Asheboro, NC - The North Carolina Zoo will begin its summer operating hours and open all venues Friday, March 29, to better accommodate visitors for the upcoming Easter weekend.

Summer hours, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., will continue until the end of October.

Also opening Friday, 'Dinosaurs,' life-like animatronic creatures that thrilled North Carolina Zoo visitors last season, are back for a second season with an entirely new cast of bigger, bolder and better creatures. Among the featured species will be the 43-foot Giganotosaurus, which will take the place of the Tyrannosaurus Rex in the new collection.

Additionally, all fun venues such as the giraffe deck, 4-D theater and carousel, along with both parking lots and entrances, shuttles and the connector trail, will be open.

For information on daily operational status, call the zoo's toll-free number at 1-800-488-0444 or visit the website at

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.