Summer is almost here and now families are looking for something fun to do. We took a day trip to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.
It is open year round, but you can get a full experience of the zoo during the warm seasons.
Meshach and I have been to this zoo before, but it was such a better experience bringing Tristan along!
There are many exhibits and attractions that adults and kids will enjoy. We began our trek through the Africa zone.
The Africa zone will take you to a world of majestic elephants, rhinos, baboons, giraffes and more of Africa’s beautiful wildlife.
You could also join a safari through the 40-acre Watani Grasslands on their Zoofari which runs Thursdays thru Sundays.
Their Aviary exhibit is a sanctuary for birds of all kinds – from exotic to domestic, also including over 3,000 tropical plants.
Hop on the zoo’s free tram (or walk) to the North America exhibit where you will meet animals from different regions of North America.
You’ll discover all sorts of wildlife that can be found in many habitats such as swamps, prairie, desert and the arctic coast.
My favorite is the Polar Bear.
Endangered Species Carousel
Tristan absolutely loved the Dino Bus and Endangered Species Carousel.
This is not your typical carousel. It’s fun to ride but also features endangered species which was an eye opener!
Tristan doesn’t do well with the animals riding up and down so we sat on a very cool rotating seat.
Absolutely one of the best attractions at the NC Zoo! It was really cool riding the Dino Bus and spotting animatronic dinosaurs along the way.
There are two tours: Africa Loop and North America Loop.
Depending on which loop you want to start with first, either way your ticket is good for both loops.
Since we entered through the Africa zone, we took the North America loop from Junction Plaza. At the end it dropped us off at the North America entrance so we went back inside to view the animals in that zone.
On our way back to Africa (where we parked) we jumped on the Dino Bus at Junction Plaza and did the Africa loop.
It worked out great because it ended in the Africa parking lot and it was the end of the day so we were leaving for home anyway.
Dino Island 4-D
We thought it was an entertaining movie but Tristan got a little scared after two minutes into it and Meshach took him outside.
I liked how the dinosaurs seem to leap out of the screen and the occasional mists of water really made me feel like I was flying across the ocean!
Some other attractions are the Dragonfly Paddle Boats, Acacia Station Giraffe Deck, Air Hike Ropes Course and Zoofari: An African Wildlife Adventure.
If you have kids, they may want to see or ride something more than once (Tristan did for the carousel!) This is when the Fun Pass comes in handy!
With the Fun Pass, you’ll have unlimited rides on the Dino Bus, Dragonfly Paddle Boats, 4-D Theatre and Carousel.
Dining and Shopping
We ate at Junction Springs Cafe at Junction Plaza located in the center of the zoo.
You should really try their ciabatta sandwich, it’s delicious!
There are many snack bars and cafes around the park so you will not go hungry or thirsty.
You also have the option to pack a picnic lunch and eat at one of the picnic areas located outside of the park. Don’t worry, your ticket allows re-entry!
Need to Know
– Expect to spend an entire day at the zoo. They open daily April – October 9am – 5pm and November – March 9 – 4pm, closed on Christmas Day.
– Both Africa and North America zones will take at least 2 to 3 hours each to explore.
– Zoofari, Acacia Station Giraffe Deck and Air Hike Ropes Course are additional costs.
– The average cost of meals at the cafes are $8 for entrees, $3 for sides and drinks
– Wear comfortable shoes for walking! By the end of the day my activity tracker measured 16,000+ steps and 6 miles!!
– Bring water bottles, you will get thirsty if walking a lot.
– There are many opportunities for bathroom stops along the way.
– Animal feeding schedules and sessions with the keepers are posted at the habitats and on the zoo’s website.
The North Carolina Zoo is not just a zoo. They are dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and want to educate people about the world around us.
They also have many partnerships with other organizations including the development of software used for monitoring wildlife and illegal activity on protected grounds.
This is a big step in reducing the number of animals threatened by poachers.
For more information about the zoo, tickets, and special exhibits, visit the NC Zoo website.
Our admission, meals and Fun Passes were kindly provided by NC Zoo in exchange for this review. As always, opinions are our own.