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Wednesday, October 16, 2013
@ EducationSchool & Group Programs

GROUP RESERVATIONS (non-school reservations)

Each year, we welcome over 98,000 children and adults to our programs and exhibits. Our 43-acre facility houses more than 150 wildlife native to the mountains of North Carolina, our beloved Appalachians. During the summer season, we host a summer camp program that uses our educational space, thus we are unable to provide structured educational programs from June through early August. We do, however, provide two short programs each day on an animal topic, one at 11:30am and the other at 3:00pm.  Please join us for these free programs.

We welcome your group to our center with discounted prices.  Each group of 10 or more paying individuals will receive a 50-cent discount on adult admissions.  Children ages 3-15 are admitted for $4.00 each and children under 3 years of age are admitted free.  Seniors are also admitted at the same discounted rate of 50-cents off if with a group of 10-or more paying individulas.  Here are the rates for group admissions:

Infants (0-2 years old)   Free
Children (3-15 yo)         $4.00
Adults (16-64 yo)           $7.50 Group from outside of Asheville
Adults (16-64 yo)           $5.50 Group from Asheville
Seniors (64+ yo)            $6.50 Group from outside of Asheville
Seniors (64+ yo)            $4.50 Group from Asheville

Pleae collect all fees from everyone in your group so that we receive one payment. There is no deposit necessary.

Should you like to make a reservation for your group, please call Keith Mastin directly at (828) 259-8082 Monday - Friday or email him at [email protected]. Please make sure to leave your phone number(s) and an email for best communications.  If you are a school group, please read the reservation information below. We will send you a confirmation (with invoice) to you regarding your reservation.

If you are a teacher or educator, take a look at our 2011-2012 Academic Guide for class descriptions, competency goals, and how to make reservations.


Each year, we welcome 13,000 school children to our programs and exhibits. Come learn about the life cycle of a butterfly, where your breakfast eggs come from, or cultural myths about animals around the world!

Nature Center staff can assist in designing a program for students with a minimum of two weeks advanced notice. All programs are available Monday-Friday at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. (Note: No programs in May)

Groups are invited to tour the Nature Center daily, 10:00 am until 5:00 pm.

A minimum class size of 10 students (a maximum of 30) is required for any educational program. If any student has a special need and/or needs special assistance, please indicate at the time of scheduling. A reservation is required to guarantee group rate. 

To make a reservation, use the form below or call 828-259-8082, Monday-Friday, with the following information:

  • Name of school or group and name of lead teacher (plus email)
  • Address and phone number
  • Grade level and number of students and adults
  • Preferred program(s), date(s), and time of visit

Reservation Request Form
Please complete the reservation request form below, copy it, and email it to: [email protected].  We will match your request to the best of our available time slots and contact you promptly.

Reservation Request Form (pdf)

Home School Groups (Self Guided Tour)

  • Asheville City School (preschool-12th grade)          $2 per student or adult
  • Non-Asheville Resident Home School                      $3 per student or adult

Public & Private Schools (Self Guided Tour)

  • Asheville City School (preschool-12th grade)          $2 per student or adult
  • Non-Asheville School                                             $3 per student or adult
  • Teachers, teacher assistants, bus drivers                FREE

Classroom Program

  • $1 per program per student and/or adult chaperone

Teachers and Chaperones
Teachers and chaperones must stay with students and supervise at all times during the visit.  The recommended chaperone/student ratio is 1:5 for grades 1-3, and 1:10 for 4th grade and up. Safety and supervision comes first when visiting the Nature Center.

Payment due at check-in in the form of one payment for the entire group including students and adults made during check-in. Any overpayment will be reimbursed in cash. Payment is accepted in cash, check, or credit card (Visa or MasterCard). Make check payable to the City of Asheville. Any adult wishing to pay separately will be charged the full admission fee of $7 per person.   Anyone arriving late and separately from the group will be charged the full admission fee of $7 per person. Nature Center Family Memberships or any other affiliated zoo memberships are not valid with a group or school reservation.

If a group must cancel a scheduled visit, please call the Nature Center at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled arrival.  Groups will be charged full admission if cancellation is made on same day of reservation or not received at all.  When cancelling, please speak directly to a Nature Center staff person. A phone message will not be accepted as a cancellation. Call 828-259-8082 between 8-9am to cancel.


  • Please arrive and check-in 15 minutes prior to time of reservation. The Nature Center opens at 10:00 a.m. daily. 10:00 a.m. reservations may check in beginning at 9:45 a.m.
  • Only the lead teacher should check-in for the school group with the following information:  number of students, staff, and chaperones
  • Other members of the group should remain outside until check in is complete.
  • Please separate students into their assigned groups prior to entering the Nature Center.
  • Anyone needing the use of the restrooms immediately upon arrival may enter at once with adult supervision.

Safety is the Nature Center’s top priority for all visitors, staff and animals.  To create a safe haven for all, please do not throw items, run on the trails or make loud noises. Above all please DO NOT FEED the animals.  Visitors not abiding these safety rules will be asked to leave the Nature Center with no refund of admission fee. Teachers and chaperones must stay with students and supervise at all times and enforce the Nature Center code of conduct.

