bridge’s 360-degree panoramic views. America’s highest suspension footbridge gives easy access to the spectacular views atop Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak, elevation 5,305 feet.

The 228-foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation (hence the name!). To reach the Mile High Swinging Bridge, drive the two-mile, winding scenic road up the mountain to the summit parking area by the Top Shop. Climb 50 stairs adjacent to the parking area or inside the Top Shop to reach the short pathway to the bridge. Also, an elevator in the Top Shop takes you to the third floor for a level walk to the bridge.

Top Shop

Located adjacent to the Bridge, the Top Shop features a gift shop, snacks, restrooms, elevator and second-floor exhibition area. Also get the latest park information and trail maps. Read more.

Accessibility

Inside the Top Shop, an elevator makes the Mile High Swinging Bridge accessible to people with mobility challenges, including those in wheelchairs. From the Top Shop, there is a paved 50-yard path to the bridge. Read more about our accessibility.

Tickets & Hours

Walking across the Mile High Swinging Bridge is included in your Grandfather Mountain admission ticket that includes many other things to do in our nature park. Buy tickets online and book a reservation time to enter the park. You do not need a separate reservation for the bridge. It’s open, weather permitting, every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. See hours.

More to Explore

Before or after visiting the Mile High Swinging Bridge, allow time to enjoy other parts of the mountain: wildlife habitats, Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, restaurant, hiking trails, roadside overlooks, picnic areas and more. See more Things to Do.

Nearby Hiking Trails

Trailheads to many of the Grandfather Mountain hiking trails are located near the Swinging Bridge. In fact, the 0.4 mile Bridge Trail takes you beneath the bridge, starting from the Black Rock parking area just below the summit. For details on our nearby trails, go to our Hiking Guide.

Bridge Tips & Tidbits

  • Does it really swing? Very little — unlike the original one. Today’s bridge is made of steel and reinforced with cables and springs. It has railings on the sides to ensure safety.
  • We suggest you wear rubber-soled shoes and walk with care when crossing the rocks on the far side of the bridge.
  • If heights give you pause, you can still enjoy Blue Ridge Mountain views from the ground before you reach the bridge and even from the parking area.
  • Due to periodic extreme weather conditions at the bridge, it closes when there is area lightning, high wind or icy conditions.
  • The official U.S. Weather Service Reporting Station atop the Mile High Swinging Bridge has provided daily weather observations since 1955. The temperature is usually 10 to 20 degrees cooler than in the flatlands you see below. It’s also one of the windiest locations in North Carolina, with a 124-mph record set in winter 2019. Learn more about our weather.
  • Pets are allowed on the bridge if well behaved and on a leash.
  • Photographs and videos to remember your visit are encouraged. Be mindful of sharp drop-offs along the Linville Peak ridge. Drones are not allowed. See our photography policies.
  • The Singing Bridge? When the wind blows, the Mile High Swinging Bridge “sings” in the same way as a harmonica.
  • In April through October, join Grandfather’s expert naturalists by the Bridge for Interpretive Talks about the our unique weather, climate, flora and fauna. Read more.
  • Need driving directions? The address for Grandfather Mountain’s entrance gate is 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646 (click link for Google Maps). There are no shuttles, so you must have your own vehicle to explore our nature park. No RVs longer than 28 feet in length or hinged vehicles are allowed through the Entrance Gate. See detailed directions.
  • To see much more info, see our Plan Your Visit section.

Mile High Swinging Bridge History

Former North Carolina Tourism Director Charles J. Parker coined the name “Mile High Swinging Bridge” at the Bridge’s dedication in 1952. The term “mile high” refers to the structure’s elevation above sea level (5,280 feet). The term “swinging” refers to the fact that suspension bridges are free to sway.

The original 1952 bridge was designed by Charles Hartmann Jr. of Greensboro, N.C. It was fabricated in Greensboro and then reassembled on top of the Mountain. Erecting the bridge took three weeks, a process slowed by inclement weather created by a hurricane off the North Carolina coast. Cost was $15,000. It was dedicated on Sept. 2, 1952 by North Carolina Gov. William B. Umstead.

The bridge was rebuilt in 1999 using the original towers. The cables, floor boards and side rails were all replaced using galvanized steel. One of the main advantages of the modern building materials is that they do not have to be painted. Now, Grandfather Mountain employees will not have to hang out over the gorge to paint the span. It was redesigned by Sutton, Kennerly & Associates Engineering of Asheville, N.C., and rebuilt by Taylor & Murphy Construction Company of Asheville. The cost of rebuilding was $300,000.

