What to Know About Boo at the NC Zoo

Written by Maria Morgan, Special Events Coordinator, North Carolina Zoo

The Fall season in North Carolina brings a change in weather and a call to break out favorite boots and sweaters for the adventures ahead. It is also a great time to get outdoors and visit the Zoo. As temperatures cool down, our animals become more active, and so do the ghosts, goblins, and princesses!  

We are excited to again be hosting our Halloween event, Boo at the North Carolina Zoo. Come and celebrate Halloween with us! As you enter the North Carolina Zoo on Boo weekends, you are greeted with signs of the season and music to get you in the spooky celebration mood. Pumpkins and hay bales throughout the park give you a sight of the Halloween fun to come and of the great Fall photo-ops for your kettle of candy vultures. 

This year's Boo will again be socially distanced and re-imagined fun for everyone! We will be celebrating for two weekends, Saturday and Sunday only! The dates for Boo are Oct. 16, 17, 23, 24, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Activities for Boo will take place in the Africa part of the park. You can purchase wristbands to participate in the activities at either entrance or the center of the park at Junction plaza. Wristbands for Boo are $8 per person at the gate in addition to general admission.  

In addition to wristbands, you will receive a souvenir Boo bag to gather all your treats throughout your visit. If you are an adult attending with your little beasts, you do not have to purchase a wristband and can enjoy the activities together. Due to the unpredictability of the current pandemic, we are not selling advance tickets for the event this year.  

If you are not a member of the North Carolina Zoo, this might be the time to become one! We are pleased to offer our Zoo members a discount, and member tickets are $5 per person. When you visit the Zoo, you can upgrade to become a member and receive the member discount for your Boo at the Zoo tickets. Visit the NC Zoo Society's website for more information about the benefits of being a Zoo member. 

Boo at the Zoo goodie bags

Boo at the NC Zoo souvenir bags!

We know that everyone wants to celebrate safely, and the safety of our guests, staff, and animals is our number one priority. The Zoo follows the CDC and DHHS safety protocols to determine up-to-date practices for event safety. Boo at the NC Zoo is an outdoor, Covid-safe alternative for daytime Halloween celebrations throughout the outdoor pathways. All activities are subject to change based on CDC and DNCR guidelines and recommendations. 

Once you have your wristband, you will follow the path and find candy stations throughout the Africa loop. These socially distanced trick-or-treating stations along the pathways will have a variety of candies at each station. We always offer peanut-free options at every candy station. Guests can follow pennant flags throughout Africa trails to find the candy stations or snap a map at the entrance to follow the fun. We are using large Halloween chutes to hand out candy into little trick-or-treaters Boo bags. You will find music, animal encounters, the Halloween dome at the Discovery Zone near the gorilla habitat, or a good time at the Pirate Treehouse at Treehouse Trek. In Discovery Zone, there are Halloween photo-ops and be able to guess the weight of our Halloween Pumpkin. At 3 p.m. in the Discovery Zone, the Zoo will host our costume contest for children ages 0-16, and this year we are going to have a group/family category. Winning costumes get a Halloween goodie bag, and all categories have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize winners.  

You might be surprised to know that even our Halloween candy is part of the Zoo's effort to conserve and protect wild places and wild animals. The Zoo is proud to offer candy made with sustainably harvested palm oil as an ingredient. This is important to us because palm oil, a major ingredient in many Halloween candies, is sometimes harvested in a way that results in habitat destruction for orangutans and other endangered and critically endangered species. You can be part of this conservation effort by visiting the Boo at the Zoo webpage to learn more about buying palm oil-free products.  

Gather up the entire pack of beasts and come in your best costumes. Keep in mind that adults may not wear full-face coverings or full-face paint to the Zoo in North Carolina public spaces. Don't miss this spooktacular Fall Zoo event for all ages.