Thursday, May 12, 2016

Western NC Nature Center

We finally had time in our schedule to make the trek up the mountain to Asheville and visit the Western NC Nature Center.  This place is a nice little gem to view local Appalachian animals.  Since we learned about red wolves, grey wolves, red foxes, grey foxes, black bears, bobcats, and coyotes at our Pisgah classes, I wanted to let the kiddos see these animals up close.

The center is conveniently located off of I-40 E in Asheville, NC.  It is an AZA and ASTC reciprocity member. So, if you have one or the other membership, you can get into the center for free.  The price for adults is $10.95 +tax and children 3-15 is 6.95+tax.  You can bring your own lunch and eat in the center or buy hotdogs, nachos, etc. from a vendor in the park.

When we visited there were a few school groups and many moms with young children in strollers.  There is plenty of space in front of the exhibits to not feel crowded, which is nice.  We walked through the middle level of the center and then hiked along the Trillium trail.  The trail is a bit narrow, rocky, washed out and needs some maintenance. It is not stroller or little one friendly.  The trillium and other forest flowers were in bloom and looked lovely.  The Swannanoa river borders the bottom of the trail and nature center.  Of course, the boys gravitated to the river.  It is absolutely lovely!

We enjoyed looking at all the different animals housed at the center.  The enclosures were very well kept and the animals were alert and healthy.  The boys liked the nature builder area with the pvc pipe and ramps.  There were several areas to allow younger children to take a break and play in the center.

The biggest thrill was the black bears.  They are mesmerizing to watch and the center has created a nice boardwalk area to view the bears from above.

We will definitely go back to explore more and check out the Wild Child backpacks!