With a national forest, a state recreational forest and a state park, there is a wealth of things for families with children to enjoy in Transylvania County this autumn.
Pisgah National Forest, for example, offers many fun outdoor activities. The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education has several programs specifically geared toward young people. In the center there are live fish in aquariums, small terrestrial vertebrates and native plants in terrariums, and mounted specimens of bobcats, owls and other birds representative of a mountain cove habitat. The center includes specific programs for young people that focus on the natural world. The center also houses the Bobby N. Setzer State Fish Hatchery, where for a quarter you can feed the trout. Fly fishing classes are also conducted.
To get to the center, travel four miles from the forest entrance on U.S. 276 and then take a left on FR 475 for two miles. Admission is free at the center. Call (828) 877-4423 for more information or go to www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/Education-Centers/Pisgah.
At 11 miles from the forest’s entrance is the Cradle of Forestry. The Cradle houses a Forest Discovery Center, which includes 15 hands-on activities. Also on the grounds are exhibits, including a steam engine. DuPont State Recreational Forest and Gorges State Park have many trails perfect for hiking, mountain biking or horse riding, plus trail destinations to many waterfalls and other sites.
The following are some of the many other options for family friendly fun:
In Brevard, Franklin Park has a wonderful play area for children. Basketball and tennis courts are open — and free — on the grounds of the Silvermont Mansion on East Main Street in Brevard. The park is open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day. The park also has a new playground.
The Transylvania County Library on South Broad Street in Brevard has several programs throughout the year while Rockin’ Bowl bowling alley (828-884-2695) on U.S. 64 in Brevard and the Co-ed Theatre (828-883-2200) on West Main Street provide other distractions.
The Transylvania County Parks and Recreation Department provides activities. The department’s activity center is located on Ecusta Road behind Pisgah Forest Elementary School. In the center’s gym, there are courts for basketball, volleyball and badminton. The center also has gymnastic equipment.
The Recreation Department oversees 34 acres at the activity center. On the grounds are softball, soccer and multi-purpose fields, a playground, horseshoes and shuffleboard facilities. For more information, call (828) 884-3156 or go to tcpr.recdesk.com/ recdeskportal/
Another popular past time is gem mining. There are several locations in the county to dig deep for treasure throughout the county.