Grandfather Mountain Announces First-Ever Public Viewings of Synchronous Fireflies

Find out how to get tickets.

Grandfather Mountain Synchronous Fireflies
Photo: Jim Magruder

Good news for anyone who missed out on tickets to see this year's firefly show at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee! North Carolina's newly discovered population of synchronous fireflies is making its debut this summer, and you're invited.

For the first time in the park's history, Grandfather Mountain will welcome the public to witness one of Mother Nature's most incredible shows.

The Photinus carolinus is a species of firefly that each year, typically in the spring, put on a synchronous light display in order to find a mate. They are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns.

For decades, it was believed that the Smokies had the only population of synchronous fireflies in U.S. And while synchronous fireflies were eventually identified in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and in two other parts of Tennessee, the Smokies have always gotten the glory. So, you can imagine how surprised Dr. Clyde Sorenson, a professor of entomology at N.C. State University, was by what he saw when he spent the night on Grandfather Mountain in June 2019.

"I can count on one hand the times I've been left speechless by an event or occurrence in nature and seeing the synchronous fireflies for the first time on Grandfather Mountain was one of them," John Caveny, Director of Education and Natural Resources at the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, said in a statement.

"Grandfather Glows" viewing nights will take place on June 26, June 29, and July 1 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. Only 200 tickets will be available for each nighttime viewing event.

The cost for adults is $60 and children are $35. For Bridge Club members, adult tickets are $51, and children's tickets are $29.

Note: Tickets were initially supposed to go on sale May 23, but overwhelming interest caused Grandfather Mountain's website to crash. Sign up for the waitlist here. You will be notified when tickets go on sale again.

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