The North Carolina Zoo welcomes guests with disabilities who use service animals as determined by the American’s with Disabilities Act and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.  The ADA limits the definition of Service Animals to dogs (or miniature horses) that are individually trained to perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.  Therapy dogs, emotional support dogs and companion dogs are not Service Animals as defined by ADA and therefore not permitted to enter the Zoo.

Please be aware of the unique setting of bringing your service animal where live animal collections are held.  Some animals by nature may react strongly to the presence of dogs or any animals outside of their enclosure as a threat.  A few areas on the grounds have animals that may react this way, so for the safety of you, your service animal, our animal collection and other guests, these areas may not be open to service animals. In the event an adverse reaction occurs between a Zoo animal and your service animal, we greatly appreciate your assistance in quickly moving your service animal away from the situation until we can work together to find a safe resolution.

Service Animals Must Be Under Control

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices.  In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. 

Retractable leashes are not permitted.

Service Animals in Training must wear a collar, harness or cape that identifies it as a Service Animal in Training.  The trainer is liable for any damage caused by the animal while in a place of business.

Use extreme caution in the following areas:

  • Desert
  • Acacia Station Giraffe Deck
  • Kaleidoscope Butterfly Garden
  • All Live Animal Demonstrations

Service Animals are not permitted in the following areas:

  • Aviary
  • Kid Zone Stream
  • Zoofari
  • Air Hike
  • Behind the scenes tours and animal experiences

There may be times when your service animal may be asked to leave if they cause a disruption to the operations of the facility. Specific behaviors that are cause for removal from the facility include:

  • The animal’s behavior is out of control, which includes, but is not limited to, vicious or aggressive behavior toward other people or animals, excessive barking and/or growling, jumping or running at other people or animals.
  • The animal is not house broken.
  • The animal is not under control of the handler such as being held by a harness, leash or on a tethered line or by verbal or other command.
  • The animal’s size and/or weight cannot be accommodated in specific areas or sites on the grounds.
  • The service animal’s presence is creating excessive stress to the animals in the Zoo’s collection.

Thank you for your cooperation as we strive to provide a safe and positive experience for you, your service animal, and our animal collection. If you have any additional questions or concerns during your visit, please let us know.  The Guest Services Office is located in the North American Plaza near the admissions booths or by calling 336-879-7308. We hope your visit will be an excellent experience.

NCDHHS- Service Animals

ADA - Service Animals