Park Pavilion Reservations Open
Apr 25 all-day
online

New Park Pavilion Reservation Software

We have launched a new park pavilion reservation software system where park users can seamlessly book park shelters and fields from the comfort of their home. In order to book a park pavilion or field, go to www.buncombecounty.org/parks and click the “Reserve & Register” button. Click here to view a tutorial on how to book a park pavilion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGOrpvY75Xk

Registration Open: Summer Camps at the Wortham Center
Apr 25 all-day
Diana Wortham Theatre

Imaginative kids can createexplore, and play in Summer Camps at the Wortham Center! With high-energy, low-pressure programs for rising 1st-5th grade campers, week-long camps expand minds, build life skills, and create meaningful friendships through the arts.

Register now online or by calling the Box Office at 828-257-4530. Space is limited.

A limited number of full and partial need-based scholarships are available upon application through Arts for All Kids. Families who qualify for free or reduced lunch are welcome to apply.

Questions? Email Director of Education Anna Kimmell at [email protected].

2024 Creative Arts Summer Camps

CREATIVE ARTS CAMP
Rising 1st-2nd Grades
JUNE 24-28, 2024
 • 9 a.m.-1 p.m.  

Little kids with BIG imaginations can dance, sing, act, create, and collaborate in this high-energy, low-pressure arts camp! With engaging activities rooted in creative play, kids will have so much fun expressing themselves through the arts, they won’t even notice they’re also building confidence, improving physical and emotional awareness, honing listening and focus skills, and learning to work within a group. At the end of the week, campers will celebrate what they’ve learned in an informal sharing for friends and family.

$185 in February ($205 after March 1)

PERFORMING ARTS CAMP
Rising 1st-2nd Grades

JULY 15-19, 2024 • 9 a.m.-1 p.m.  

In this week-long, half-day summer arts camp, students will have fun exploring the fundamentals of acting, music, and movement. Through engaging activities rooted in creative play, kids will make friends, explore the performing arts, discover new tools for expression, and share what they’ve learned in a short performance presented at the end of the week for friends and family.

$185 in February ($205 after March 1)


CREATIVE ARTS CAMP
Rising 3rd-5th Grades

JULY 8-12, 2024 • 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Kids will have fun exercising their imaginations in this week-long camp exploring the creative arts! With daily activities in acting, dance, music, design, technical theatre, and more, this high-energy, low-pressure camp builds life skills, confidence, and friendships through the arts. Kids will leave feeling empowered to take creative risks on stage and off.

$290 in February ($310 after March 1)


PERFORMING ARTS CAMPS
Rising 3rd-5th Grades

JULY 22-26, 2024 • 9 a.m.-3 p.m.  

Kids can connect with other creative thinkers as they write, develop, and perform in their own original show! With an emphasis on self-expression, collaboration, and the creative process, kids will have fun exploring daily activities in acting, movement, creative writing, and improvisation in a low-pressure, supportive environment. At the end of the week, young artists will share their newfound skills in an informal performance for family and friends. No prior performing arts experience is necessary, only an open mind.

$290 in February ($310 after March 1)

XP League Summer Camps
Apr 25 all-day
XP LEAGUE ASHEVILLE

XP League Camps are designed to engage kids at many different levels. Not only do kids get to meet new friends and improve their skills in the games they love to play, but they will learn about teamwork, communications, sportsmanship, esports health, nutrition, esports psychology, stretching and exercise, mindset and motivation, boosting focus, and so much more.

Led by trained coaches and staff

Designed with on-screen and off-screen activities that focus on teamwork, communication, problem solving, leadership, and critical thinking

Open to all gamers regardless of skill level

Open to gamers ages 7 to 17

CHOOSE XP LEAGUE

WE BUILD CHARACTER, NOT AVATARS.

XP League’s professional coaches teach important skills such as sportsmanship and strategic thinking. Our gamer athletes experience all the benefits of being a part of a youth sports team. XP League is the first esports program to partner with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) to ensure that our coaches set the highest standard for competitive youth gaming.

ALL ABILITIES WELCOME

Our programs are designed to fit athletes at all levels. From recreational players to advanced competitive teams, all athletes receive the positive influence and guidance of our experienced coaches.

