|Date opened||May 1973|
|Location||Asheville, North Carolina|
|No. of species||100+|
|Memberships||Association of Zoos and Aquariums|
|Major exhibits||Otter Falls, Appalachian Station, Appalachian Predators and North Carolina Farm|
The Western North Carolina Nature Center is a 42-acre zoological park operated by the City of Asheville's (NC) Parks and Recreation department. Until 1973, it was known as the Asheville City Zoo and was then renamed the Children's Zoo and Nature Center. It received its current name in 1974 when formed as a non-profit charity to develop the zoo which ultimately opened in 1976. The Center has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums since 1999 and its collection features animals native to the southern Appalachian Mountains. In 2013 the center welcomed over 107,000 guests with over 13,000 coming from school children on field trips to the facility. In 2010, the Center completed an ambitious 2020 Vision master plan and in 2013 opened the first phase of this plan with a new red wolf exhibit and Arachnid Adventure playground. A new front entrance complex, prehistoric Appalachian exhibit (featuring animals found in the region 15,000 years ago such as red panda, tapir and rhinoceros) and Appalachian Journey exhibit are also being planned.