For the Nature Lover: West Virginia State Wildlife Center

West Virginia State Wildlife Center, West Virginia© 2009 Blennerhassett Island Historical State ParkBaby foxes, or kits, are among the residents here.

On Rte. 20S, French Creek, West Virginia

At this well-kept parklike zoo you can see the wild animals and birds that once were—and mostly still are—native to West Virginia. The 329-acre farm was started in 1923 to protect diminishing wildlife and to pen-raise animals and game birds for release into the countryside. That program was halted, and now the place is devoted to education and recreation. Native wildlife wander freely in the fenced natural habitats.

The most spectacular of the creatures to be seen are the mountain lion of formidable size, black bears, elks, river otters, and bison. Among the more engaging specimens are white-tailed deer, coyotes, raccoons, and showy ring-necked pheasants. Wild turkeys, foxes, timber wolves, opossums, and other species are also at home here. A newly completed fisher exhibit provides a close-up view of the shy animals, and a special display of Jack the black bear will please past visitors. In addition, the wildlife center maintains a stocked trout pond open to fishing, and a spacious picnic area. Open year-round. Admission charged Apr.–Oct.

(304) 924-6211

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