If you live in or around the Carolinas, chances are that you have either visited or wanted to visit the North Carolina Zoo. The zoo is large with a variety of animals, and it is a great place for kids to see and learn about different animals. As a mom, I always have questions anytime I visit a new attraction with the kids. Even though we visit the zoo every few years, I always forgot something or have a question about what to bring or not bring. Here are a few things to know before visiting the North Carolina Zoo.
The North Carolina Zoo is large. The zoo’s website claims that is takes between 4 to 6 hours to tour the entire park. With kids (especially more than one kid), I would err more on the side of 6 hours. The zoo is an all day excursion for us. There are miles of trails within the zoo, and there is a LOT of walking. With younger kids, I recommend bringing a stroller. Even at five years old, the triplets were exhausted and begging to be carried by the end of the day.
The website states no food, but… The website FAQS state that no coolers or food/beverages other than a personal water bottle may be brought into the park. During our last visit, I followed this rule. And it looked like we were the only people in the park without our packed lunch! We made the trek all the way back to the vehicle to eat. So, take it for what you will. There are places in the central part of the zoo to purchase food, as well.
The website also states no backpacks, but… My husband and I both took in a backpack with water bottles, first aid supplies, and hand sanitizer with no issues.
Buy tickets online. On our last visit, we made the mistake of not buying tickets online. The wait to purchase tickets (on a Friday) was lengthy at around 45 minutes. I am sure not every day is this long of a wait, but with no way of knowing which days may or may not be, I recommend purchasing tickets online. There is a separate line for those who have already purchased tickets.
There are separate hiking trails. If walking through the zoo isn’t enough, there are additional hiking trails around the zoo.
Make plans to visit the giraffe deck. The giraffe deck is one of the coolest parts of the zoo. It allows participants a chance to feed the giraffes and see them on a different level (literally!). There is an additional cost for this.
The zoo is split in two parts. There is an African section and a North American section. Both sections meet together in the central junction. If you can only visit for half a day, it is best to choose which section that you would like to see the most and tour that one.
The North Carolina Zoo is a great place for a family outing. There are bathrooms located throughout the zoo, as well as child friendly, educational activities. Our personal favorite exhibits are the otters, the polar bear, the lions, the honey bee exhibit, and the geyser. Have you visited? What were your favorite exhibits?