We had decided to camp for Thanksgiving the other year and headed down to North Carolina for a nice weeklong visit. One of the places I really wanted to visit was the North Carolina Zoo. We weren’t disappointed when we drove up the zoo’s long entrance road. Being from Southeastern PA, we’d never seen a zoo that was in an open area, our zoos here are in the city and don’t have lots of open space.

Since we were there the end of November, the trees were in their full glory, the vivid colors added to the beautiful surroundings of the zoo. There were a few class trips the day we went, but the zoo wasn’t very crowded, so we were able to take our time and really enjoy all the zoo has to offer. The zoo is about 500 acres, so figure on the whole day to really take in all the sights. We packed a lunch and ate out in the bed of the truck (see another reason camping is so great, most tow vehicles can also work as a corral to get the little ones to eat and take a little break from their busy day) there are no coolers allowed in the zoo.

The buffalo exhibit was incredible, there are “grandstand” seats to rest and watch the herd amble by. When we happened to be sitting there, something bothered a few of the buffalo and they started to run, their hooves make a very unique sound. I don’t know that I’d call it a stampede, but the kids were excited nonetheless.

The exhibits all look like the animals home habitats and are a great way to talk to the kids about how the animals live. The glass that separates you from some of the primate exhibits gives you an up-close look at these interesting creatures. The elephants have plenty of room to roam in their grassland reserve. The baboon troop can be quite comical to watch as they play on their rocky surface. We had a chance to see some of the younger ones get scolded for playing too close to the edge (reminded me of my own kids who like to play a little to close to the edge for my own comfort). The plants also play a huge part in making the zoo feel like home to its many residents, don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers as you walk through the forest aviary and enjoy the many bird species that are flying overhead or roosting in the trees.

If you’re looking for a nice place to visit, look no further then Asheboro, NC, you can find a nice campground to rest your weary bones after you’ve spent a day going from Antarctica to Africa and all point in between at the North Carolina Zoo. The zoo provides free downloads to help you learn about many of their habitats and how to get the most out of your visit, so be sure to check out their website to print out your copies beforehand. I hope your family is able to enjoy a wonderful day at this incredible zoo. If you’re within driving range of this wonderful zoo,  load the family up and make a day of it, you won’t be disappointed.

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  1. Dennis– nice turn of words and accurate description of our amazing Zoo. Thought I was on the Zoo’s official blog at first then reading your account took me back to similar trips. Thanks for the brief visit. 🙂

  2. Denise

    Dana~ I was totally thinking of your crew as I was writing about this zoo. Your kids would love it!!!
    If you get out this way, there’s a great Airborne % Special Ops Museum as well in Fayetteville, my older boys loved it.

  3. Thanks for the tip Denise – This sounds like our kind of zoo! Definitely going to mark this one down!