With the final month of summer in our midst, this week’s family feature takes a literal departure … a rare trip beyond the borders of Lee County, for a short drive to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. With it’s close proximity to Sanford & Lee County and wide range of activities, this is an ideal time to experience the zoo’s many attractions. Ticket prices range between $11-15 for family members aged 2 and older, with discounts available for groups.
With over 1,600 resident animals and 52,000 plants, there’s plenty to see at the zoo. Walking tours provide the best experience for most families, and there are plenty of opportunities for rest areas, water, picnics and in-zoo food and beverages. The unique natural areas in the zoo that approximate North American and African habitats are situated about 8 minutes apart, to allow for a relaxed and entertaining experience. Strategically located tram stops throughout the zoo make it easier to traverse the area, especially for families where extensive walking is not ideal. The zoo also has special accommodations for guests with disabilities.
The newest big, and eventually much bigger, attraction is two female baby rhinos that were born at the zoo in July 2018. Nandi was born on July 2. A second yet to be named rhino was born on July 13. In view of the worldwide threats to rhinos, particularly through habitat decline and poaching, it’s important to note that the North Carolina Zoo is now home to 9 rhinos and is engaged in projects in southern Africa to help protect this beloved species. The 2 calves and 5 adults roam freely in public view, in the zoo’s Watani Grasslands 40 acre habitat. Two older rhinos live outside public view in a retirement area.
The zoo has numerous special events and attractions to enjoy in this special place, the largest natural habitat zoo in the entire country. The zoo is open from 9am to 5pm, April through October, and 9am to 4pm the rest of the year. This NC Zoo Map provides plenty of information to help you plan an amazing day, and of course, the North Carolina Zoo Website is also a great resource, filled with up-to-the-minute information about zoo news and special attractions.