Summer 2017 at the North Carolina Zoo: From Dinos to Rhinos, There’s Fun for Everyone!
ASHEBORO, NC – From dinos to rhinos, the North Carolina Zoo has all the bases covered for a summer to remember with new attractions that excite – and expanded attractions that delight – guests of all ages at the world’s largest natural habitat Zoo.
New for summer 2017, the Dino Bus attraction invites guests to take a trip back in time to see colorful and life-size animatronic dinosaurs. Boarding open-air safari buses, guests journey into the lush North Carolina wilderness on guided tours to see massive dinosaurs in the Africa and North America lands of the park. Whether a fan of the gentle and tall brachiosaurus, or the fast and furious T-Rex, guests see and learn about the behemoths that ruled the lands millions of years ago. Dino Bus is open for a limited time, through October 2017. There is an additional admission charge of $4 for the attraction. Dino Bus also is included in the Zoo’s FUN PASS*.
After a ride through the prehistoric past, guests can meander over to the North America Lake for a serene and relaxing ride aboard the new Dragonfly Paddle Boats. Using a bit of old-fashioned “pedal power,” guests embark on a self-paced, 30-minute ride around the picturesque lake that borders Marsh Boardwalk. Canopies atop each pontoon paddle boat provide shelter from the summer sun. There is an additional admission charge of $5 for the attraction. The Dragonfly Paddle Boats attraction also is included in the Zoo’s FUN PASS*.
Newly expanded for the summer season is Zoofari: An African Wildlife Adventure. This guided tour of the 40-acre Watani Grassland habitat was recently expanded to accommodate more guests. Guests board special safari buses for up-close and personal experiences with more than 100 animals including gazelles, greater kudus, ostriches, and rhinoceroses. Zoofari tours now run three times daily (during morning hours), Thursday through Sunday. Tours are often filled to capacity, so it’s suggested to purchase tickets and arrive early. There’s an additional admission charge of $20 for the attraction.
Once guests have experienced wildlife on land, the Zoo invites them to try out some of the “wildlife” in the air! One way to get really wild at the North Carolina Zoo is the Air Hike Ropes Course. For those wanting to challenge themselves physically – and mentally – Air Hike is the perfect aerial adventure experience. Nearly two dozen elevated obstacles test guests’ will (and skill) as they navigate across 11 platforms. They’ll be traversing tight ropes, swaying on swinging logs, bouncing on balance beams and weaving in and out of webbing – all while friends and family watch comfortably below on terra firma.
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Another favorite activity for guests to see at the North Carolina Zoo are animal feedings. And during summer months, one of the most popular to view is the American alligator feeding. Since alligators do not eat during the winter, the Zoo’s American alligator feedings only take place between May 1 and Sept. 30. During that period, these hungry gators -- which can weigh more than 700 pounds and reach lengths of 15 feet – are fed each Saturday and Sunday. Guests can check the American alligator habitat for each weekend’s latest feeding schedule.
One of the newest animal experiences for guests to see is the multi-level ocelot habitat. These small, sleek and spirited carnivores are known for their beautiful coats, keen vision, and sharp hearing. Once thriving in southern regions from Texas to Louisiana, it’s estimated the number of ocelots living in the United States today has dwindled into the hundreds, due to habitat destruction, loss, and hunting.
In addition to all that’s new for summer 2017, there’s lots more fun for all ages across all 500 acres of the North Carolina Zoo. From viewing the amazing polar bears to feeding giraffes from a specially built observation deck, the Zoo is designed to educate guests about animals from all around the world. An international leader in wildlife conservation, the Zoo features nearly 1,600 animals, more than 52,000 plants, and a climate-controlled Aviary with dozens of birds and thousands of exotic plants. The Zoo is open every day except Christmas, and special events are scheduled all throughout the year.
For tickets, Zoo membership information, schedules and the most updated information, guests may visit NCZoo.org.
*The North Carolina Zoo FUN PASS, available daily April through October, is $10 per person. FUN PASS offers unlimited experience opportunities at Dino Bus, Dino Island 4-D, Dragonfly Paddle Boats (first-come, first served) and the Endangered Species Carousel. (The FUN PASS cannot be used with other discounts and cannot be purchased online. Not sold after 2 p.m. Weather Dependent. Good only day of purchase.)