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North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro

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North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, North Carolina NC

Description

North Carolina Zoo is a fantastic zoo with active animals and lots to do! It is located 75 minutes southwest of Chapel Hill, or 40 minutes south of Greensboro. It's quite a drive through nothing very pretty to get to it, but it's worth it because it guarantees a fun, memorable day!
The zoo, called a habitat zoo, is very large, divided into three main parts. A shuttle bus takes you comfortably between the three areas, which is great because it doesn't make many stops so it's a pleasant ride. The bus, called a tram in this case, but enclosed and climate controlled, comes every twenty minutes. It is one mile from the first stop, North America, to the second stop, Junction. And it's half a mile from Junction to the last stop, Africa.
When you enter, at North America, there is a gift shop and an attractive cafe with a few simple meals and some drinks. Here you can rent paddle boats and take them out on the marsh (Apr-Oct, $3 per person). Past the marsh is a trail that leads to cougars, alligators, turtles, and amphibians. Next is the Rocky Coast exhibit. Here, adorable white Arctic foxes delight you. There is a polar bear, but he was the only animal that looked sad in this zoo and I wished he was happily back in the Arctic. There is a pool with two gorgeous California Sea Lions that fight and fight, and two beautiful Harbor Seals with black and white speckled fur coats. They are amazing. Kidzone is a play area with a rock maze, rope bridge, and mud cooking area. Nearby, there is a wonderful whimsical playground. Continue further to see otters, snakes, fish, a bobcat, and a hellbender salamander.
If you take the tram at this point you miss a few exhibits: black bears, elk and bison in the prairie, grizzly bears, red wolves, the desert area with cacti, reptiles and a sand cat, the ocelots, and a honey bee garden.
At Junction, there is a large counter-service restaurant where you can order a chicken sandwich, chicken tenders, black bean burger, burger, or kids meals. It's nice inside and you can look out the large windows. There is also outdoor seating here, a carousel (open April-October, $3), and a 4D theater show (Apr-Oct, $3).
At Junction, check out the tropical aviary or conservatory. It's a delight! The vegetation is just gorgeous with palms and tropical flowers. There are poison dart frogs in tanks, and then in the aviary you can wander around with birds of the most amazing colors such as a Scarlet Ibis, with the loveliest decorative details like big plumes on their heads, such as the Victoria Crowned Pigeon! There is a rope course (open April-October, $12) and a bird show (Apr-Oct, 11am, 2pm. 3:30pm show is only on weekends, $3).
The lemurs were hiding out from the cold when we visited, but the gorillas were very active. We watched them do all kinds of funny things, like pull at a plant root and then tumble backwards when it came loose!! They get up close to the glass and its fantastic to see them so well. Chimpanzees also get up close to the glass. There is a nice climbing area for kids by the gorillas. You can walk a loop trail, with the Africa tram stop on the far end, halfway along. The lions are wonderful, sitting regal. When we were there, a motorcycle sounded in the distance and the big male lion started roaring. What a sound! Red river hogs are a bit boring, but zebras, ostriches, and giraffes thrill you as they walk so close. They have a beautiful exhibit, as do the elephants. You can feed the giraffes (Apr-Oct, 10-2, $3). We couldn't see much of the rhinos or antelopes, since their exhibit reaches far into the distance; to see them you must take the Zoofari open-air tram tour (Apr-Oct, leaving from Junction, Thurs-Sun 10,11, noon, $25).
There is lots of shade at this zoo, which is great in summer. And the deciduous trees allow for lots of sunlight in winter, when you need it. 
There's so much to do at this zoo, you could easily spend all day and still not see it all. We spent three hours, seeing mostly the area between Junction and Africa, and had a great time!

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Photo Gallery

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Marsh where you can rent paddleboats in the summer.
Marsh where you can rent paddleboats in the summer.
Carousel!
Carousel!
Junction has picnic tables and a restaurant.
Junction has picnic tables and a restaurant.
Bamboo along the walkway.
Bamboo along the walkway.
Flamingos!
Flamingos!
Scarlet Ibis in the forest aviary.
Scarlet Ibis in the forest aviary.
Flowers in the forest aviary.
Flowers in the forest aviary.

Stream and tropical vegetation in the forest aviary.
Stream and tropical vegetation in the forest aviary.
Victoria Crowned Pigeon in a tree, in the forest aviary.
Victoria Crowned Pigeon in a tree, in the forest aviary.
Walkway in the forest aviary.
Walkway in the forest aviary.
Colorful bird in the forest aviary.
Colorful bird in the forest aviary.
Looking up at the conservatory ceiling, in the forest aviary.
Looking up at the conservatory ceiling, in the forest aviary.
Tropical flowers that remind me of Hawaii.
Tropical flowers that remind me of Hawaii.
I love the trees in the forest aviary!
I love the trees in the forest aviary!
Red anthurium and white tropical flower.
Red anthurium and white tropical flower.
Victoria Crowned Pigeons in a tree.
Victoria Crowned Pigeons in a tree.
Kids playing on the climbing area by the gorillas.
Kids playing on the climbing area by the gorillas.
Gorillas interacting.
Gorillas interacting.
Big discussion in the gorilla exhibit.
Big discussion in the gorilla exhibit.
Gorilla looknig our way.
Gorilla looknig our way.
Ropes course, open in summer.
Ropes course, open in summer.
Chimpanzee looking through the glass.
Chimpanzee looking through the glass.
Kids and chimpanzees hanging out.
Kids and chimpanzees hanging out.
A chimp laying on a tree.
A chimp laying on a tree.
Lion looking majestic.
Lion looking majestic.
Lion on a rock in the sun.
Lion on a rock in the sun.
Beautiful lion.
Beautiful lion.
Zebra coming up close, running down into a gully.
Zebra coming up close, running down into a gully.
Lion roaring!!
Lion roaring!!
Chimpanzees hanging out in the grass.
Chimpanzees hanging out in the grass.
Giraffe looking at us!
Giraffe looking at us!
Zebra and termite hills.
Zebra and termite hills.
Zebra and giraffes.
Zebra and giraffes.
Ostrich and zebra!
Ostrich and zebra!
Real life board game!
Real life board game!
The elephant habitat.
The elephant habitat.
Elephant.
Elephant.
Rhino sculpture.
Rhino sculpture.
Antelopes in the distance.
Antelopes in the distance.
Muddy safari jeep sculpture.
Muddy safari jeep sculpture.
California Sea Lions.
California Sea Lions.
California Sea Lion about to fight.
California Sea Lion about to fight.
Fighting.
Fighting.
Seal sculpture.
Seal sculpture.
Harbor Seal with speckled coat.
Harbor Seal with speckled coat.
A harbor seal swims by.
A harbor seal swims by.
Rocks in the Kidzone area.
Rocks in the Kidzone area.
Mud Cafe, in the Kidzone area, and rope bridge above.
Mud Cafe, in the Kidzone area, and rope bridge above.
Garden-themed playground. A ton of fun!
Garden-themed playground. A ton of fun!
Arctic fox. I love this guy.
Arctic fox. I love this guy.

Directions

North Carolina Zoo is located at 4401 Zoo Pkwy, Asheboro, NC 27205.
Open daily 9-4. Closed Dec 25.
Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, and $11 for children aged 2-12. The zoo accepts some reciprocal museum passes, so ask about them.
You can purchase Fun Tickets for the various additional activities (April-October), which cost $3 each, or $9 for a book of four.
You park in North America parking lot. April-October, the Africa parking lot is open as well. 

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Last Updated: Tue, 25 Dec 2018 02:16:40 GMT