Western North Carolina Nature Center, Asheville

4.4
#1 of 16 in Outdoors in Asheville
Home to wildlife from southern Appalachia, Western North Carolina Nature Center began as a city zoo, but its important work with local conservation caused it to morph into a nature center. The densely forested Appalachian Mountains hide an array of creatures from red wolves to colorful birds, and this center showcases more than 60 animal species. Wander through the natural habitat and discover small mammals, otters, and predators. Explore the natural environment on the Swannanoa River along a nature trail. Vending machines provide some snacks and beverages, and you can bring your own food to enjoy on the picnic tables. To visit Western North Carolina Nature Center on your trip to Asheville, use our Asheville travel route planning website .
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Western North Carolina Nature Center Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
647 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • It’s not a bad place for the price. We went as a spur of the moment trip. It took us about 45 mins to walk through. It was a cold trip so the bear wasn’t active but it was still a fun trip. We would d...  more »
  • After being a member of Riverbanks Zoo, in Columbia, SC for over 20 years, it’s hard to compare other zoos. This was small, but we went to see the Sicilian donkeys, wolves, coyotes and foxes. This see...  more »
  • We spent about one and a half hours walking around. Many young parents with little ones. A friendly and informative zoo. We saw all the animals, even the black bear. Loved the cougars, otters, and bob...  more »
Google
  • What an awesome place to visit! The nature center has a wonderful assortment of native animals to check out! There is a petting zoo, playground and snack bar. We touched snakes and did not touch the hissing bug thing. It is located in a park with another terrific playground and sports area as well!
  • Visited this nature center during my vacation and was very happy with all the wonderful animals on display. Very kid and family friendly. Much larger than one would expect. Loved every bit of my visit here.
  • Great little zoo! They pack a lot into a small place. You could breeze through here in an hour if you wanted or linger around for several hours without being bored. The best part for me was... we saw a small bear when hiking on the nature trail. We hauled @ss because we figured an angry mama might be close by. Don't worry though, the zoo has fences all around, of course, and the nature trail is separate.
  • Loved this small zoo. We enjoyed the opportunity to get up close to the animals. We enjoyed reading the info plaques, appreciated the enclosures and relished the quiet openness of the location. Priced perfectly.
  • Lovely little place! We visited several years ago and had the best time in the butterfly garden exhibit. Can't wait to return with our kids!

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Where to stay in Asheville

To take advantage of the best Asheville has to offer without breaking the bank, stay at one of the city's small motels, many of which offer free breakfast buffets and plenty of secure parking. Asheville's historical district contains most of the city's bed and breakfasts, allowing you to stay within a short walk of downtown shopping, dining, and entertainment. The area also boasts numerous budget-friendly hostels, offering inexpensive private rooms for backpackers. For something completely different, rent an eco-friendly cabin in a wooded area just a short drive from the city.
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