Information on:

The Western North Carolina Nature Center

75 Gashes Creek Road

Our Mission:

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.


Emily Armstrong

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
We had a great time today at the WNC. The park is very reasonably priced, with me and three kids totaling $35. The staff were all very knowledgeable and engaged. All the animals had access to water and shade. The otter show was really enjoyable, as was the deer feeding. A few things to note for your trip: 1. Arrive as soon as the park opens, at 10 AM. Go directly to the large animal exhibits. You are much more likely to see them out and active earlier in the day; as the sun rises they are more likely to go into the shade and nap, which will make them harder to see. You can go back and do the indoor (air-conditioned!), exhibits when the sun is highest in the sky. 2. Pack a lunch. There is no concession stand on site. We brought a compact rolling cooler. There is a playground and picnic area at the back end/halfway point of the park, with restrooms and a fountain. I recommend stopping there to rest before moving on. 3. This may not be the best place for people with health issues. There is a significant amount of walking, and shortcuts through the park all have stairs. I did not see any motorized carts available. If you really want to come with someone who has a hard time walking, it would be best to call ahead and ask what they can do to accommodate you. 4. Have realistic expectations. It is a zoo, not a circus. If one or two animals are unavailable, it shouldn’t ruin your day. The whole place is filled with natural beauty, with song birds in the trees and the sounds of leaves in the wind and miniature waterfalls. You will still have lots to see even if a few animals aren’t available.

Kristin Donovan

Saturday, June 30, 2018
Super fun place! We spent a couple of hours here on our way south. Easy parking, good value for the price. Fun atmosphere and lots of nooks of interesting things to do for little ones. As with any zoo or animal park, the animals tend to be asleep in the heat of the day, so try to go early.

Amber Liedlich

Thursday, June 28, 2018
This was a complete waste of time and money. Most of the animals were not in their enclosures. So the animals we over payed to see we did t get to. There homes were small. like the made the, just big enough and keep the, just clean enough to pass code. This should be a free/donation only park for as much as they have. Also they layout is very non efficient. The say wheel chair accessible.. but we had to hall our stroller up sever flights of stairs all threw the park. You had to walk way out of your way where there were no animals to get to places and back track to exit the facility. Their "petting zoo” was a joke. I kept looking for it and once I was told this is the petting part I had to laugh. I was like are they kidding?! It consisted of a sheep, a goat, and two donkeys (a sign said not to touch the donkeys). I absolutely love animals and seeing them at zoos/wildlife preserves but I would not recommend this place at all.

Debbie Pharr

Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Great place. The animals looked like they are well taken care of. Our granddaughter loved reading the signs and learning about the animals. It took about 2 hours to go through it all. I would highly recommend it.

Xamul Vang

Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Great facility! My kids love this place. They not only have a great selection of local wildlife, but plenty of play areas for the kids as well. If you need a place for your kids to enjoy, this is a much more ideal than going to the mall. I recommend it for all parents. If you're a local, get the membership. Best bang for your buck and a great investment!

The Western North Carolina Nature Center is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media