YOUR TRAVEL: WV Wildlife Center

A Beautiful Collection Of West Virginia's Animals

When I moved to West Virginia, in 2000, one of the things that I missed about San Diego was their incredible zoo. For years I wished we had a zoo in The Mountain State, a place to see God's wonderful creatures, and, later, when I had a son, a place to take him to appreciate nature.

We traveled to Cincinnati, Columbus, Washington, D.C., and back to California to visit zoos, not knowing that right in our West Virginia backyard is a great collection of animals that are native to The Mountain State or have been brought here.

Just outside of Flatwoods is The West Virginia Wildlife Center, in French Creek, where for you can see and photograph assortment of bears, bison, eagles, elk, mountain lions, and otters.

The West Virginia Wildlife Center has been around for decades. However, it's one of The Mountain State's best-kept secrets.

Gene Thorn is the center's director, and he has spent the last several months renovating the facility. He invites everyone to come spend the day watching the wildlife.

The West Virginia Wildlife Center is an easy day trip from Putnam County. Just take Interstate 64 east to Interstate 79 north. At Flatwoods, take exit 67 and follow State Routes 19 and 4 north approximately 30 miles to Rock Cave and Route 20. Follow State Route 20 North for 2 miles to the center. 

Weather permitting, the center is open seven days a week year-round, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A small admission fee is required April 1st through October 31st. However, it is a fraction of the charge at regional zoos.

For more information, please telephone 304-924-6211 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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