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 barnyard area. 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!
Learn more about the project at

Support the Future of the Nature Center with a Legacy Gift

A grandfather and his granddaughter at the Nature Center.

There’s something special about taking your children, and then your children’s children, to the Nature Center. Seeing the animals and play areas through their eyes helps you rediscover memories that had long been stored away. There’s a sense of belonging, and a beautiful knowledge that one day, this little one might just carry on the tradition and visit the Nature Center with their own children.

In a few years, the WNC Nature Center will celebrate its 50th anniversary. How do we make sure it is still here and thriving for the next 50 years? The long and short of it is that we cannot, unless we give a gift beyond our lifetimes. The Friends of the WNC Nature Center have a Legacy Giving program to help ensure future generations get to experience the plants and animals of the Southern Appalachians Mountains firsthand at the Nature Center.

There are many charitable planned giving options available to you, including naming the Friends of the WNC Nature Center as a beneficiary of your last will and testament, life insurance policy, or retirement plan. If you have decided to include the Friends in your estate plans, please let us know!

To leave a gift in your will, simply share this sentence with your attorney or financial planner: “I bequeath $___ or ___% of my estate to The Friends of the WNC Nature Center (Tax ID #23-7412910), PO Box 19151, Asheville, NC 28815.

By naming the Friends of the WNC Nature Center as a beneficiary, you help prepare us for every challenge and let us plan for the future. If you need additional information about the Friends of the WNC Nature Center, please contact the Development Office at 828-298-0182 or by email.

A Gift to Remember

Dr. Steven Alan Williams (1956-2019), was simply a wonderful person who loved animals – especially Willie and Max, his miniature Schnauzer rescues. An Asheville native, he deeply appreciated the Nature Center throughout his life and believed in its mission of conservation and education in support of native Appalachian species. 

Steven graduated from Asheville High School, obtained his bachelor’s degree at Mars Hill College, and then his masters and doctorate in music arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was awarded the Prix d’Excellence in 1980 while studying under Marie-Claire Alain at the Conservatoire National de Musique in France. Steven worked at Warren Wilson College as the chapel and college organist while serving as faculty member and Chair of the Music Department. Steven had a rich and varied personal life. He will be remembered for his keen sense of humor and his unfailing love and dedication to his many dear friends near and far.

With his generous estate gift, Steven helped The Friends of the WNC Nature Center weather the financial storm that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, which temporarily closed the Nature Center for six months.

Steven built his career on his love for music, being an exceptional musician, teacher, and mentor throughout his life. Steven was able to realize that the symphony of his life was coming to an end, and he chose to leave a legacy gift to the Friends of the WNC Nature Center that would resonate for years to come. We are so grateful for his foresight in planning this gift and his generosity which was evident in all areas of his life.