We are excited to welcome guests to the North Carolina Zoo! Our top priority is the safety and health of our guests, members, staff, and of course, the animals in our care.

Our re-imagined experience brings families and friends back to the Zoo for an outdoor experience. We are limiting the number of guests per day, using timed ticketing in order to allow guests as much space as possible through our 500-acre park. With over five miles of wooded pathways, we have plenty of room for everyone to roam! Zoo Map during COVID-19

The Zoo adheres to the safety and health procedures in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the NC Department of Health and Human Services, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Additionally, staff have completed the state’s “Count on Me NC” courses as a commitment to making North Carolina healthier for all of us. Find out more about this program https://countonmenc.org/

As the public returns to the North Carolina Zoo, we have put these safeguards in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19:

Rigorous Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • Zoo staff are cleaning and sanitizing restrooms, dining areas, trams, and frequently touched surfaces throughout the day.
  • Disinfecting products are thoroughly reviewed to make sure they adhere to CDC guidelines for effectiveness and staff are trained to use these products accordingly.
  • Additional hand sanitizer stations are placed throughout the Zoo for your convenience.

Social Distancing

  • Timed entry and limited capacity per day to promote social distancing.
  • Dining tables and benches are placed six feet apart for social distancing.
  • Acrylic barriers are in place at guest and staff interaction areas.
  • Social distancing markers are placed at all animal viewing areas to help remind guests to keep a safe distance from other groups.

Keeper Talks and Educational Programs

  • Educational programs and events are cancelled to prevent large gatherings of people.
  • Keeper talks and Smart Carts are temporarily suspended.
  • Warnings signs are placed on high-touch areas, such as sculptures, play areas, habitat windows and interactive displays.

Zoo Staff

  • Zoo staff are wearing face coverings (when around guests or other staff).
  • Staff are required to pass a health assessment before working each shift.
  • Our staff are practicing social distancing from our guests and each other, keeping at least six feet apart away from others.


  • If you are not feeling well, we ask that you stay home and reschedule your visit to the Zoo.
  • Face Coverings are required at all indoor locations in accordance with the current Governor’s Order for everyone ages 5 and up.
  • Face Coverings are encouraged at outdoor crowded areas such as animal overlooks, waiting in line and plazas.
  • Make use of the hand sanitizer stations throughout the Zoo or wash your hands frequently.
  • Please observe social distancing with other groups.
  • Remain on marked pathways and respect the barricades in place to direct the one-way traffic (where feasible).

Gift Shop and Food Service

  • Gift Shops are open, face coverings are required.
  • All health and safety guidelines are followed to provide a safe and healthy dining experience.
  • Contactless ordering is available daily at Junction Springs Cafe.  Learn more about our dining options.
  • Outdoor tables are set up six feet apart for diners.

Care for the animals during COVID-19

The care of our animals by our dedicated zookeepers and highly trained staff remains paramount. Our animal care staff always adhere to safety standards, such as using proper personal protective equipment (PPEs) when working closely with the animals in our care.

More Information
For the most up to date information on COVID-19, people should visit reliable sources such as the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services and the CDC and read more about North Carolina's response to the coronavirus