ASHEBORO, NC – A friendly Super Bowl feud between the North Carolina Zoo and Denver Zoo is getting wild.

Zoo directors at both zoos are representing their state’s team by making a friendly wager. When the Carolina Panthers win Super Bowl 50 Shannon Block, CEO of the Denver Zoo, has agreed to wear a Panther’s jersey at her Zoo while greeting Zoo visitors. Block will also have to eat biscuits and drink sweet tea, like a true southerner.

If the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl then Pat Simmons, Director of the N.C. Zoo, will wear a Bronco’s jersey while greeting guests at her Zoo’s entrance. Simmons will also have to try to eat a green chili breakfast.

“This friendly wager is allowing our Zoo, along with the Denver Zoo, to have fun with Super Bowl 50 by supporting our favorite NFL teams. More importantly, it puts a national spotlight on our wonderful animal habitats, fun visitor activities and extensive conservation programs,” said Simmons. “The Carolina Panthers are worth the chance I’m taking and I have complete faith in their winning abilities. Keep pounding!”

Earlier this week, the N.C. Zoo took part in a rebuttal video that was in response to a video challenge from the Denver Zoo. The N.C. Zoo’s video response can be found at and the Denver’s Zoo’s challenge video can be found at

Friday, Feb. 5, media are invited to a photo opportunity as the North Carolina Zoo’s lions predict who they believe will win Super Bowl 50. Reporters and photographers interested in covering the event should meet Gavin Johnson in front of the Zoo’s Stedman Education Building at 9:30 a.m.

From now through Super Bowl Sunday, all Zoo visitors are encouraged to show support for their NFL teams with Panther fans wearing team gear receiving $2 off Zoo admission.


About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources 

The North Carolina Zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C.  Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit