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Zoo Tours: Family Activities for All

Zoo Tours: Family Activities for All

Ride and guide

Select from many unique behind-the-scenes tours of our animal habitats with the North Carolina Zoo Society! Choose a tour of up to 4 hours where you can have close animal encounters with species from all over the world. Discover a wide range of animal habitats with our zoo tours. Furthermore, you can even partake in an exclusive animal experience through our VIP tours where you can get up close and personal with some of our most popular animals.

Ride-and-a-Guide: Learn and Enjoy in a Golf Cart Ride Family Activity

Tour the Zoo with a professional guide! The North Carolina Zoo Society now offers "Ride-and-a-Guide" programs for small groups wishing to visit the Zoo in the company of a Society professional.

Ride and guide programs allow guests to make the most of their Zoo experiences. Ride-and-a-Guide tours must be booked in advance.

Available year-round from Monday through Friday, our Ride-and-a-Guide features a golf-cart ride led by a professional guide. If you’re interested in booking family activities and adventures while also learning about exotic animals, our Ride-and-a-Guide Tours are perfect for you. These tours are a fun and easy way to get kids involved in learning about nature and animals and serve as the perfect moment to spend some quality time together.

Tour typeDescriptionCost
1.5-Hour TourOur experienced guide will take you to see as many animal habitats as possible during one and a half hours. And once the tour is over, you can roam the Zoo on your own.Members:
2-Hour TourDuring this 2-hour tour, you will see a wide range of animal habitats with a guide who is knowledgeable about all species at our Zoo.Members:
3-Hour TourEnjoy a 3-hour long visit to our Zoo where you’ll get to see all of our iconic animals as well as your personal favorites.Members:
Half DaySpend a leisurely half day visiting all the Zoo has to offer. Members:
Meet & Greet TourEnjoy a 3-hour long visit to our Zoo where you’ll get to see all of our iconic animals as well as your personal favorites.Members:


Hire additional carts - $150 per cart

Include lunches on a tour - $15/adult and $10/child

**Age restrictions apply to all behind-the-scenes tours.  Age restrictions vary depending on the species involved. 

Book a Ride-and-a-Guide Tour


VIP Tours: Exclusive Family Activity Experience

Nearly every Saturday, from late March to late October, the North Carolina Zoo Society schedules a few VIP tours. These tours take guests behind-the-scenes and up close and personal with some of the Zoo's most popular animals. They also allow guests to spend some quality time with one another, which is perfect for family tours. We keep these tours small to allow everyone time to talk to the keepers and, in some cases, to feed the animals.

Some of the Zoo’s tours include:

Our VIP tours are one of the most enjoyable family activities available at the Zoo. Discover some of the Zoo's most exotic species as you learn about them.

Book a VIP Tour

Why Take a Family Day Trip at the North Carolina Zoo?

The Zoo’s tours offer a fun family activity that allows visitors to explore nature, learn about wild animals and their habitats, and spend a fun time together. The Zoo offers 5 different tour length options that take guests through various animal habitats and includes other fun activities. 

These tours are something guests of all ages can enjoy, however, it’s an experience where children especially thrive. Some of the reasons to join a Zoo tour while visiting with children include:

1. Family Bonding

The Zoo’s tours are a great way for families to bond for a few hours while learning and exploring the Zoo. Whether you choose the shortest or longest tour, you get to spend a few hours touring and enjoying a day together.

2. Care for Nature

While touring the Zoo, children will learn the importance of protecting and maintaining natural environments. As a result, they will become more environmentally conscious.

3. Get Close and Personal with Animals

At some tours, guests will be able to explore many animal habitats available at the Zoo and even get close to some of our friendliest species.

4. New, Valuable Knowledge

Visiting the Zoo while touring with a knowledgeable guide provides kids with plenty of new knowledge. They learn new vocabulary and learn exciting information about how nature works.