UPDATE:  As of July 1, 2020, until further notice, the WNC Nature Center remains temporarily closed to the public. The Nature Center is working closely with local officials to develop a plan to safely reopen. This will most likely take place during Phase 3 of North Carolina’s Stay Safe COVID-19 order. We anticipate opening during the month of September and will update the website and our social media platforms as soon as a date is confirmed.

Open 361 Days a Year: 10:00am – 5:00pm, last entry 4:30pm

Outreach Programs

Let the Nature Center come to you! We offer in-person education programs within 50 miles of Asheville, NC. Our Outreach Educator will bring hands-on programs and living animal ambassadors to your classroom, summer camp, library, or retirement community.

Guided Programs

All Guided Programs are available year round! Select one of our standard offerings or contact us to discuss custom options for your grade, topic or NCSCOS standard.

Many of our programs can be offered virtually! Please contact education@wildwnc.org for more information or to schedule.

Opportunities for Groups of 10 or More Participants:

Small Group Programs

Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes (30 minutes)

Grade Level: Pre-K – K
NC Essential Standards: APL-3, APL-4, K.L.1.2

Different types of animals all have very different, specialized body parts, including us! Everyone will have to work together to build animals that fly, slither, or walk right in our own backyards. Students will play animal dress up, sing, and meet a live animal guest they can touch.

Run, Slither, Swim
(30 minutes)

Grade Level: Pre-K – K
NC Essential Standards: APL-3, APL-4, HPD-4, LDC-8, K.L.1.2

There are a lot of different types of animals in this world, and they all move in special ways. We’ll be moving about the room in animal fashion, discovering an author who writes about how animals travel, and meeting a special animal guest in this program focusing on movement styles, restrictions, and abilities of various animals.

From Eggs to Legs
(30 minutes)

Grade Level: Pre-K – K
NC Essential Standards: APL-8, LDC-8, CD-14, K.L.1.2, 1.L.1.2

From egg to tadpole to frog, the life cycle of our amphibian friend is often the first look at metamorphosis in the classroom. We’ll read a book about the life cycle of a frog, then spend a few minutes crafting an example of metamorphosis that the teacher can keep for the classroom. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet a live animal guest.

Fact or Myth
(45 minutes)

Grade Level: K-5th
NC Essential Standards: K.L.1, 1.L.1, 2.L.22, 4.L.1, 1.H.1.2

We have some amazing wild neighbors and some equally amazing rumors about who they are, where they live, and what they can do. We will be on our feet and moving around during our wildlife true or false game, where we’ll discuss snakes to cougars, black bears to box turtles.

Forest Sounds
(45 minutes)

Grade Level: K-5th
NC Essential Standards: 1.L.1.1, 4.L.1.2, 5.L.2.3

Our sense of sight is key to our feeling of security; we often fear things we only hear. Learn why animals make different sounds, how sounds change seasonally, and what you can interpret just by listening. Then we’ll use natural instruments to create a class soundscape for a group story.

Animal Habitats
(45 minutes)

Grade Level: K-5th
NC Essential Standards: 1.L.1.1, 4.L.1.2, 5.L.2.3

A place to live is essential for survival. Some animals have adapted to living in many different types of habitats and some have very specific requirements. Students will learn about habitats such as streams, meadows, and forests, as well as what animals live in them during this hands-on program.

Catch A Question
(45 minutes)

Grade Level: 2nd-6th
NC Essentials Standards: Vary by theme, see below.
There’s no such thing as a bad question! Participants will have the opportunity to get up and move around as we toss a ball covered in animal questions, as well as explore biofacts from relevant critters.

Four themes are available:

Reptiles – 2.L.1.1, 2.L.1.2, 4.L.1.2, 4.L.1.3, 5.L.2.3

Amphibians – 2.L.1.1, 2.L.1.2, 4.L.1.2, 4.L.1.3, 5.L.2.3

Insects – 2.L.1.1, 2.L.1.2, 4.L.1.3, 5.L.2.3

Mammals – 2.L.1.1, 4.L.1.2, 4.L.1.3, 5.L.2.3

Protect Our Wild Backyards
(45 minutes)

Grade Level: 4th-8th
NC Essentials Standards: 4.L.1.1, 4.L.1.3, 5.L.2.3

Backyards are a great place to start learning how to protect local wildlife! Participants will learn what a healthy habitat looks like, then work in groups to practice designing their own backyard animal habitat. We’ll also introduce citizen science programs as a method to participate in authentic scientific research.

Animals After Dark
(45 minutes)

Grade Level: 4th-8th
NC Essentials Standards: 4.L.1.2, 4.L.1.3, 5.L.2.3, 6.L.2.3, 8.L.3.2

Ever wondered about the animals that become active after we go to sleep? We’ll learn about opossums, owls, bats, and more during this nocturnal animal program. Students will learn to identify animal sounds, explore biofacts, and be introduced to a live nocturnal animal guest.

Owl Pellet Dissection
(60 minutes)

Grade Level: 6th-8th
NC Essentials Standards: 6.L.2, 8.L.3

There’s a lot you can learn from leftovers! This raptor-based program will teach students the basics of owl biology, as well as have them work in pairs or small groups to dissect a pellet collected from one of the Nature Center birds of prey! We will also learn how to identify the bones that we find inside, as well as meet a live animal guest.

Tracks & Scat
(60 minutes)

Grade Level: 6th-8th
NC Essentials Standards: 6.L.2, 8.L.3

Studying what an animal leaves behind is a great way to learn about the lifestyle and habits of local wildlife. Students will rotate among three stations to play animal track games and design their own track guides, as well as work in small groups to study scat models.

Auditorium Program – Fur, Feathers, and Scales

Grade Level: Variable
Program Length: 60 minutes
An opportunity for students to learn the importance of preservation and conservation through a one-hour presentation (45-minute presentation/15-minute Q&A) with two live animal guests, animal skeletons, skins, feathers, skulls, and more. Students have a chance to interact closely with live native animals and touch the many samples on display.

To schedule a program, please email education@wildwnc.org or use the Reserve Tab at the top of this page.

Program Fees

Schools, Home School Groups, Private Facilities, & Government Agencies – Small Groups 

  • $2 per participant. Minimum $100 payment required to reserve a program. 
  • We can provide programs for 10 to 150+ participants. Each small group is scheduled for a separate program time to maximize the participant experience.

Auditorium Groups

Within Buncombe County:

  • $300 per 60-minute session (9:00am – 3:00pm)
  • $450 per 60-minute session pre/post hours (before 9:00am & after 3:00pm)

Outside Buncombe County:

  • $400 per 60-minute session (9:00am – 3:00pm)
  • $550 per 60-minute session pre/post hours (before 9:00am & after 3:00pm)

Program Reservation Inquiry

Please submit the requested information to inquire about having a program at your organization. Submitting this form does not guarantee your reservation. You may also email education@wildwnc.org to see about program availability.