We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Book On TripAdvisor Bonus Book your hotel on TripAdvisor — then save 20% on things to do for your trip. Use code BOOKTOSAVE.

“Good zoo especially for smaller kids” 5 of 5 stars
Review of North Carolina Zoo

North Carolina Zoo
Ranked #1 of 20 things to do in Asheboro
Certificate of Excellence
Cary, North Carolina
Level Contributor
53 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Good zoo especially for smaller kids”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2012

If you have young kids and this is less than 2 hours drive, go for it.
Zoo is laid out in a pretty big area and most of the animals have space to move around.
The number of apes is amazing, gorillas, chimps, and other varieties.

Of the 2 sections, Africa and America, the African side is more impressive.
Elephants and giraffes are most impressive in both number and health.

Restrooms can be few and far in between.

Visited September 2011
Thank pralhadgoggi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,002 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
North Carolina
Level Contributor
24 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Love it! I make it a point to visit every year if possible!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2012

I have been enjoying this zoo for much of my adult life. I remember going once or twice as a child, but only really "discovered" it when I was 18 or 19. My then-boyfriend took me to the zoo because he was very passionate about animals and nature, like I am, and knew that I would love this place. I did, and have made it a point to return every year since then, if at all possible. I am now 27 years old and have a 4 year old daughter, who has gone to the zoo nearly every year of her life.
It is very well-maintained, clean, exhibits are nice and not "zoo-like" really. I am not a fan of zoos in general, but this one is different, no cages, everything is meant to seem as "natural environment" as possible.
There is quite a bit of walking, some if it mildly hilly, but not too bad. For young children I would suggest a stroller. Additionally I would suggest bringing your own umbrella-style stroller as it is easier to navigate and easier to fold up if you choose to use their shuttle service. The park also offers stroller rentals but those strollers are quite big and I have never opted to use them. One year I made the mistake of bringing our large jogging stroller. While it was a smooth ride for my daughter, better storage, and easy to navigate, it was a pain to fold up and store for the shuttle service.
I have learned through trial and error that it is best to go during cooler weather. The BEST trip we took to the zoo was in March of 2011, it was cooler weather (50's) but not unbearable, and overcast. The animals are more active during cooler weather, the zoo was less crowded, and the experience was overall far more pleasant and enjoyable.
If you can go on a weekday, this is ideal as weekends can be very crowded. We went on Good Friday one year and it was hideous- very hot, very crowded.
The park has dining at the entrances and at the halfway point of the zoo, the food is a bit expensive, as everything else inside the park is. I figure they do this to offset the cost of the relatively cheap admission (10$ for an adult ticket!). The combo tickets I've found were not worth it, there are a few "extras" within the zoo such as carousel, 3D theater, and a giraffe feeding/viewing platform. These extras cost about 2$ a piece, and it is easier to just pay for them on their own. Be sure to read everything because there are stipulations as to what time the giraffe platform is even open to guests, etc. You don't want to buy a ticket for it only to learn that it is closed by the time you get to the giraffes!

Something else I have learned over the years is that it is ideal, particularly in warmer months, to start at "Africa" and see those animals first and work your way to North America. It is also much easier if you park your car at one parking lot, and then take the shuttle to the opposite lot BEFORE you enter the zoo. This way, at the end of your day when you are likely tired, perhaps a little frustrated and headachey, and more than likely with a tired and possibly grouchy child(ren) in tow, you can go straight to your vehicle rather than catch the shuttle back to your starting point! I hope this makes sense as I've written it. The park has two parking lots: North America and Africa. I will invariably park in North America, take the shuttle to Africa, and begin my zoo trip at Africa. So when we are done with the zoo, we finish at North America, and can go straight to our car. I have done it the other way before, and it is just annoying to have to wait for a shuttle at the end of the day!!
*Note, in winter months the shuttle services is not offered parking lot to parking lot, but it is offered within the park to take you from one end to the next.

The park is laid in a way that is very informative and educational. There is an emphasis on conservation that can be seen throughout the park. There is a wonderful aviary as well as several walk-through exhibits (Sonora Desert, Streamside, et cetera). The animals are all beautiful and appear to be well cared for. At one time the polar bears they had were rescues from a Mexican circus and there was information about these bears posted as they still suffered lingering psychological effects from being kept in that zoo. I am not sure if these bears are still with them however, as that was years ago.

I hope I have covered everything. Over all this park is well worth the time and money. It takes a day to see and experience the park properly and I've found is best to arrive early (I believe they open at 9:00) in order to somewhat avoid crowds and large groups!

Visited March 2011
2 Thank DasMaedchen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsboro, NC
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“We love the zoo.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2011

I love to go to the zoo for my birthday...and I'm over 60. Animals are not caged but roam in habitats designed to be as close to 'home' as possible. Polar bears frolic in their own cool pool. Gazelles roam the African plain. The aviary is especially wonderful. Tropical birds fly freely while I sit in a quiet corner of the rain forest, relax and enjoy. There's no problem finding a quiet, private nook. I feel like I've just visited an actual rainforest.

2 Thank MizChill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
301 reviews
160 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 160 helpful votes
“Great Natural Habitat Zoo”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2011

Great Natural Habitat Zoo, But if you have small children it is hard to see some of the animals up close.

Thank Barbara B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cary, North Carolina
Level Contributor
54 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Natural exhibits- long walks.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2011

This is a great zoo, but it is spaced out over a large area. We have found that we have success by only visiting about half of the zoo at a time. We start at the bottom, ride the tram to the middle, and walk down the hill in Africa.

1 Thank Haley G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed North Carolina Zoo also viewed


Been to North Carolina Zoo? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing