ASHEBORO, NC - Known internationally for its naturalistic exhibits featuring living animals, the North Carolina Zoo roared to an all-time monthly attendance record in April tied to the tails of creatures that have been extinct for millions of years--dinosaurs.

After posting one of the busiest weekends in its 38-year history over the Easter holidays, the zoo closed out the month with a record 161,726 visitors passing through the gates. The previous monthly mark of 159,268 was set in April 2010.

Unusually warm temperatures and mostly sunny weather helped spur April's numbers. But zoo officials say there is little doubt a new exhibit featuring animatronic dinosaurs and the publicity it has generated should get much of the credit. Fifteen of the life-like creatures representing more than a dozen dinosaur species inhabit a forest exhibit near the African Pavilion that was created just for the first-time zoo attraction.

Tickets for the dinosaurs are $4 in addition to regular zoo admission of $12 for adults, $8 for children 2-12 and $10 for seniors 62-plus. But a new combo ticket that reduces the cost of the dinosaurs and other extra-cost attractions is also available.

The zoo is located on Zoo Parkway (N.C. 159) six miles southeast of Asheboro off U.S. 220 and U.S. 64. Hours from April through October are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call 1-800-4888-0444 or visit the zoo Web site at

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee A. Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.