Take a walk on the wild side of Asheville at The Western North Carolina Nature Center, a 42 acre nature sanctuary not far from downtown.
The Nature Center is home to more than 220 animals and the largest collection of Southern Appalachian animal species in the world. It is also where injured or orphaned animals are taken who cannot survive in the wild on their own.
The Nature Center is very nicely landscaped with tree lined walkways. All the enclosures are designed to represent the native habitats of each animal. So, it’s not your traditional zoo.
One of the most popular attractions is the River Otter Exhibit. You can sit for hours watching these playful creatures jump in and out of the water, playing with toys and swimming around.
I was most fascinated with the black bear habitat. Instead of being caged, these black bears roam free with a raised walkway for visitors to get a close up view of these lovely animals.
There were also white-tailed deer, red wolves, grey wolves, and two beautiful cougars. There is a reptile house featuring rattlesnakes, frogs and the largest salamander in North America, the Hellbender. There’s also a petting zoo for the kids with sheep, goats and donkeys.
The Nature Center is open year-round, seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm. It’s a nice way to spend a few hours of your day, roaming along the quiet trails, seeing all the animals, and of course taking lots of pictures.
Dates of Visit: May 2012
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