North Carolina Zoo
North Carolina Zoo
4.5
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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About
We are excited to welcome you to the Zoo! Tickets can be purchased at the gate on the day of your visit. Face coverings and social distancing are recommended for individuals who are not fully vaccinated. Face coverings are required at the Acacia Station Giraffe Deck. At the North Carolina Zoo, we seek to inspire a lifelong curiosity about wildlife and a passion for protecting it. As the world’s largest natural habitat zoo, the North Carolina Zoo and its dedicated staff of experts provide expansive spaces and world-class care for the more than 1,700 animals here giving our guests the chance to witness the majesty of the wild in the heart of North Carolina. At the same time, our animal experts work tirelessly in the Zoo and around the world to ensure the protection of the world’s most amazing creatures and the places they call home. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
1,670 reviews
Excellent
1,063
Very good
411
Average
122
Poor
45
Terrible
29

Roy C
Whispering Pines, NC987 contributions
Apr 2022
A beautiful day, a wonderful zoo, and CROWDS! As always, the North Carolina Zoo is one of the best in the nation to visit. But the day we chose, a Friday in April when we thought there would be few visitors, was the wrong one. Apparently, unlike when I was a child, elementary and high schools were on spring break. It was crowded, very crowded. We were surprised. We heard that on Easter Weekend 15,000 people visited the Zoo. I think they all came back the day we visited.

We entered through the Africa end of the zoo. I had forgotten it was nearly an uphill walk all the way to the North America end of the park. Be prepared for that if, as I, you are older. At the other end, though, there was a free shuttle to take us back to the parking lot. Even if you do not eat at one of the many places for snacks or burgers, expect to spend at least 4 hours visiting the zoo.

On a sad note, their once wonderful aviary is permanently closed. It had been closed because of encroaching bird flu, but recently it was inspected. After 40 years in use, maintaining a high temperature and a high humidity inside has caused it to deteriorate and the structure is very close to being a danger and collapsing. The birds young enough will be moved to other zoos before summer. Those not able to be moved will be moved to an area away from the public to live out their lives in comfort.

Perhaps, however, the planned Asia exhibit that now seems to be moving ahead apace will, in the future, make up for the loss of the aviary.
Written April 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

boxturtle
Harrisonburg, VA17 contributions
Jun 2022 • Family
This is a fantastic zoo! We went on the first day of our vacation which was a Saturday and finding parking was a nightmare. We finally found a space in an overflow gravel lot and were pleasantly surprised it didn’t feel at all crowded once we entered the zoo. It is very spread out so be ready to walk a lot. The animals were amazing and seemed happy and well-cared for. My son begged for a slurpie which was a whopping $7 but the admission was very affordable so I knew the zoo had to gain more income somehow. We spent about 3 hours there and were VERY thankful for the free tram that took us back to the parking lot.
Written June 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Teacherswithfamily
Rutledge, TN70 contributions
Jul 2022
We assumed this zoo would be small because the ticket prices are cheaper than the zoo nearest to our home. Boy, were we wrong! We were there for four hours and still didn't see all the animals. If we go back, we will start on the African side instead of the North American side because we missed part of the African animals. (The grandchildren and adults alike were too tired and hot to continue.) Thankfully, we did get to see the chimpanzees in action (some of them got in a heated 'argument' which was quite a show). Overall, we were impressed with the zoo's size, cleanliness, design, and children's areas.
Written July 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Noah S
Mebane, NC80 contributions
May 2022 • Couples
When you go to the North Carolina Zoo, be prepared to do a lot of walking! However, the design of the zoo is such that everything flows together and you won’t get lost. Make sure to pay attention to the signs at the forks in the paths so you cover all of the exhibits. The entrance fee is reasonable ($15) and the entry process is simple and quick. It’s always a great place to visit!
Written May 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Julia M
2 contributions
Jun 2022
The conservation efforts and natural habitat enclosures or the animals more than met our expectations, however, unless your children are older than 5, it wasn't as enjoyable for them as the exhibits relied mostly on being held above so they could see and the distances from the viewing area to the animals was quite far for little people. The "fresh squeezed" lemonade is in fact, made from concentrate, very sour and outrageously expensive. There is NO REASON for concentrate lemonade to be $7 a cup! Fresh squeezed with the lemons in the cup is what I expected and would have been happy to pay for, not concentrate. I was completely appalled by this and my family highly disappointed. The gift shops located within the park are less than worth the time, the selection of actual zoo memorabilia was less than adequate and extremely high priced. Why are dinosaurs and mud trucks at a zoo gift shop anyway? There were no elephant paintings available, no homemade items, no ZOO related gifts or even gift cards for future visits and what was there was made in China at US prices. The animal conservation efforts are great, the walking paths are confusing too but nicely maintained. The park is pretty clean as well. All in all we had a good time but I will start in Africa if we go again. N. America was rather disappointing for the walking involved.
Written June 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Allan
Ohio38 contributions
Jun 2022
Overall the zoo is beautiful, tons of trees throughout the park and most importantly giving shad to a majority of the trails that go back and froth. We took the recommendations we found online and started by getting on the tram at the entrance and going to the central hub, walking down one side, taking the tram back to the center, and walking back to the entrance on the other side. Really glad we did, the kids would have not made the entire thing walking on their own.

