Last week Chris and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. It's become a tradition the last few years that he takes that week off of work, and we give each other the gift of (family) time together. Usually that week is our annual camping trip to Aspen Campground. However, given our new location, that was not possible this year. Camping in the summer in the Carolinas = heat, humidity, creepy bugs, and lots of them!
Second best? Exploring our NEW mountains! That's right folks, the family headed to Asheville!
Upon our arrival, it was shortly after lunch. We had a few hours, and didn't want to venture too far....or spend a ton on an attraction when we only had a couple hours before it closed. We decided to visit the Western NC Nature Center. Bonus: free admission as part of our Zoo Reciprocal Pass!
The kids were excited about the petting zoo. (which was really very small, but the rest made up for it) The center was located on a hillside, with switch back trails and stairs between 4 levels.
..and this is NEVER a good sign to see at a PETTING ZOO! Seriously?
They were nice little donkeys, and they let us pet them. We made sure to keep our hands above eye level....no donkey bites! We also pet some black (and white) sheep, fed some cute little chickens and tried to stay as far away from the freaky goats as possible. (seriously, is it just me, or are those things evil?)
Poor Sydney was so sad her arms weren't longer!
The kids LOVED the Butterfly Garden! It was one of the largest and most beautiful I've seen since Costa Rica! The attendant even sprayed their hands with sugar water so the butterflies would land on them.
These huge moths were so cool, and really liked Gunnar!
This Black Bear kept hiding from us, we were above him on a wood walkway. SO COOL to see them in a more natural habitat than a traditional zoo.
I love turtles! I didn't get any pictures, but they had the coolest River Otters that were playing like the most energetic 3 year olds you've ever seen!
They also had gray and red wolves in a large natural habitat that we could walk around. It was hard to get good pictures through the glass and fence though.
And, of course, we had to take a group pic on the tractor! ;)
I was really surprised at how well put together this out of the way place was. Seriously! It's a gem! We'll be back next time we're in the area.
Stay tuned for Day 2, Mt. Mitchell!