Nature Center welcomes 100,000th guest, prepares for groundbreaking of new play area

Here’s the press release from the Friends of the WNC Nature Center group:

The Friends of the WNC Nature Center are thrilled to share the news that the 100,000th visitor in 2012 walked through the doors at 10am on Monday, December 3, 2012. Betsy Archer and her son Milo, members of the Friends of the Nature Center, were excited to celebrate this milestone with the Center and Friends staff.

The Friends Executive Director Kimberly Brewster presented Betsy and Milo with a basket of goodies worth over $350 that included an Adopt-an-Animal package and a special Engraved Brick to commemorate the event. While Milo enjoyed the plush otter in the basket, he was more interested in visiting the real river otters out on the trail.

Betsy shared that the Nature Center is “our favorite place in Asheville!” She actually read about the plans to celebrate the 100,000 visitor in her member newsletter. As a member of the Friends, they visit often and she even took photographs at the evening fundraising event Mountain Safari held back in May.

“100,000 guests is an astounding number, especially for a facility our size” notes Chris Gentile, the Director of the Nature Center. “Since the Nature Center has been part of the City of Asheville, this is by far the largest attendance year we have seen”. Gentile attributes the success to increased marketing efforts and new exhibits and events.

Exciting things are happening at the Center with the 2020 Vision & Site Plan well underway and the groundbreaking of a new playground and upgrades to the red wolf experience. Kimberly Brewster shared that “last month we were thrilled that the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina awarded $50,000 to complete the Red Wolf & Play project scheduled to debut in the spring of 2013.” The funds will go towards interactive elements that will engage visitors and share the story of the critically endangered red wolves.

Admission to the Center is $6 for adults ($8 for non-Asheville residents), $5 for seniors ($7 for non-Asheville residents), $4 for youth ages 3-15 and children age 2 and under are free, Members are free (join before you visit at

For additional information visit or call 828-259-8080.

The Friends provide support to the WNC Nature Center- Asheville’s Wildlife Park! Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) the zoo features over 250 animals native to the Southern Appalachians including cougars, red wolves, otters, birds of prey, black bears, and reptiles. For more information on the Friends of the WNC Nature Center, or to join the Friends and support future projects, visit

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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