In 1967, the Raleigh JayCees started the seeds of the North Carolina Zoo with a series of fund raisers to raise money for a zoo and wildlife sanctuary to be located in the center of North Carolina. The first exhibits opened in a temporary facility in 1974 while the permanent facility was being completed. Today, the North Carolina Zoo is a 1,500 acre facility, making it one of the largest zoos in the United States with natural habitats. The North Carolina Zoo is home to more than 1,100 animals from over 200 species, and is visited by over 700,000 visitors each year.
The Zoo's exhibits include two major "fields'', Africa and North America, and each of the exhibits is broken down into smaller environments where animals enjoy an environment that is as close to their natural habitat as possible. In addition to the North American and African exhibits, the Zoo features the R. J. Reynolds Forest Aviary, which is home to over three thousand tropical plants and dozens of tropical birds and frogs. Many of the plants and animals housed in the Aviary are endangered species, and one of the responsibilities of the Aviary is to focus attention on the plight of the rain forests and how visitors can help preserve the environment for these endangered species.
Visitors to the African exhibit tour the full range of the African continent, from the Watani Grasslands to the Kitara Forest and the Bushlands. A two to three hour tour of the African exhibit will bring visitors up close and personal with elephants, rhinos, hippos, lions, monkeys, gorillas and zebras, among others.
The North America exhibit is similar in scope, offering visitors a full tour of North American habitats from the Cypress Swamps to the Sonora Desert, with stops at the Rocky Coast, the Streamside and the Prairie in between. Visitors to the North Carolina Zoo may encounter polar bears, sea lions and arctic foxes on the icy Rocky Coast, then make their way to Marsh habitat to watch beavers, muskrats and other marsh dwellers at work.
The zoo offers many special activities for families, children and adults, including Animal Encounters in the Zoo's kidZone, an area dedicated to fun activities just for kids and Zoo Snoozes, overnight adventures for children ages 7-12. Summertime brings additional activities, including Zoo Camps and Overnight Zoo Camps. In addition, the North Carolina Zoo offers an outreach program to bring animals and educators to classrooms, groups and assemblies. The outreach program includes Zoonits, classroom programs that have been developed by educators to meet specific educational requirements for specific grade levels and include supporting classroom activities for teachers.
From April through November, visitors can also attend the 4-D Theater, a 40-seat amphitheater which features the story of an African veterinarian and his young son, shot in 3-D HD. There's a small additional fee for the movie, but combination tickets that include zoo admission and admission to the theater are available.
Admission to the North Carolina Zoo ranges from $8 to $13, but discounts are available for groups, senior citizens, AA members and others.
Review, comment, or add new information about this topic:
Discuss this city on our hugely popular North Carolina forum
|Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses|