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
630 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • This is a great little zoo that children can see cougars, bears, foxes, and native animals of western North Carolina. We got to see an opossum demonstration and pet the animal. My kids enjoyed it alon...  more »
  • This is a wonderful place to go and learn about different kinds of animals and how they live out in the wild I defiantly recommenced this to any one who has little ones it's even great for adults.  more »
  • My teenage daughter and I went to this nature center on a chilly, drizzly October morning. We had a great time! The trail is paved and easy to follow. The animal enclosures are spacious and clean. The...  more »
Google
  • Well organized routes through various animal habitats, reptile building, etc., that have informational displays throughout. Very family friendly with several educational/play areas that are themed to match the different animal areas nearby. My three young nephews visiting from out of town loved it. The map is also very well done. Parking was a challenge when we went due to the large number of people who were there the day we went (middle of the week) but I think it was spring break week for the local kiddos.
  • My family only all times go to zoo. Enjoy see many animals around trail. Have picnic area, little shop, etc. 💜👍 Feb 2017- i and mom went to zoo. Now everything charge look better. Enjoy walk around see animals. So long 2 hours in zoo.
  • The Nature Center offers great educational resources to help the public better understand wild animals who share our environment. There are plenty of programs and pathways through the park that are particularly great for kids to explore. The animals have den access a lot of the time so they don't get overwhelmed or neurotic. My only complaint is the entryway suffers from a lot of congestion with customers waiting in line; they'd be well-served with more staff able to check people in.
  • Went on my Honeymoon, so obviously really enjoyable. It was kind of cold out but other than that, definitely 5 stars. All enclosures were great sizes, bigger animals (like bears, cougars, bob cats and deer) got the perfect size cages. Better than any zoo I've seen. Lots of hands on with children, awesome prices and is even great for just adults. We enjoyed it. It is really only 1-2 hours of enjoyment but definitely worth the money. Would do again!!
  • Lots of beautiful animals... They are currently in a joint effort with the government to breed and reintroduce red wolves back into there natural environment. The staff was friendly and happy to answer any questions we had. The center was clean and fairly organized. While there we learned that all of their animals are either rescues or animals that cannot be reintroduced back into the wild or like the red wolves, are there for breeding and repopulation efforts. Good experience. We will probably be back to see the red pandas when they arrive.

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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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