North Carolina Competency Goals
Click here for a chart of Nature Center school programs’ North Carolina Competency Goals scale.

SCHOOL PROGRAMS (August - April)

Current Programs

Cycles, Systems, and Sunlight: From the Farm to the Forest”
Grade Level:  5th
Program Length: 45-minutes
This program uses our educational farm as an accessible example of nutrient cycles and energy flows.  We will compare these cultivated systems to natural settings with an emphasis on the relationships between producers, consumers, and decomposers.   Students will grasp the importance of soil and sunlight to our lives on earth.  Further discussion will include our impact on natural systems and our responsibilities to them.

“Forest Sounds”
Grade Level: 1st – 4th grade
Program Length: 30 – 45 minutes
Our sense of sight is so very demanding on our sense of security, we often fear things we hear and can’t see.  Our discovery into the world of forest sounds links ecology, biology, physiology, and anatomy into one large lesson.  Follow our investigating team into the night as we unravel the clicks, cries, flutterings, yips, yawns, and crackling sounds that accompany the night time.  Visit with our education animals in the classroom as we listen to nocturnal vibrations and movements via audio recording

Wild About Wildlife
Grade Level:  1st  - 12th grade
Program Length:  45-60 minuteThis outdoor program with an experienced guide will give students an opportunity to learn more about native wild animals as they tour animal habitats and visit the fox, raccoon, cougar, bobcat, coyote, and wolf habitats.  Natural science concepts such as behavioral adaptations, food chains, communication and other survival techniques will be covered.

Snakes and Turtles
Grade Level:  Kindergarten – 12th grade
Program Length:  30-45 minutes
A hands-on session of exploration and fun for students to see and touch live reptiles. Learn the similarities and differences between common native reptiles.  Reptile ecology, biology and appreciation will be the primary objectives in class discussion with an opportunity to explore the display table at the conclusion of the program.  See page 4 for a class on amphibians:  “The Life of a Frog”.

Locomotion - Animal Movement
Grade Level:     Kindergarten – 4thgrade
Program Length:   30-45 minutes
This new program emphasizes how animals move using various appendages to transport themselves.   Students will sit on the floor with a guide who will release an animal in the center of the group for all to view their locomotion adaptations. Discussion and display will include reptiles, amphibians, insects, birds and/or mammals. This program will fulfill animal anatomy and physiology curriculum needs.  No venomous species will be used.

Nature at Night
Grade Level:  2nd - 6th grade
Program Length:  30-45 minutes
Nature doesn’t go to sleep at night so take a journey on a nocturnal adventure as students learn methods of exploring nature at night.  Explore unique survival adaptations of animals such as camouflage, hearing, sight, odors and much more. Live native nocturnal species will be presented in class for an interactive approach to learning.

Bugs to Butterflies
Grade Level:  Kindergarten – 3rd grade
Program Length:  30-45 minutes
How many wings does a butterfly have?  How many legs does an ant have?  Is a spider an insect?  How do insects benefit nature and humans?  Sometimes the little things are overlooked.  Take a journey with butterflies, insects and the natural world when students inspect live and mounted insects for a close-up look at this small class of animals.

Feathered Frenzy - The World of Birds!
Grade Level:  Kindergarten - 12th
Program Length: 30-45 minutes
Did you know not all owls are nocturnal?  What is the difference between a “call” and a “song”?  Why do birds rarely survive a broken wing in nature?  We shall present live raptors to your students while discussing their habits and habitats.  Camouflage, beak adaptation, coloration, feathering, nest building, courtship, migration, and much more will be examined during the presentation.                                                                

The Life of a Frog
Grade Level:  Kindergarten – 4th grade
Program Length:  30-45 minutes
Students and teachers will take a journey through the life of an amphibian as it makes its transformation from a tadpole in water to a frog, toad or salamander.  An artifacts display table, live animals, and mounts will enhance the class experience. Students will learn the stages of metamorphosis and the characteristics of amphibians.  See page 2 for a class in reptiles: “Snakes and Turtles”.

Down on the Farm
Grade Level:  Kindergarten – 4th grade
Program Length: 30-45 minutes
While exploring the Charles D. Owen Educational Farm, students will use their senses to discover the sights, sounds, and smells of a farm.  They will also learn differences between groups of animals, classification, and the common use and products of farm animals. Examine feedstuffs (grains), where eggs come from, and what wool feels and smells like, with time to explore the wonders of the petting area after the program.

Wild Tales
Grade Level:  Kindergarten – 1st grade
Program Length:  30-45 minutes
Animals have been part of stories and myths throughout history.  In some cultures, stories are the primary forms of education.  Today, storytelling provides a creative way for students to connect to the natural world and for them to use their imagination.  Gather around the fireplace in the log cabin and explore some traditional stories and myths using some live animals. 


~ WNC Nature Center ~ 75 Gashes Creek Road ~ Asheville ~ NC 28805 ~
Phone (828) 259-8080


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