Ready for your next big summer adventure? Well, look no further than the North Carolina Zoo. As you plan your next trip to the Zoo, visit our top 10 must-see attractions!

1.  Zoofari

Kick off your adventure with a ride on the Zoofari! Climb aboard and experience an exclusive tour inside the 40-acre Watani Grasslands, which is home to rhinoceroses, gazelles, ostriches and more! The Zoofari expedition pick-up/drop-off is in Junction Plaza.  It's offered Thursday – Sunday, at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. & 12 p.m and is an additional fee of $25 per person.

2.  Junction Plaza Activities

Once the Zoofari has returned to Junction, stay a while and explore our many other attractions here, such as the Expedition AFRICA VR —an immersive virtual reality experience which puts you in the heart of Africa and in the middle of a herd of animals, such as elephants or rhinos. At Junction Plaza, you’ll also find the Zoo's 36-foot Endangered Species Carousel, and the Kaleidoscope Butterfly Garden—a dazzling new immersive habitat featuring native and exotic species of butterflies complete with beautiful gardens. The Butterfly Garden, VR experience and Carousel are an additional $3 per person or included in FUN TICKETS.

3. Acacia Station Giraffe Deck

Do you like healthy greens? Well, giraffes sure do! You can feed romaine leaves to Jack the giraffe and his pals Turbo and Leia from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. every day at our Acacia Station Giraffe Deck! Additional fee of $3 per person or included in Fun Tickets. (Check on the website for latest information as the giraffes are not on habitat during wet weather.)

4. Air Hike Ropes Course

Take your Zoo experience to the next level and indulge in an elevated adventure at North Carolina Zoo’s Air Hike! Air Hike offers many exciting challenges designed to safely test your balance and climbing skills. Additional fee of $12 per person. Make sure you bring closed-toe shoes for the course!

5. Aviary

At trip to the North Carolina Zoo is not complete without a visit to the Aviary which houses more than 100 exotic birds and over 3,000 gorgeous tropical plants and flowers. You'll be transported to a shaded rainforest!

6. Honeybee Garden

You must make time to visit the Queen Bee! At the Honeybee Garden, you will see a living beehive and get the inside scoop on bee colonies. Here you find out the importance of honey bees and why you should thank a bee for a lot of the food you eat!

7. The Desert

Did you know deserts aren’t always hot? Well, neither is the North Carolina Zoo's Desert! The glass-domed habitat is a great place to cool off, and there are so many exciting things to see from birds to lizards to cacti. There's even a nocturnal cave with sand cats and vampire bats!

8. Kidzone

At North Carolina Zoo's Kidzone, play matters! Children are encouraged to connect with nature, our hope is that kids who connect with nature grow into adults who care for nature. So please allow your kids to skip on over to the Zoo’s Kidzone and order up a serving of mud pie.

9. Rocky Coast Polar Bear Ice Cave

If you start to feel too warm outside, take a walk through the mister located at the North Carolina Zoo’s Rocky Coast, then head into the Ice Cave, a great place to escape the heat! The view from inside the chilly Ice Cave looks out onto a polar bear habitat that replicates the southernmost range of the polar bear. The cool cavern features a glacial "moulin" formation, a seating area, and amazing views of our polar bear habitat. In here you can cool off while you watch a polar bear swim and frolic! 

10. Dragonfly Paddle Boats

After an eventful day at the Zoo, take some time to relax and reflect on your summer adventure. End your day with a tranquil, 30-minute Dragonfly Paddle Boat ride, located at Marsh Boardwalk in North America. The boat canopies will shade you from the late afternoon sun, and our buoys will conveniently guide you around the scenic lake. The Dragonfly Paddle Boats are available Thursday – Sunday,10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m and are an additional $3 per person or included in the FUN TICKETS.

We Hope to See You Soon!

Please remember that North Carolina summers can be warm and balmy. To make your day at the Zoo more enjoyable, stay hydrated, bring your sunblock, and your hat. In addition, there are cooling mist stations in both North America (at Rocky Coast and Kidzone), and one in Africa (by the elephant habitat). We also recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes and light-colored clothing.