The Prairie Geyser
Have a BLAST at the Zoo!
The Prairie Geyser fountain is located at one of the four North America Prairie overlooks, and visitors stopping at the accessible wooden deck may see grazing bison and elk. The geyser has five “spouts.” Four of these spouts are smaller and erupt continuously, reaching two to eight feet in height, while the main spout will burst 20 to 40 feet high about every five minutes. On breezy days, visitors may catch some of the drifting spray.
Visitors will enjoy the burst of activity coming from this naturalistic man-made geyser here at the Zoo. Built by Zoo staff and private contractors, this fountain uses regular drinking water which is recirculated. An automatic timer starts the fountain in the morning and turns it off in the evening. On really windy days, you may not see the geyser fountain erupting because of our water conservation practices. Please note the geyser will not be operating during colder months.
Do geysers occur often?
No—across the planet, geysers are very rare. Scientists only know of about 1,000 of them, and half of those are in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA.
Why a geyser at the North Carolina Zoo?
This exhibit feature will help remind Zoo visitors that a renewed sense of stewardship toward our National parks and our public lands is important.
What makes a real geyser erupt, like Old Faithful?
The geyser effect occurs when water sinks deep into the Earth. At a depth of about 6,600 ft., the water encounters very hot rocks and boils, creating a spray of water and steam that escapes through an opening at the Earth’s surface.