How About Howl-O-Ween-ing with Live Wolves? - TribPapers

How About Howl-O-Ween-ing with Live Wolves?

The new Executive Director of the Friends of The WNC Nature Center, Kate Frost sits with Cindy Smith, the new Director of Development. Photo courtesy of WNC Nature Center.

Asheville – As Halloween approaches and fanciful costumes are chosen, why not plan to treat the youngsters to an evening visit to the WNC Nature Center to meet some live, grown, red and grey wolves? From 6 – 8pm on October 31st, those under 12 will be able to visit these wild creatures’ habitat and enjoy the eery sounds of a howling session. A little later, November 3 & 4th those older than 12 can enjoy such a session. But reservations are needed for both. Sign up quickly as these are very popular events.

How eerie is the sound of a gray wolf howling at night? Come to the Nature Center to listen and learn. Photo courtesy of WNC Nature Center.
How eerie is the sound of a gray wolf howling at night? Come to the Nature Center to listen and learn. Photo courtesy of WNC Nature Center.

Packs of wolves, who are carnivores and symbols of the wilderness, used to roam throughout the United States, as well as live right here in Western North Carolina. Now they are the subject of many conservation efforts, such as those at the WNC Nature Center. In fact in late April 2023, a litter of critically endangered red wolf puppies were born at the WNC Nature Center! The first-time parents Gloria and Oak are allowing these pups to be visible to the public. These pups are on habitat with their parents. How about treating your youngster to a taste of the sounds of America’s Wild West this Halloween?

New Directors Chosen: Kate Frost and Cindy Smith

The Board of Directors of the Friends of the WNC Nature Center welcomed Kate Frost as the next Executive Director of the Friends of the WNC Nature Center this summer. Frost has a solid history of nonprofit leadership. Prior to her role as Development and Marketing Director for Friends, she most recently served as Resource Development Director for Children First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe County and Development Associate at Givens Communities. After spending thirteen years working alongside nonprofits to serve young children and their families, college students, and senior adults, she made the move from human services to animal welfare, joining the Friends of the WNC Nature Center in 2019.

During her four-year tenure in Development for the Friends, Frost quadrupled individual giving and doubled special events revenues. She developed strong marketing partnerships with the community, including WNC Farmers Market, Asheville City Soccer Club, and Highland Brewing, successfully managing and growing the WNC Nature Center’s communications and marketing presence.

Cindy Smith, was hired as the new Director of Development for the Friends of the WNC Nature Center. Smith joins the Nature Center after serving two years as Executive Director of Jewish Family Services of Western North Carolina, where she helped to bolster support and enrichment for older adults and caregivers and expand accessibility to mental health services for residents of Western North Carolina.

Time to Build a New Vet Clinic

The current vet clinic is small and has worked hard to fulfill the needs of the Nature Center. It’s time to build a new clinic to ensure that our Animal Care team has the resources they need to provide exceptional care to all of our animals, whatever their circumstance. The anticipated cost will be around $80,000! The Nature Center provides a home to over 120 animals that are either regionally threatened, part of a nationwide conservation effort, or in need our support. For instance Samson and Bonita are red foxes, who were born in the wild. Found as injured kits, they were brought to the Nature Center at one years old. Each lost a leg due to their injuries They now have a safe home to spend the rest of their lives as ambassadors for their species.

The vet clinic is where medical treatment is administered, surgeries are performed, and the WNC team assesses the health and wellbeing of the animals throughout their lifespan. From immunizations as babies, routine teeth cleanings and weight monitoring, to performing diagnostic x-rays, WNC Nature Center strives to keep all the animals healthy and happy.

Support the wild animals you love by donating to: Every little bit helps. Your donation will increase the footprint of the veterinary care with a state-of-the-art 1,200 sq. ft. clinic; Increase the availability of on-site diagnostic services; enhance the surgical facilities for more complex procedures; create a comfortable recovery and rehabilitation area; expand the pharmacy and medical storage capabilities; upgrade isolation and quarantine areas for our animals. For more information about this project, just reach out to Cindy Smith, Director of Development, at

The Western North Carolina Nature Center

The Western North Carolina Nature is a 42-acre wildlife park sanctuary operated by the City of Asheville’s Parks and Recreation department and is home to more than 60 species of animals. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for its high standards and meets their requirements. The Center has greatly expanded in recent years with many new exhibits, such as the arrival of the adorable new raccoons, Grace and Frankie. The pair came from the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge and are only 4 months old. Perhaps visit the adorable red pandas, Leafa and Phoenix. Red pandas are currently endangered with several thousand remaining in the wild. Visitors love watching two playful American River Otters, Olive and Obi Wan, glide through their habitat known as Otter Falls.

One can also discover two majestic American black bears: Uno and Ursa, and see red-tailed hawks, owls, white-tailed deer and many other seldom seen animals. It is certainly a place for the whole family to learn about the many animals in our area with interesting programs all year long for all ages. It is open from 10:00 am – to 3:30 pm 361 days a year (closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Day). Admission for Adults and Youth 13 and older is $13.95 with discounts for seniors and younger children. Just go to for more information.