We planned on stopping for like 2 hours on our way from Ohio to Myrtle Beach but we ended up in the park for over 4 hours including lunch and we feel we could have extended that another hour but we wanted to get back on the road. Exhibits were overall good and many were relatively spacious compared to other zoos.

Food that we had was above average for a place like this. Our only complaint really was the price of drinks was pretty high. $7.50 for a fountain pop and $4.50 for a small bottle of water is pretty steep. But there are water fountains throughout the park so I can't complain too much.

Definitely will go again next time I'm driving through that area.
Written June 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

6Sullivans
Seneca, SC35 contributions
Jun 2022
We had a great time with our grandkids over Father's Day weekend. The main thing I didn't like at the zoo was that there was an hour+ wait for lunch, and the food was both overpriced and poor quality. That's pretty typical of amusement park food, but at least you can usually get your expensive, not-great food more quickly! My only other criticism is that I wasn't allowed to go into the butterfly garden with my mobility chair. I can kind of understand that, as there are many inexperienced scooter drivers renting the devices, and the butterflies do light on the walkways. Big potential for crushed insects! But I have used a power chair for over a decade and know what I'm doing, so I wouldn't have posed the same risk to the poor butterflies. However, the policy is no mobility devices. So I wasn't allowed to go in with my grandchildren and family in my chair. I couldn't have walked/stood that long if I tried to go without it, so I sadly missed out on being able to enjoy that experience with the grands.

If you have limited mobility, be aware too that the zoo is very hilly. Make sure your battery is up to long, steep climbs! The tram that takes you between areas is accessible and can load scooters/power chairs, so you can definitely use that to save your battery AND your family's stamina. :)
Written August 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Aleyne M
1 contribution
Jul 2021 • Family
I recently went back to the NC zoo with my nephew after not going for 10 years and was very excited to begin with and I can happily say I was not let down! I don’t understand why people complain about the walking, it is a zoo and the trams are very helpful when you’re very tired and just want get back to your car. With the amount of animals they have in order to give them enough space you have to walk a lot and some of them may be closed for maintenance, but I believe that’s common sense and it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying yourself! Definitely start at Africa first! The first thing your likely to see are the Sahara animals and it’s a great introduction to the habitat exhibits, I was much happier knowing the animals had enough space then being able to see every single one one of them up close just for a photo op. If you want to see all 1800 animals up close, look for the feeding times or when the keepers answer questions. Also it is a zoo, and like any attraction the food inside will be expensive but that’s also common sense, so if you’re willing to try to get it through the entrance pack sandwiches or something to get you through the day!
Written July 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

travelingtips
North Carolina219 contributions
May 2021
I have visited the zoo a handful of times over the last decade I have lived in NC but missed last year and was glad to be able to return. I live just under 1 hour away and have a zoo membership. This is the first time went alone for some exercise and time away on a beautiful 70 degrees day.

I would encourage all N. Carolinians (especially those in short driving distance) to get a membership. It not only gives you free admission but discounts or fee admissions at a ton of other aquariums and zoos around the US - including a discount for Greensboro. Also, it helps the animals and the zoo's efforts. The biggest advantage of having a membership - is you don't feel like you have to do it all in one visit.

I agree with everyone's comments about the shuttle but I will also say plan ahead - you need to request your ticket online at least 24 hours in advance, make sure your cell is 100% charged if you are using it for pics (as there are no charging stations that I could find), print a copy of the map (that comes with your confirmation (as I found it helpful to have in my bag vs. relying on my cell phone), bring water for each person and snacks (as it is permitted and there are a lot of benches where you can stop and take in nature and take a break.
Written May 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Roger P
25 contributions
Sep 2022
The property is pretty. There is no doubt. A restful stroll thru a NC forest. And yet it feels like because the zoo has all this land, then why not have people walk 50 yards or 100 yards to get to the next animal habitat. Habitats were pretty average in design, in terms of signage and multiple viewing opportunities. Lots of messaging here, about conservation and protection of wildlife. Signs were not very consistent in design. However, signage to help guests navigate around this very large property were plentiful, making navigation pretty straight forward. Bottom line, a large zoo that could have been more compact, or used the land to display even more animals than offered. Go, but know there are better examples of zoos out there.
Written September 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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North Carolina Zoo (Asheboro) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about North Carolina Zoo

North Carolina Zoo is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM