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Family FunNC State Parks + Nature Centers

Experienced the flora, fauna, and wildlife of the Western North Carolina mountains and the Southern Appalachians up close at the Western NC Nature Center. The center is home to more than 60 species of animals and several hundred species of plants on 42 acres of award-winning habitats. The center is open 7 days a week, 361 days a year (closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, & New Year’s Day), and tickets can be purchased online or in person until 3:30 the day of your visit. The WNC Nature Center hosts several events and special programs throughout the year: 

  • Wild Walks & Junior Wild Walks-Monthly events for children and adults to go behind the scenes to see the Nature Center. 
  • Wolf Howl-Program that takes place in the fall for children and adults to learn about the red and gray wolves of North America then visit their habitats after dark. 
  • Night at the Nature Center-Program that takes place in the spring for children and adults to learn about nocturnal species in the region then visit them as the sun sets. 
  • Painting with the Animals-An early spring event that takes you through a step-by-step instruction for painting one of the animals at the Nature Center. 
  • Holiday Critter Check-Up-An event that takes place in December where your child can bring their favorite stuffed animal to the Nature Center for a check-up with their volunteer veterinarian and vet assistants. 
  • Brews & Bears-An after-hours summer event series (takes place the second Friday of May, June, July, and August) that allows you to explore the Nature Center with a beer, cider, or wine in hand. The big draw of this event is the popsicle enrichment for the resident black bears Uno and Ursa. 
  • Running of the Goats 5K & Nature Walk-An event that takes place in late April, you and your entire family can run wild in and around the WNC Nature Center while supporting the animals you love. Resident goats Roddy, Bryan, Swiss and Alpine, and Bill and Ted will be there to cheer you on. 

Find more information about operating hours, conservation projects, and daily animal programs here

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