DOUBLE-GOAL CERTIFIED COACHES

Our coaches aren’t just focused on winning. They want their teams to learn important life lessons as well. Our partnership with PCA, and XP League’s proprietary coach training certification process, equip our coaches with the tools to coach better play while being positive role models for our athletes.

PLAY LIKE THE PROS

All our programs include pro-level game training on professional equipment. We’re the real deal even down to our jerseys.

ACCOUNTABLE, NOT ANONYMOUS

Our athletes are coached to respect the rules and their fellow players. Forget about that anonymous player hiding behind their avatar. We compete hard AND compete fair.

THE HOTTEST GAMES. EPIC EXPERIENCES.

OUR CAMPS

ESPORTS ENTRPRENEUR: RUN YOUR OWN ESPORTS EVENT

Run your own esports event from plan to production and learn how to organize brackets, plan events, create marketing materials, and stream!

MINECRAFT REDSTONE ENGINEERING

Learn how redstone works in Minecraft and how it connects to electrical engineering in real life by building devices!

GAME DESIGN WITH FORTNITE CREATIVE

Learn game design concepts like collision, functions, and conditionals by building games using Fortnite’s Creative mode.

CONTENT CREATION FOR YOUTUBE & TWITCH

Learn how to record and edit video, create your own stream overlays, and learn how to write a script to turn your awesome video ideas into reality!

ESPORTS BOOTCAMP: BETTER PLAYER, BETTER PERSON

Learn the psychology behind rapid improvement and growth while gaining confidence in your skills in your favorite game.

DATES

JUNE 17-21 = Esports Bootcamp: Better Player, Better Person (Featuring Fortnite)*

JULY 8-12 = Esports Entrepreneur: Run your own Esports Event*

JULY 15-19 = Esports Bootcamp: Better Player, Better Person (Featuring Rocket League)*

JULY 22-26 = Game Design with Fortnite Creative*

AUGUST 5-9 = Content Creation for YouTube & Twitch*

AUGUST 12-16 = Esports Bootcamp: Better Player, Better Person (Featuring Fortnite)*

AUGUST 19-23 = Minecraft Redstone Engineering*

*SUBJECT TO CHANGE DUE TO DEMAND

$199 for 5 days of a HALF-DAY morning camp: 8am-12pm

$199 for 5 days of a HALF-DAY afternoon camp: 12:00pm-4:00pm

$349 for 5 days of a FULL-DAY camp – save $50! 8am-4:00pm, bring their own lunch!

New Park Pavilion Reservation Software
Apr 25 @ 8:00 am
online

Buncombe County Parks & Recreation is announcing the launch of its new online reservation system for park pavilions.

ACTIVENet, the new online reservation system, allows for a hassle-free user experience for Buncombe County park visitors. With just a few clicks, visitors can make and cancel reservations from the comfort of their home, in addition to checking real-time availability of the pavilions. Park pavilions are located at Lake Jullian, Charles D. Owen, and the Buncombe County Sports Park. Field rental is also available through this new portal.

Key takeaways of the new reservation system include: 

Seamless Interface: The user-friendly layout of the reservation system allows for hassle-free bookings and cancelations.

Real-time Park Pavilion Availability: Users are able to check the availability of the park pavilions at their favorite park, and on their preferred date and time.

Secure Payment: ACTIVENet’s secure payment portal ensures data protection and encryption with Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant technology.

Email confirmations: Once a reservation is made or canceled, users will receive a confirmation email with the details of their booking.

Click here to view a tutorial on how to book a park pavilion. 

To access the new park pavilion reservation system, please visit www.buncombecounty.org/parks. There is a “Reserve & Register” button that will take users directly to the reservation portal. Please note that users must create an account prior to booking a park pavilion. For any inquiries or additional information, please contact [email protected] or call (828) 250-4260.

NC Arboretum Hiking Trails
Apr 25 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
NC Arboretum

Located within the wildly-popular and botanically beautiful Southern Appalachian Mountains, The North Carolina Arboretum offers more than 10 miles of hiking trails that connect to many other area attractions such as Lake Powhatan, the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy their hiking experience at the Arboretum as trail options include easy, moderate, and difficult challenge levels. All trails are dog-friendly and visitors are asked to adhere to the proper waste disposing procedures for pets.

Part of a running group that would like to use the Arboretum as a starting point or parking location? Please review our Running Group Guidance and email [email protected] with any questions.