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“Great Small Zoo”

Western North Carolina Nature Center
Ranked #13 of 191 things to do in Asheville
Certificate of Excellence
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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
Elon, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
225 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
“Great Small Zoo”
Reviewed July 27, 2014

I know it's not called a zoo, but this is a great little zoo. Reasonably priced, $8.00 a person, and the exhibits they have give you a good view of the animals. My wife and I have been here twice and on both occasions an ambulance has passed by with the siren on and caused the wolves to howl, very entertaining. The bear exhibit is good, you actually look down on them and both of the bears were active during our visit. Look closely for the bobcat, he likes to sleep in a hammock.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Geoff O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Asheville, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
99 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“A nice place to view wild life”
Reviewed July 24, 2014

Don't expect a full blown zoo. This is a nature center with well thought out enclosures for a variety of wild life that could be found in a local environment. It is well thought out and enjoyable for younger children

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank bee50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hickory, North Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
46 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
“Nice way to spend 2-3 hours”
Reviewed July 24, 2014

We've been going to Asheville for years, but have never stopped at the nature center. We're glad we stopped in our one of our recent trips.

It's not large as far as zoos go, but it is well maintained and you can tell the employees take pride in it. It's one of the few fully accredited zoos, and that comes from the way they treat the animals and the nice, spacious living areas each animal has.

You won't see exotic animals, but you will see animals native to western NC. The bears and otters were particularly entertaining the day we were there. We were also entertained by a couple of goats in the petting zoo, including one who was stretching for some leaves in a tree just over our heads.

You can rush through in a couple of hours, but we took our time and sat down at some of the exhibits, just watching the animals (and other people walking around). There are some slight grades to cover, but not bad, and a large portion of your walking is in the shade.

The cost of reasonable, and they have reciprocity with some other zoos that will get you a discount.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Ted N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Great family trip”
Reviewed July 23, 2014 via mobile

Took us about 2 hrs to tour which was perfect for our family. The new wolf pups were adorable. Multiple levels for viewing animals made it easy to see each animal no matter where they were in the area.

Helpful?
Thank Mom2sophia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, GA
Level 6 Contributor
872 reviews
358 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 336 helpful votes
“Fun Experience for Children and Adults”
Reviewed July 19, 2014 via mobile

No real exotic animals in this zoo, but rather critters that inhabit the Western North Carolina landscape -- bears, wolves, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, otters, deer, owls, hawks, etc. Plus there is an exhibit of farm animals that can be petted. It's a nice scale in a wooded hilly setting that is only a few miles from downtown Asheville. There are discounts for kids, seniors and city residents.

Helpful?
Thank GPBurdell67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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