ASHEBORO - Returning to a Halloween tradition of many years, the North Carolina Zoo will hold its annual "Pachyderm Pumpkin Pounding" on Friday, Oct. 30, at 9:30 a.m.

Elephants and gorillas will get the chance to pound, pulverize and eventually partake of pumpkins in their exhibits Friday morning. It's all part of the zoo's ongoing animal enrichment program, but should be a treat for visitors as well as the animals.

The elephants will be the opening act when they are released into their exhibit at 9:30 a.m., followed by the gorillas at 10 a.m. According to zookeepers, the pumpkins provide both mental and physical stimulation for the animals, allowing them to manipulate the giant vegetables and experience their taste and smell.

The zoo is located on Zoo Parkway (N.C. 159) six miles southeast of Asheboro off U.S. 220 and U.S. 64. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for children 2-12 and $8 for seniors 62-and-over and college students. Operating hours through October are 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily.

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