ASHEBORO-The North Carolina Zoo's newest exhibit, a group of five man-made geysers, already has visitors and zoo staff gushing over its authenticity.

The new exhibit, located at the Prairie Exhibit in the North America region, will officially open Saturday, Sept. 26, at 11 a.m.

Of the new geysers' five "spouts," four are smaller and erupt continuously, reaching two to eight feet in height, while the main spout bursts 20 to 40 feet high about every five minutes. A wooden deck brings visitors right up to this unusual fountain.

Built by the zoo's staff and private contractors, the fountain uses regular drinking water that is recirculated. An automatic timer starts the fountain in the morning and turns it off in the evening. On exceptionally windy days, the geyser may not erupt because of the zoo's water-conservation practices.

Across the planet, geysers are rare. Scientists know of only about 1,000 of them, and half of those are in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

In addition to its excitement and beauty, the geyser exhibit is designed to help remind zoo visitors of the importance of stewardship of our national parks and our public lands.

This exhibit was made possible through contributions from an anonymous donor to the N.C. Zoo Society and from zoo revenues.

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