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“Nice variety of animals from NC”

Western North Carolina Nature Center
Ranked #24 of 204 things to do in Asheville
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Visit the Western North Carolina Nature Center - home to over 60 species of animals including river otters, black bear, red wolves and cougars. The Western North Carolina Nature Center connects people with the animals and plants of the Southern Appalachian Mountain region by inspiring appreciation, nurturing understanding, and advancing conservation of the region's rich biodiversity. The Nature Center is proud to be accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting an institution dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. Less than 220 facilities in the United States have met the high accreditation standards set by AZA
Reviewed July 30, 2013 via mobile

After dragging our three children all over trying to find it, there were very few parking spaces. I did not realize it would be so crowded. When we climbed our way to the entrance, we were curtly greeted and having shown our membership card, our maps were practically thrown at us, so they weren't happy that we didn't need to pay and just pointed the way in. No further information was given. I like to give nature centers the benefit of the doubt because they don't get a lot of funding, but we did pay for membership so we felt we were unfairly treated. It was nice otherwise and there were a good variety of animals although most were sleeping, but it was probably that time of day. There are plans for another exhibit opening this summer but we'll have to see it during another visit. Also, no bats. The brochure advertised that there were bats, but there are none. It would have been nice to see them. The otters, Obi and Olive were really cute and you can watch them on their own web cam if you can't view them due to the crowd.

Thank A L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"petting zoo"
in 68 reviews
"native animals"
in 20 reviews
"otter feeding"
in 14 reviews
"red wolves"
in 13 reviews
"animals seem"
in 9 reviews
"great place to take the kids"
in 8 reviews
"kids and adults"
in 8 reviews
"whole family"
in 16 reviews
"north carolina"
in 22 reviews
"few hours"
in 22 reviews
"all ages"
in 22 reviews
"the barn"
in 9 reviews
"couple hours"
in 7 reviews
"great place to visit"
in 12 reviews
"bears"
in 102 reviews
"enclosures"
in 56 reviews
"wnc"
in 60 reviews
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528 - 532 of 666 reviews

Reviewed July 29, 2013

When I visited the nature center I got a most pleasant surprise. It was quite an active place. When you enter there is a lobby with a shop where you can purchase nature related items from t-shirts to calendars. Proceeds go to help the nature center.

You can then stroll leisurely on a paved walkway which winds around to give excellent views of the various wildlife. Each wildlike habitat is totally enclosed and fenced to protect both animals and visitors.
It is interesting to view the animals. Some are in plain sight playing or being lazy. Others you might have to search for depending on where they choose to lie or roost at that moment. If you do not see a certain species, go back around and chances are they will then be very visible.
There is a petting area where children love to interact with the small animals. Hand washing facilities are prevalent.
This attraction is so much fun for all. Everyone from small children to senior adults get caught up in the fun. Plan to spend time leisurely walking through the grounds. There is a lot of nicely shaded area throughout the stroll.

Thank Sarah H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

We had a baby squirrel fall out of a tree and nursed it all night, called around and found that the Nature Center would take it in and return it to a local habitat when it was grown. Have enjoyed visiting many times, the volunteers are amazing!

2  Thank Indeedboo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2013

My husband and I visited the WNC Nature Center a few days ago. The Center is small as far as zoos go, but it’s a lovely place to spend a few hours, especially for families with children. We particularly enjoyed watching the otters. It was a warm day and the bears were napping when we were there, but I understand from regular visitors that they are the most popular animals in the center. Regular visitors to the Center also advised us that morning visits are usually the most interesting because that’s when many of the animal are fed.

There are nicely paved walkways and wooden decking throughout the facility, but the Center is built into the side of a hill and the pathways go up-and-down quite a bit, so be prepared. Overall, the entry fee is very reasonable and we enjoyed our visit. This attraction will definitely appeal to families with children.

Thank cmpvb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 25, 2013

I like to take visiting children here. It's a clean and friendly place with some interesting animals humanely kept in large enclosures. The otters are fun to watch underwater. Just don't expect a big zoo like you find in DC or San Diego.

Thank akaArturoK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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