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“Nice area”

Western North Carolina Nature Center
Ranked #18 of 154 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 230 facilities in the United States have met the high accreditation standards set by AZA
Reviewed September 28, 2018

Active military gets in free. Lots of space for the animals and lots of play areas, each different and interactive. You can't go in and pet the animals in the barn area, but if they are close to the fence you can touch them. We saw the otter feeding which was well done by the staff. Informative. We even got to see a large snake actively shedding it's skin. This was later in the day when no one else was in there. Probably one of the coolest things I've ever seen.
This place is well done and seems to have a pretty solid vision for it's future. Recommended.

Thank WidthAdventures
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"petting zoo"
in 67 reviews
"native animals"
in 20 reviews
"otter feeding"
in 15 reviews
"animals seem"
in 9 reviews
"great place to take the kids"
in 8 reviews
"kids and adults"
in 8 reviews
"whole family"
in 17 reviews
"north carolina"
in 22 reviews
"few hours"
in 22 reviews
"all ages"
in 22 reviews
"the barn"
in 10 reviews
"couple hours"
in 8 reviews
"great place to visit"
in 11 reviews
"on display"
in 9 reviews
"bears"
in 99 reviews
"enclosures"
in 59 reviews
"wnc"
in 63 reviews
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6 - 10 of 699 reviews

Reviewed September 12, 2018 via mobile

Great location, areas to see animals and to stop and play to get out energy. Shaded, so great in the summer. Worth the repeat visits

1  Thank aslivinski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2018

Local animals are shown in spacious outdoor settings suitable for their needs. These are animals that were injured or can't be returned to the wild for some reason. They now have good homes where we can visit them. It's educational, so a visit is interesting. I love hiking the trail at the far end and reading about the trees. Also, the otter exhibit is beautiful and it's so much fun to watch the otters.

Thank Traveler805914
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2018

Not a zoo...you can get very close to a lot of different animals. The cougars and wolves are my favorites followed closely by foxes, otters, and birds. These animals are well cared for and seem happy to get close-up and personal from behind their respective enclosures. A must see if you are in Asheville!

1  Thank flutie1999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 25, 2018 via mobile

Took my two small kids here today. We had a bunch of fun! Got to see some neat animals we don’t often see in the zoo. The center was very nice- stroller friendly with paved paths and lots of ramps. The trees provided lots of shade and we didn’t get overheated as a result. There were picnic tables available. I can’t speak to their food options as we brought our own but bathrooms were adequate and well placed. They all had baby changing stations as far as I could tell. There were also well placed vending machines for drinks. The gift shop was closed briefly while I was there but it appeared to be well stocked.

There were lots of nature play areas and some playground areas. They were a big hit!

My son and I especially loved the bear exhibit! So amazing to see from so many angles. The fact that you could observe many of the exhibits from many different levels was pretty cool. We went in the heat of the day so many of the larger animals were sleeping but we got to see the bears get fed and just missed the otter feeding demo. Those animals seemed in good spirits and not broken like some zoo animals.

Overall a happy experience and a nice little outing with my kiddos.

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

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