Voted “best place to take kids” in the region, the Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville is far more than a zoo and appeals to grownups as well as children. This living museum of plants and animals native to the Appalachian region is dedicated to increasing public understanding of the natural environment through hands-on and sensory experiences.
The WNC Nature Center offers diverse wildlife, gardens, trails, indoor exhibits, and farm animals on 42 acres. It provides a home for injured, orphaned, or imprinted animals that could not survive on their own, and is one of the few zoos and captive facilities in the country participating in the Red Wolf Recovery Program. This captive breeding program was established in the early 1970s by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to save the red wolf from extinction. The WNC Nature Center joined the effort in 1992, and visitors can often view one of the young rare canines.
Among the educational programs offered by the WNC Nature Center are Life of a Frog, Nature at Night, Wildlife Tour, and Snakes and Turtles. Weeklong summer day camps at the WNC Nature Center provide kids with hands-on learning about their environment and heritage.
Hours of Operation
10 am – 5 pm, seven days a week, admission until 4:30. Some holiday closings.
Adults: $10.95 (Asheville City Residents – $7.95)
Seniors (65 & over): $9.95 (Asheville City Residents – $6.95)
Youth (ages 3-15): $6.95 (Asheville City Residents – $5.95)
Ages 2 and younger: free
No individual under 16 years of age is allowed on the grounds without an accompanying adult.
Hours of operation and fees are subject to change. Contact directly for most current information.
The WNC Nature Center is located at 75 Gashes Creek Road in Asheville. From I-40, take Exit 53 B. From I-240, take Exit 8. Watch for the WNC Nature Center signs.