Asheboro, NC – The North Carolina Zoo will open to the public Monday, June 15 with some new procedures in place to help ensure the safety of staff and guests.

The biggest change will be the advance purchase of timed tickets for entry into the Zoo. Walk-up entry to the Zoo is not available at this time; everyone must pre-arrange their visit, including zoo members or those holding previously purchased tickets. The Zoo will initially open with a capacity of 2,000 visitors.

Guests can only enter and exit through North America. The Zoo’s pathways are configured into a one-way walking experience through North America and Africa wherever possible. This is to encourage social distancing while ensuring guests can stop by each outdoor habitat. Guests will see directional signs and decals on the ground to help them navigate the expansive Zoo.

If assistance is needed to get back to the exit in North America after guests have finished their visit to the Africa region, there will be open-air trams available operating at one-half capacity. Tram service is limited only to guests exiting the Park from Junction Plaza to the North America tram stop.

Throughout each day, zoo staff will frequently clean and disinfect restrooms and frequently touched surfaces. Additional hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout the Zoo for guests to use.

Important things to know before you go: 

  • Full list of guidelines for visiting at Please read before you visit.
  • No walk-up entry is available at this time. All guests, including zoo members, must pre-arrange their visit, including children under two.
  • Reservations are taken for three weeks out.
  • Credit or debit card payment is preferred.
  • The Zoo is unable to provide refunds for weather or animal visibility.
  • Guests are encouraged to bring refillable water bottles.
  • The indoor and enclosed habitats are closed at this time. This includes Aviary, Desert, Streamside, Polar Bear Underwater Viewing, and Ice Cave, and Sea Birds.
  • Playgrounds and Smart Carts are closed at this time.
  • Seasonal attractions including Giraffe Deck, Air Hike, Treehouse Trek, Carousel, and Butterfly Garden are closed at this time.
  • Our gift shop will be open with limited capacity, and food service will be take-out only.
  • If you choose to purchase food inside the Zoo outdoor seating is available with tables set six feet apart.
  • If you wish to bring your own food, you can picnic at our Solar Pointe picnic area before or after your Zoo visit.
  • Strollers are not allowed on the exit tram, except for folding, umbrella-style strollers that fit in the seat. Guests can also rent strollers at the Zoo, but these are not allowed on the trams. 
  • Wheelchairs and Electric Convenience rentals are available, and they will be sanitized between uses. There is limited availability, and they are rented on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Guests are encouraged to follow the “Three Ws” as outlined by the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services – WEAR a cloth face covering, WAIT in line at least six feet away from others, and WASH hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. If you are experiencing symptoms of illness, we ask that you postpone your visit.

Keep up to date with our plans by visiting our website at or following us on social media. We look forward to seeing you soon!


About the North Carolina Zoo

At the North Carolina Zoo, we celebrate nature. As the world’s largest natural habitat Zoo, we inspire a lifelong curiosity about animals for the hundreds of thousands of people who visit our Zoo each year. Our dedicated team of experts provides exceptional, compassionate care for the more than 1,800 animals and 52,000 plants that call our Park home. We also lead efforts locally and globally to protect wildlife and wild places because we believe nature’s diversity is critical for our collective future. The North Carolina Zoo invites all of our guests to witness the majesty of the wild in the heart of North Carolina and welcomes everyone to join in our mission to protect nature’s diversity. Visit to begin your life-changing journey.

About 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. 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 North Carolina 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