Grandfather Mountain to host first-ever viewing of synchronous fireflies

Tickets go on sale May 23 with viewing nights taking place June 26, 29 and July 1

Photo of synchronous fireflies taken by Jim Magruder of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation (Jim Magruder, ©2019 Jim Magruder |

LINVILLE, NC – For the first time, Grandfather Mountain will be hosting viewing nights of its synchronous fireflies in the summer of 2022.

Tickets for “Grandfather Glows: Bioluminescent Evenings on Grandfather Mountain,” go on sale May 23. Viewing nights taking place June 26, 29 and July 1. Act fast, because only 200 tickets will be available per night.

While Grandfather Mountain is known as a home for more than 70 rare or endangered species, it was only recently discovered (in 2019) that synchronous fireflies called the mountain home too.

“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.

You can read more about the recent discovery in a story we wrote in August of 2019.

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation says that even prior to the official confirmation of the fireflies in 2019, others reported seeing it too.

“One of the reasons this species has gone undetected for so long at Grandfather is that there are not a lot of people in the park at night,” Caveny said.

It turns out the synchronicity of these fireflies is a mating ritual. Caveny says, “There is a call and response going on between the males and females of the species. The males are flying around, and the females are in the grass. One group of males will emit a flashing pattern as they try to find receptive females, and the females will respond by replicating that flashing pattern, which creates the synchronous effect.”

For information on ticket costs and event details, be sure to click here.

About the Author:

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.