There are so many fun things to do in Asheville, and only so many hours in a weekend to fit them. If you find yourself looking for a great way to spend a few hours outdoors, may I suggest a trip to the Western North Carolina Nature Center.
Nestled in the trees off of Azalea Road, The Nature Center is a quiet and peaceful place to look at many of the animals who call the Southern Appalachians their home. They house over “220 animals who represent more than 60 species.” From snakes and frogs, to wolves and cougars, to bears and otters, it really is a great way to spend a morning or afternoon. I’ve visited the Nature Center twice in six months with my now three year old. She doesn’t get bored because she gets to run and jump and look at really cool animals hanging out in their homes. Our favorite exhibit is the Otter Habitat. In her words, “Mom, they are so funny!”
The Amphibian Room is a really cool place to see the local snakes, turtles, and frogs. This exhibit offers a hands-on experience to feel the animal pelts and view the rocks and tree trunks up close.
The North Carolina Farm is a great place to get up close and personal with the farm animals. The farm includes a section where you can pet the angora goats and sheep. This area is monitored by a Nature Center employee and there’s plenty of hand sanitizer.
Just a few tips on preparing for your visit:
There are hills. We live in the mountains so this is to be expected, but it is wheelchair friendly. Parking Lot A is handicap accessible for those who need it. There are plenty of spots to stop and take in the scenery if hills aren’t your thing. To parents, I would suggest bringing a stroller. As energetic and excited as my three year old is, she still had spots where she became tired. The first time I made the trip, I didn’t bring the stroller and I wished I had. Also, the Nature Center is a great place to pack a lunch. They
have a picnic area inside the center.
I hope you enjoy your visit, and also hope you get to hear the white wolf howl!
Address: 75 GashesCreek Rd., Asheville, NC 28805, (828) 259-8080
Hours: Open 7 days a week from 10am – 5pm.
Admission: Adults: $8, Kids (Ages 3-15): $4, Seniors (65+): $7
*I took the information of hours and admission from the Nature Center’s website. I would suggest visiting their website to make sure the prices and hours have not changed.*
Tracy Tanner is a Mom. Artist. Photographer. Lover of all things on and off the beaten path. Retired Roller Derby Queen, lover of Alice in Wonderland & Doctor Who. http://www.writespeaksee.com