Tour the Zoo
It takes between 4 to 6 hours to see the entire Park. There are over five miles of trails through the two exhibit regions, North America and Africa. If you arrive mid-day, you might choose to tour just one region.
When you arrive, please check the animal status boards located outside the admissions windows. The boards will give you daily information about feeding times, keeper talks and which animals might be off exhibit.
The following animal guides are available for download prior to your visit:
At the admission booth, you will receive a free Visitor Guide. The guide includes animals, exhibits and trail names which correspond with Park signs to help you navigate through the Zoo. Download an Art at the Park Guide which shows the location of the public art collection on exhibit throughout the North Carolina Zoo. Download the tropical plant walk map or guide for details on the tropical plant walk in the African Pavilion.
Below is a suggested tour to maximize your time and allow you to see the entire Park in one day without any backtracking.
- Come early; the Zoo opens at 9. Park in the North America parking lot.
- After you pay at the admissions window, follow the signs to the North America tram stop located inside the Park.
- Catch a free tram or bus to Junction Plaza, which is centered between the North America and Africa regions.
- Follow the signs to the Africa region. The first exhibit is the Forest Aviary.
- Africa is a big loop. The Akiba Market is located at the bottom of the loop. Stop here for a restroom break, a snack and a visit to the African-themed gift shops. Continue your safari through Africa, and you will return to Junction Plaza.
- Plan to have lunch at one of Junction Plaza’s restaurants or snack bars. Children will delight in a ride on the Endangered Species Carousel and a visit to Kids' Junction, the kid-themed gift shop.
- Follow the signs to the North America region. The first exhibit is the Sonora Desert.
- This region is linear and its main trail will lead you back to the North America Plaza, where you originally entered and parked your car. Stop to have a snack, restroom break and purchase a souvenir before you leave.