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Plan Your Zoo Adventure
Outdoor Family-Friendly Experences!

Plan Your Zoo Adventure

Welcome Y'all

We are excited to welcome you to the Zoo!  The North Carolina Zoo serves and welcomes everyone, and it is our promise to value equity, respect, inclusivity, and kindness. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the gate on the day of your visit.

Visit the North Carolina Zoo, centrally located in the Heart of North Carolina in Asheboro.

The North Carolina Zoo is a perfect outdoor destination attraction for families with young children. Come for a day trip, or plan a fun-packed weekend, and make memories that will last a lifetime! From an endangered species Carousel, to a gloriously colorful Butterfly Garden, the Zoo offers many engaging activities for a diverse range of ages and abilities. Our educators and play leaders enhance the learning experience for kids of all ages. Don't miss picking up a Zoo Trekker booklet and play a 50th Anniversary-themed scavenger hunt across the Zoo!

Why visit us? The North Carolina Zoo's mission is to connect people with wildlife. We believe nature’s diversity is critical for our collective future. The North Carolina Zoo believes that all people should have the chance to connect with wildlife personally. Wildlife conservation is at the heart of everything we do.

Please help us save endangered animals from extinction: Your visit supports our global efforts to save wildlife and wild places.

Farm to Table Options and More

Foodies take note! We serve up a variety of sustainably-sourced dining options. The Zoo will satisfy your appetite if you want a fresh garden salad, locally sourced chicken, or yummy soft-serve ice cream!  See below for current operations and mobile ordering links. Did you know our plates, boxes, and containers are all compostable?

At the Zoo, Naturally
Plan Your Event

Looking for that unique setting for your group event, birthday party, or private event? We have exceptionally beautiful locations around the Zoo and look forward to tailoring an event for you.

Hippo Beach picnic area overlooking Akiba Bridge.
Go Wild But Within Limits
Guest Guidelines

Our goal is to keep everyone safe during your Zoo adventure. Please adhere to these Guest Guidelines.

grandparent holding grandchild so she can see baboons
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any discounts offered for admission?

The North Carolina Zoo offers discounted rates for children, seniors, military members, and those with a NC EBT card (with matching photo ID). Please visit our Tickets and General Admission pages for more information.  For information on discounts on a membership, please visit

What methods of payment does the Zoo accept?

Cash, credit, debit, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Zoo gift cards are acceptable forms of payment throughout the Zoo for admissions, attractions, gift shops and most dining.  Portable concessions carts, Foto FX souvenir photos and vending machines accept cash and credit/debit only.

Can I bring my pet?

Pets are NOT allowed in the Zoo. Please do not leave pets in your car or tethered in the parking lot! The North Carolina Zoo is mandated to call law enforcement if animals left unattended.. Guests that require the assistance of service animals due to a disability are asked to check in with Guest Services at Admissions upon arrival. If you have questions, please contact us  before bringing your service animal to the Zoo. (Service Animal Policy)

I have a concealed carry permit, can I bring my weapon into the Zoo?

Unless you are sworn law enforcement, weapons of any kind are not permitted inside the Park, concealed or otherwise.

Can I bring my own food and drinks?

We offer a variety of food at our restaurants and concession stands and we ask that you do not bring outside food into the Zoo. 

The following are permitted: sealed bottled non-alcoholic beverages, one per guest; small snacks for children; baby food/formula; a personal refillable water bottle; empty pre-purchased North Carolina Zoo souvenir cups; food for medical or special dietary purposes..  

Full picnic style meals,large coolers and outside branded food (McDonalds for example) are NOT permitted into the Zoo.  Guests are welcome to enjoy their own food at one of our picnic areas located outside the Admissions gates or in the parking lots.  If you choose to leave the Zoo to picnic during the day be sure to get your hand stamped for re-entry by a member of the admissions team.   

Grilling is not permitted at the picnic areas or in our parking lots. Guests with strict dietary or medical needs will be permitted to bring food into the Zoo. Please check with Guest Services at Admissions upon arrival so that your bag/small cooler can be tagged and brought inside the Zoo. 

There are water fountains and bottle fillers available throughout the park if you choose to bring a refillable water bottle.

Please note, Zoo members are permitted to bring their own food into the Zoo through the membership line and enjoy it at one of the membership picnic areas located behind the gift shops in the North America and Africa (Akiba) Plazas. Members are asked not to picnic in any other areas inside the Zoo.

I want to bring my own food. Is there anywhere to bring and eat a picnic lunch?

Picnic areas are located outside of both the North America and Africa entrances for guests to use if they choose to bring their own picnic-style meal. Large coolers and Outside Food are NOT allowed through the entrance gates unless you have an NC Zoo Society membership. Grilling in the picnic areas or parking lots is not permitted.

Is there a separate entrance if I bought my tickets online ahead of time?

If you already have your tickets in hand or have purchased E-tickets online you can proceed to lane number 5 marked for pre-ticketed entry. Additional lines may be opened on busier days, so please see a member of our Guest Services Staff at Admissions on the day of your visit if you have any questions.

All FAQs