ASHEBORO, NC - Reprising a Halloween tradition of many years, the North Carolina Zoo will hold its annual "Pachyderm Pumpkin Pounding" on Monday, Oct. 31, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Elephants, baboons and lemurs will all get the chance to pound, pulverize and eventually partake of pumpkins in their exhibits Monday 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 baboons at 10 a.m. and lemurs at 10:30 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 $12 for adults, $8 for children 2-12 and $10 for seniors 62-and-over and college students. Operating hours through October are 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily. Winter hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily begin Nov. 1.

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