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On Monday, June 1, Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium will reopen the Nature Center and resume some programming, both at limited capacity. Park trails and the animal habitat area are and have been open.

“We want to thank everyone for your support and understanding these past few months,” Park Manager Rob Cole said, “and we ask that you continue to be patient as we take these first steps toward normal operations.”

Beginning June 1, only 20 guests will be allowed in the Nature Center at a time.

  • Only the upper level and gift shop area will be accessible.
  • Guests should follow the designated flow of traffic through the Nature Center and keep visits brief so that others can enter.
  • Bays Mountain recommends guests wear a mask when visiting the Nature Center.
  • Maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others and wash hands frequently.

Nature programs and barge rides will also resume June 1.

  • Programs and barge rides are limited to 9 participants (plus program leader).
  • At this time, the planetarium, adventure course and zip line remain closed.

If you feel sick or are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, BMP asks that for your safety and that of staff and others visitors, do not visit the park at this time.

All visitors will need to stop at the gate when entering the park, as is normal park policy, beginning June 1. As a reminder, park entry is $5 per vehicle or free to park members who show their membership card.

At this time, all Nature Programs will be held outdoors (weather permitting). Programs are $3 per person or free for park members. Barge rides will be held weather permitting and are $5 per person or free for park members. Tickets are available in the Nature Center the day of the program. Guests should arrive early to ensure plenty of time to get tickets.

Nature Center Hours and Program Times

Nature Center Hours
Monday – Friday              9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday     11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Nature Programs
Monday – Friday              10:30 a.m., 1:00 and 3:00 p.m

Barge Rides
Monday – Friday              10:30 a.m., 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday     1:00 and 3:00 p.m.

On June 1, the park will resume rentals of the Pavilion at Lilypad Cove to groups not exceeding 10 people. No other facilities will be available for rent at this time.

Bays Mountain is committed to the health and safety of both guests and park staff. The park is following recommendations and best practices from the CDC, the Sullivan County Regional Health Department and Tennessee Pledge. BMP will continue to monitor any developments on the COVID-19 pandemic and how these might affect operations.

For more information on Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, please visit or call (423)229-9447.