Contact: Tom Gillespie

ASHEBORO, N.C. - With fun and entertainment each weekend-from celebrating animal birthdays to a "party for the planet"-the North Carolina Zoo will offer something for everyone throughout the month of April during ZooFLING 2009.

The merriment kicks off April 4 with "Feast of the Beasts," when visitors can meet and talk to keepers and enjoy animal feedings throughout the day. The celebration begins at 10 a.m. at the Streamside exhibit. Additionally that day, at 11:30 a.m. at the Forest Edge exhibit, the zoo will celebrate the 32nd birthday of Julie the giraffe, the second-oldest captive giraffe in the world.

On Saturday, April 11, visitors can enjoy "Eggstravaganza," a day when zoo animals hunt for treats in their exhibits. In keeping with the Easter celebration, some of the treats will be decorative paper-mache` eggs made by zoo volunteers.

Saturday & Sunday, April 18 & 19, is "Earth Day" weekend at the park. During the "party for the planet," visitors will learn about the zoo's conservation efforts and green practices and can take part in educational family fun throughout the park. Radio Disney will have games and give-aways, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Saturday at the North America Plaza. On both Saturday and Sunday, Rick Hubbard will perform his Kazoobie Earth Day Show at the African Amphitheater at 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. Also, inside the Africa Entrance, Randolph Telephone will be accepting old cell phones for recycling.

Saturday, April 25, kicks off the park's "Creature Comforts" celebration, when visitors can again meet the keepers and also learn about animal enrichment. A celebration for Terry the chimpanzee's 40th birthday will be held at Kitera Forest Chimpanzee Reserve at 2 p.m.

All the weekend fun takes place during regular zoo hours of 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and is included in the regular zoo admission of $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (62+) and $6 for children (ages 2-12).

ZooFLING is made possible, in part, through Signature sponsorship, Pepsi and Clear Channel Radio.

Also, coming April 6 is the children's fun, education and adventure play-area "kidZone," and the new SimEx 4-D theater adventure "Wild Earth Africa" opens March 28. Theater hours are 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. There is a $3 charge for the theater.

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