The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro – a zoo review

August 14, 2015 @ 4:53 pm
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North Carolina is one of those amazing states that offers a little bit of everything in the way of sight-seeing and travel destinations.  From majestic mountains, sandhills, history, wineries, and beaches, the variety of things to do in the Tar Heel state is fantastic.

I recently had the chance to visit one of the state's perennial favorites - The North Carolina Zoo.  Located in Asheboro on over 500-acres, the zoo is home to hundreds of species of the world's most amazing animals. 

The Starting Point

Every journey needs a starting point. For a trip to the North Carolina Zoo, that starting point is their website.  Every detail to prepare for a zoo visit is conveniently laid out on this thorough site.  Directions, maps, exhibits, tickets, attractions - you name it, you'll find it on the website.  If you want to maximize the enjoyment of your time at the zoo, visiting the website in advance is a must.
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Arrive with a plan

The North Carolina Zoo is a large, sprawling zoo with two entrances.  Having a plan for your visit is crucial.  Don't just let the zoo happen to you.  Study the map and plot your strategy.

If the kids are dying to see elephants, plan to start at the "Africa" entrance.  If polar bears are a top priority, park near the "North American" entrance.  There's a lot of ground to cover, so if seeing something specific is important to your zoo-visiting crowd, plan ahead so nobody is disappointed at the end of the day.

Speaking of a lot of ground to cover.  Comfortable shoes are obligatory.  If you're bringing young children, even if they insist they've aged-out of their stroller, bring it.  The walking paths are easy to follow and shaded for the most part, but there's a lot of walking to be done.  You don't want to set the young ones up to fail.  If walking is a challenge, there are shuttles available.

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Conservation and Education

Conservation and education is the recurring theme at the NC Zoo. 

In addition to the many conservation projects the zoo participates in, there are multiple education opportunities.  From school and group trips, to the kids zone, to online teacher resources, and to the zoo school program for high school-age students, there's an abundance of educational programs to tap into.

I'll add a small caveat here and say I have ambivalent feelings about going to a zoo.  For me, seeing these beautiful creatures in a confined area is a bit depressing. However, once I learned more about this zoo, its mission, and on-going conservation efforts, I felt much better about my visit.

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Exhibits

The exhibits are well designed to allow maxim traffic flow, but still give visitors the ability to view the animals up close.  There's also wonderful signage detailing facts and statistics about the animals. But let's face it, if you're visiting with young children, you probably won't have time to read it all.

In addition to the permanent exhibits, the zoo features special exhibits as well.  Currently, Dino World is giving visitors who purchase an upgraded ticket the chance to step into a truly Jurassic display of life-like dinos.

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Dining

There are three restaurants inside the zoo as well as seasonal snack bars which accept credit cards.  Due to animal welfare concerns, the zoo doesn't permit personal food or coolers to be brought inside the zoo, but there are picnic areas located outside each entrance should you wish to bring your own food.  There are also lockers near the North American admission booth for storage.
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Photo Ops Galore!

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The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro is ideal for day trips with the family. Plan your visit in advance, bring your camera, allow ample time for exploring, and you'll enjoy a positive zoo-going experience.

The North Carolina Zoo: 4401 Zoo Pkwy Asheboro, NC 27205
Open year-round except Christmas Day
April through October 9am to 5pm
November through March 9am to 4pm

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