Open 361 Days a Year: Admissions 10:00am – 3:30pm; park closes at 4:30pm

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Construction is in progress around our barn. During this time, our barnyard animals will be interacting with new habitats inside and outside of the barn and receiving daily enrichment. Please bear with us while we make improvements for our animals and guests!
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Red Panda

Ailurus fulgens

Appearance: Red pandas are, as named, covered in red fur with patches of black and white around their face and legs.

Behavior: These animals spend most of their lives in trees and even sleep aloft.

History: The red panda’s ancient cousin once lived in the Western North Carolina region. Bristol’s Panda (Pristinailurus bristoli) is an ancient North American relative of the living red panda whose fossils have been discovered at the Gray Archeological Site in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee. Western North Carolina’s climate and ecosystem is almost identical to the lower mountain forests of Central Asia where red pandas currently live. The red panda is an endangered species with less than 10,000 (possibly as few as 2,500) of them in the wild. Their natural space is shrinking as more and more forests are destroyed by logging and the spread of agriculture.

Range: They are native to Asia’s forest eastern Himalayas and southwestern China.

Diet: Bamboo makes up around 90% of the red panda’s diet, with the other 10% consisting of roots, succulent grasses, fruit, insects, and grubs.

Leafa the Red Panda


Date of Birth: June 11, 2009

Leafa was born at the Red River Zoo in Fargo, North Dakota. She is part of the AZA Species Survival Program and has had a total of 8 cubs! Leafa is more blonde than Phoenix.


Date of Birth: June 13, 2011

Phoenix was born at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Canada and came to the WNC Nature Center with Leafa in 2018.

Meet our other animals

American Black Bear

American Black Bear

Generally shy and reclusive animals, black bears avoid human contact and are not normally aggressive. Two black bears, Uno and Ursa, live at the Nature Center.

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Red Wolf Karma

American Red Wolf

Red wolves are highly endangered species that has been eliminated from almost all of its natural range. Our breeding pair of red wolves, Oak and Gloria, are part of the AZA Species Survival Plan.

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American Pygmy Goat

American Pygmy Goat

Similar to the Nigerian dwarf goat, the American pygmy is a small goat that only reaches 1-2 feet in height. They vary widely in coloration including white, tan, caramel, gray, and black.

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