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West Virginia State Wildlife Center:  A Great Place To Visit!

  • Info
  • History
  • Events
  • Maps
Barred Owl

Wildlife CenterThe West Virginia State Wildlife Center is a modern zoological facility displaying native and introduced state wildlife. Operated by the Wildlife Resources Section of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, the Wildlife Center is dedicated to presenting visitors a realistic and factual understanding of our state's wildlife. Woodland wildlife can be viewed along a wheelchair-accessible interpretative trail 1.25 mile through a mature hardwood forest.

The spacious enclosures allow the animals to interact with their environment and they therefore exhibit more natural behavior patterns. Interpretive signs help the visitor to learn more about each animal's life history, biology and its relationship with humans. Group tours are available upon request.

French creek FreddieThe Wildlife Center is the perfect setting for a family outing. In addition to exhibits, there is a large wooded picnic area with grills and a shelter. Look for waterfowl or fish for trout, bass, catfish and bluegill in the well-stocked pond below the picnic area. A gift shop is available to satisfy your souvenir and refreshment needs. The Wildlife Center is a facility where visitors can see, enjoy and learn more about West Virginia's rich wildlife heritage.

CougarDirections:
Raccoons

The West Virginia State Wildlife Center is located in Upshur County in north-central West Virginia, 12 miles south of Buckhannon on State Route 20. From the north take exit 99 off Interstate 79 and follow State Route 33 east approximately 12 miles to Buckhannon and turn south on State Route 20. Coming from the south, take exit 67 off Interstate 79 at Flatwoods 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. Visiting the Wildlife Center is a convenient side trip for travelers on I-79.

GPS Coordinates:

N 38 51’ 28.6”
W 80 18’ 38.7”

Hours:

We are open seven days a week including weekends and holidays.
Subject to change due to weather conditions

April 1 – Oct. 31:   9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (exit gate closes at 6 p.m.)
Nov. 1 – Mar. 31:  9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (exit gate closes at 4 p.m.)

Admission:

Admission – April 1 through October 31
  Adults 16 and over $3.00
  Children 3-15 $1.50
  Under 3  Free
For More Information – To schedule a group visits, pavilion reservations, or guided tours, please call our business office at 304-924-6211 Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Pets:

No pets, except on leash in parking lots and picnic area.

For more information:

Call (304) 924-6211 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

West Virginia State Wildlife Center:  A Legacy of Wildlife Conservation  

Exhibition TruckIn 1923, the Game and Fish Commission purchased property in Upshur County and created the French Creek Game Farm. As its name implies, several species such as quail, pheasant, turkey and deer were raised on the area. These species were used in an attempt to reintroduce wildlife throughout the state. As our understanding of wildlife biology and habitat requirements increased, it became evident that farm-raised animals failed to develop the necessary skills for survival in the wild and these programs were discontinued.

From the beginning, the recreational and educational values of the Game Farm were recognized by area residents. In 1926 alone, nearly 6,000 visitors came to the Game Farm to view the animals. One large crowd gathered to see three elk brought by wagon from the railroad station. By 1927, the number of registered visitors grew to 20,000. Buffalo from Oklahoma were added to the exhibit in 1954 and attracted additional visitors.

A proclamation by the President of the United States and the Governor of West Virginia created a National Hunting and Fishing Day in 1971. This event was initially celebrated at the Game Farm in 1978 and continued each year until it was moved to the Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park in 1996.

A mobile wildlife exhibit stationed at the Game Farm traversed the state from 1974 to 1990, allowing nearly 250,000 residents to catch a glimpse of its unique tenants. Ironically, the original purpose of raising wildlife at the Game Farm had been overshadowed by its popularity as a tourist attraction.

Half a century after its creation, the DNR Wildlife Resources Section decided to replace the antiquated wildlife facilities and exhibits. In 1984, monies from the Land and Water Conservation Fund of the U.S. Department of Interior were used to begin construction on new exhibits. A new facility was dedicated in September 1986 and renamed the West Virginia State Wildlife Center.

For more information:

Call (304) 924-6211 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

List of Events

National Hiking Trails Day – June 6, 2015

The Old Oak Trail is an intermediate, mile-long hiking trail through old-growth forest.  Quiet and peaceful, you'll see 200-year-old trees, fields of ferns, and a stream running under bridges built from reclaimed lumber from the property.  The "Homestead" features a shelter from the reclaimed lumber and farming equipment from days gone by.

A living history demonstration by a Mountain Man dressed in period attire will be held at the shelter.  He represents men who hunted and trapped while exploring our country.

You can hike on your own or with a tour guide between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Regular admission fees apply and annual passes will be honored.

We hope you will join us and discover the best kept secret of the Wildlife Center.

West Virginia Day – June 20, 2015

We are celebrating West Virginia's birth as a state with something for everyone.  We will have crafters specializing in fabric rugs and deco mesh for the ladies.  A primitive camp and Anderson Outdoors will provide plenty of interest for the men.  And while mom and dad are busy, the kids will go on a guided tour of the animal exhibits while collecting clues for a scavenger hunt.  Later that afternoon, we'll have a treasure hunt for the kids.  The adults are invited to throw in their spare change and watch the kids claw and paw around looking for riches.  They keep what they find!

It wouldn't be a birthday without cake.  We'll have some cold drinks for you too.

This event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Regular admission fees apply and annual passes will be honored.

Spooky Night Tours – October 23 & 24, 2015

We had so much fun and such a great turnout for our 2014 Spooky Night Tours, we're going to do it again!  We are in the early planning stages but a few things we're sure of.   Hayrides have been a huge hit in the past and we doing them again.  Our guided tours of the animal exhibits start  every 5-7  minutes starting 7:00 p.m. through 9:00 p.m.   Last year was the first year for our maze and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  We're planning to have the maze again this year.

We welcome your group, just call the office at least one week in advance so we can prepare for your visit and ensure things run smoothly for you.  The office is open Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  You can reach us by calling 304-924-6211.

Regular admission fees apply.

Date and times are subject to change as we continue to plan for this event.

Maps

Click on image to download PDF map.

Wildlife Center Map

GPS Coordinates:

N 38 51’ 28.6”
W 80 18’ 38.7”

 

 


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