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

Reservations are not required, and tickets do not need to be purchased online in advance.

Join the Friends & Save!
Your membership can pay for itself in as few as two visits!
with AZA & ASTC
With free or reduced admission to more than 450 zoos, aquariums, and science centers, membership with the Nature Center is one of the best deals in the nation!
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The Membership Office is contact-free! You can join, renew, or purchase a gift membership online. Email your questions to, and we will get right back to you.  Want a call back?  Please include your phone number.

Member Benefits

Join the Friends of the WNC Nature Center to become a member today! Becoming a member is one of the best ways to support the Nature Center’s mission. 

Your membership provides funding and resources to support educational programs, animal care, conservation efforts, and facility enhancements. 
Memberships are not refundable.

Please call prior to visiting zoos and aquariums to ensure reciprocity.
Membership can not be used for admission when visiting the WNC Nature Center with a paid Group program.


Free daily admission to the WNC Nature Center and its seasonal events. New: Friends members now can enter the park daily at 9:30 am!

Nature Center DisCounts

Member discounts at the Nature Center Gift Shop, special events, education programs, and summer camp.

Discounted admission to 450+ centers

Free or half-priced admission to more than 450 zoos, aquariums, and science centers nationwide.*

*Reciprocity may change. Please call before visiting reciprocal facilities. We do not offer refunds due to changes in reciprocity.
**Note that science centers within 90 miles “as the crow flies” of your home address or the Nature Center may not honor reciprocity. 

Friends E-Newsletter

Subscribe to learn about member giveaways, upcoming events, animal updates, and conservation efforts in your inbox each month!

Choose the perfect plan for you!



One Year
Two Year

Includes all membership benefits for one person

American River Otters Obi and Olive


One Year
Two Year

Includes all membership benefits for one person and one guest
or two named adults
or one named adult and one child in the same household


One Year
Two Year

Includes all membership benefits for two adults and four children/ grandchildren under 18 years old

Barnyard Animals


One Year
Two Year

Includes all membership benefits for two adults and four children/ grandchildren under 18 years old
PLUS two adults 
or two additional children

Red Wolf



FamilyPlus Membership + 5 one-day guest passes for one year




FamilyPlus Membership + 10 one-day guest passes for one year

Red Panda



FamilyPlus Membership + 10 one-day guest passes + donor recognition for one year

eMembership Cards

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new eMembership Card! With this green initiative, your updated membership cards will be available on your smartphone within a week of your membership purchase!

How to Get Your eMembership Card:

  1. Download the eMembership App from the Apple App store or Google Play Store

2. Search for and select the Friends of the WNC Nature Center tile and touch “Find My Membership Cards” 

3. Enter one of the following:
      a) Your membership ID number and your last name, or
      b) Your phone number and your last name (if you have multiple phone numbers on file with Friends, only one will work)

 Please contact Kristen at with any questions!

Gift Memberships

Want to give the gift of Nature? We offer personalized gift memberships, as well as gift certificates for yet-to-be-named recipients.

To purchase a gift membership, use our regular membership forms above to choose the plan for your recipient; the forms include a section for gift recipient information and a personalized message. 

A Friends membership is perfect for the animal lover, environmentalist, or hard to shop for family member, friend, or colleague in your life. For any occasion- birthdays, holidays, special events- a membership is truly the gift that keeps on giving!

As with all memberships, gift memberships are valid for one year from date of purchase. Contact the Membership Office at 828-259-8092 if you would like to purchase a gift certificate or would like the gift membership to start at a later date.

Frequently asked questions

You can purchase your membership at any time on our website.

Memberships may also be purchased daily in person at the Nature Center from
10:00 am to 3:30 pm or over the phone by calling (828)259-8092.

If you choose to purchase a membership on the day of your visit and have already purchased admission tickets, we will give you a guest pass for each adult included on the new membership. Just visit the Membership Office to start the process!

If you opted in to receive paper membership cards, your membership cards will be mailed within 10 business days.

If you purchase in person or online, your receipt will serve as your pass until your permanent cards are received. 

In an effort to go green, we now have a digital membership card. To download your eMembership Card, go to the App Store or Play Store and download the eMembership Card app. Under Institutions, select Friends of the WNC Nature Center.  Click “Find my Membership Card,” then enter your Membership ID# or phone number and your last name.  Start using your card right away!

(Please allow up to 48 hours after purchase for our system to process your membership).