Gov. Justice announces West Virginia State Wildlife Center reopens to the public

Popular attraction completes federal relicensing process

CHARLESTON, WV — Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) announced today that the West Virginia State Wildlife Center in French Creek has reopened to the public after completing a federal relicensing process.

“We faced numerous challenges and overcame several obstacles, but we fought tirelessly to reopen our center,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s truly amazing to see our doors open again, inviting visitors from around the world to experience one of West Virginia’s treasured attractions.”

The Wildlife Center had been temporarily closed due to a relicensing procedure through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). As part of the relicensing agreement, the WVDNR has enacted conservation measures at the Wildlife Center while staff works on completing a perimeter fence around the facility. 

As of today, the Wildlife Center will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults 16 and older and $2 for children 6–15. Children 5 and younger get in for free. Tickets can be purchased at the welcome gate upon arrival. 

“With affordable admission rates and convenient ticketing options, West Virginia’s State Wildlife Center is dedicated to providing enriching and educational experiences for families, students and nature lovers alike,” WVDNR Director Brett McMillion said. “I want to thank the folks at the USDA and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for their cooperation during this process and for helping us resume daily operations so we can continue the important work of educating the public about protecting our state’s abundant wildlife and natural resources.”

In addition to daily admission, the Wildlife Center offers annual passes, which entitle pass holders to unlimited visits for one year from the date of purchase. These can be purchased at the Wildlife Center by visiting a West Virginia State Park gift shop or online HERE. Those interested in group visits, pavilion reservations or guided tours should contact the business office at 304-924-6211. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

About the West Virginia State Wildlife Center
The West Virginia State Wildlife Center is a modern zoological facility operated by the WVDNR Wildlife Resources Section. Visitors can see black bear, bobcat, elk and historically native species that are no longer present, such as gray wolf, bison and mountain lion in spacious enclosures that allow animals to interact with their natural environment and exhibit natural behavior patterns. Each species can be viewed along a wheelchair-accessible, 1.25-mile trail that runs through a mature hardwood forest and includes interpretive signs that help visitors learn more about each animal’s life history, biology and relationship with humans. To learn more, visit

Directions to the Wildlife Center
To get to the Wildlife Center from I-79 North, take Exit 99 and follow US-48/US-33 East for 12 miles to Buckhannon, and follow WV-20 South for 12 miles. From I-79 South, take Exit 67 at Flatwoods and follow US-19/WV-4 North for approximately 30 miles to Rock Cave. Be sure to bear right to stay on WV-4 North at the US-19/WV-4 Junction. From Rock Cave, follow WV-20 North for two miles to the Wildlife Center.