Whatever you call it, golden orb weaver, yellow and black garden spider, yellow and black argiope, writing spider, or zig-zag spider this large, common orb weaver is known binomially as Argiope aurantia. The one pictured has stationed itself at the Black Bear Overlook in Explore the Wild.
Its a bit early in the season for this species. I usually don’t see them until fall has arrived. They’re here all summer long, just smaller and more hidden, but fall is when most orb weavers become “pests” by weaving their webs across trails and garden pathways. This one has gotten an early start on the season.
Look for this spider just above and beyond the video monitor at the main bear overlook.
The pattern near the center hub of the web, called a stabilimentum, has been suggested as being a web reinforcement, camouflage for the spider itself, or a signal to perhaps birds or mammals that “there’s a web ahead, please don’t fly or walk through it,” saving the spider a good part of the day making repairs to the web.