Kids can spend the day at this nature center learning and having fun! Along with deer, foxes and bears, the most recent ... More
Western North Carolina Nature Center (The)
Kids can spend the day at this nature center learning and having fun! Along with deer, foxes and bears, the most recent additions are the red and grey wolves and the bobcats and cougars. More recent improvements also include the "hands on" Nature Lab and Educational Farm where kids can pet a corn snake or even hold a turtle.
Reviews for Western North Carolina Nature Center (The): 10
Best Family Attraction in Asheville - Hands Down!
By A Yahoo Contributor, 4/29/10
Don't spend $300 on the Biltmore when your kids'll be bored after 30 minutes! Instead, spend less than $30 and have a blast. We discovered the Nature Center back in 2005 on our anual family trip and have returned each year since. It gets better and better every time we go. All of the animals look very well cared for and happy and the staff is especially helpful
Don't miss it -
Not fancy. - Landscape is kept natural, and not "manicured".
It's in the nature of a small zoo in a natural environment, but just for native specimens - plus barnyard animals for the kiddies.
The cages for the specimen birds bothered me. Large birds (eagles, etc) shouldn't be kept in cages for display, in my opinion. They should be allowed to fly.
I didn't have any problems with the enclosures for the wolves, cougar, etc. They seemed plenty roomy, and had room to roam - and plenty of boulders, trees etc to give the animals a natural habitat.
Some of the other cages for smaller animals, such as the one for the racoon, were much too confining though.
I enjoy visiting and using the 2/3 mile long nature trail that connects to the back of the facility. It's an uphill and downhill walk and good exercise. It winds down to the river, and back up again. The river surprisingly is littered with dumped debris - and directly across the river from the nature center you will see commercial/industrial buildings and parking lots - hardly "nature", and a terrible mis-use of a natural asset like the beautiful river.
And the entire facility is near busy roads and highways, and you can't escape the sounds of traffic - even on the nature trail.
The facility badly needs a deep-pocket sponsor/benefactor, and to be relocated to a more appropriate site/environment.
Very small and in poor condition. I only paid $7.00 for admission and still felt like I was ripped off. This place either needs ALOT more funding, or someone needs to investigate the allocation of funds they are currently receiving. Either way not nearly enough money is going towards the upkeep of these poor animals. The cages are horribly small and the animals look pathetically miserable. Dont waste your time or money.
It does not have the feel of a zoo and this is okay. When I was there last with my family of 4, including my 3 and 5 year old children, the facility needed alot of attention. It almost seemed as if they do not have enough money for upkeep. We went in early winter so this could have been part of the problem. The "pens" seemed small for the cats but the bears had some room to play. I would say it's just okay, it could be great with some better and updated display areas and landscaping.
Great facility. I went there as a child and always loved it. Now monkeys are gone bu replaced with animals native to Western North Carolina. Truly, a wonderful place to learn and experience animals close up. The kids will enjoy the many hands on exhibits and in interaction with naturalists.
If you are from a big city and expect this to be a zoo, you might not appreciate this facility. We've lived all over the world and seen plenty of big time zoos and we think this place is quaint and absolutely perfect to bring our toddler grandchildren to on their visits to Asheville. Its not a zoo, so if that's what you're expecting, you'll be disappointed. This little nature center is lovely, with wooded walkways looking down on the animals in a naturalistic habitat. Our grandchildren get excited everytime we bring them here because they see different animals everytime. The petting zoo area is also great. A wonderful place for small children.
Animals are in sad conditions and older cages. Exhibits are too small, even the nicer exhibits for the cougar/bobcat does not give them the ability to run like other facilities. Met director and he is a business man with little knowledge of animals. Lots of volunteers but they didn't have a lot of knowledge. Disappointed.
I used to visit the old zoo over fourty years ago when I was a child. It's become so much nicer for the animals and was a lovely experience although nothing will ever quiet replace feeding the elephant penuts as a little girl.
Nice and enjoyable way to spend a day away from the house. Most of the animals are visible and active except for the bear. He was sunning himself and didn't move. There are eagle, otters, raccoons, snakes,wolves, and a other assorted animals. Parking and walking are the only minor problems. Also in the summer time there is a nice park with a pool and picnic tables within walking distance. Excellent day trip.