ASHEBORO, NC - From safaris to Africa, to adventures in Borneo, China, Mexico, Costa Rica and the American Southwest, the North Carolina Zoological Society's 2012 - 2013 Travel Program offers exciting expeditions for every lover of the natural wonders around us.

These guided expeditions include up-close encounters with the elephants, lions, wildebeests and other incredible animals of Tanzania's Ngorongoro Crater; bird's-eye views of rainforests and whitewater rapids rides in Costa Rica; encounters with the elusive pandas of China; visits with the orangutans of Borneo; and swims with dolphins and whale sharks in Cancun, Mexico. Closer to home, the travel opportunities range from kayaking adventures on North Carolina's famous Outer Banks, to white water rafting in West Virginia, to hikes through the Mesa Verde Ruins and Navajo National Monument in Utah.

The Zoo Society launched the travel program more than 25 years ago, primarily as a benefit for Society members who wanted to travel with small groups of like-minded people and experience first-hand the plant and animal species and ecosystems they saw represented at the N.C. Zoo. All trips include top-notch accommodations, food and experienced guides. Airfare is not included.

Ten different trips will highlight the 2012 schedule:
* Outer Banks Kayaking Adventure, April 22-28 ($949/person)
* Borneo and Orangutans Experience, May 11-20, ($4,188/person)
* China and the Pandas Private Project, May 14-27 ($2,599/person)
* Yellowstone and the Tetons American Safari, June 15-21 ($3,990/person)
* West Virginia Whitewater Rafting, July 12-15 ($949/person)
* Cancun, Mexico Swim with Whale Sharks, August 4-9 ($1,527/person)
* Tanzania, Africa, Serengeti and More, August 6-17 ($4,988/person)
* American Southwest Adventure, August 26 - September 6 ($3,297/person)
* Florida Manatee Kayak Adventure, November 28 - December 2 ($1,089/person)
* South Africa Elephant, Sharks & Wine Tour, November 4-15 ($5,198/person)

Already on the schedule for 2013 are:
* Tanzania Safari, February 17-27 ($2,799/person)
* Nature Treasures of Costa Rica, January 18 -25 ($2,549/person)
For more information on any of the Zoo Society trips and other programs, call Jayne Owen-Parker 336-879-7273 or e-mail You may also access travel information on the Zoo Society's Web site,

The N.C. Zoo Society is the non-profit support organization for the North Carolina Zoo. The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee A. Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.