What it is: As we've written about before, the NC Zoo in Asheboro is a fabulous place to spend the day with your kiddos and at only 1.5 hours away from South Durham the drive isn't terrible. You can take in the whole zoo in a day, but sometime's it's easier to divide it up and only check out part of it. This time, we checked out the North American side and had a great time. Most of it is the same, but after going to the zoo for several years and seeing the signs, the Kid Zone is finally opened next to the polar bear habitat. As one of my friends warned us before we went we could have spend the whole day there.
To enter the Kid Zone we had to walk through this fabulous maze of tree branches. The kids had a ball winding their way through the maze. Once we got in, we started at this great river feature in the Kid Zone. I will warn you that your kiddos will get wet. They did try out as they walked around the rest of the zoo, but a spare pair of clothing might be helpful, just in case. Next, we headed around to a great shaded area where the kids could dig and explore. There was also a great series of treehouses and bridges, but they were set to open a week after we were there. The "mud kitchen" next to that treehouse was also temporarily closed. There was also a fun teepee building area that we didn't have time to check out. We were talking to one of the ladies that worked at the zoo and she said that they also do a series of fun preschool classes there that would be fun to check out.
After the Kid Zone we made our way through the rest of North America checking out all of the great animal exhibits, playgrounds, geysers, etc. We stopped for lunch at the Junction Plaza on the outskirts of the Africa exhibit and had one new stop to check out before we left for the day. We had bought three tickets to the BUGS exhibit. It was not included in the admission price so we did have to pay a bit extra. If you ever went to the dinosaur special exhibit that used to be at the zoo, it is very similar, except instead of moving dinosaurs, the BUGS exhibit has moving gigantic bugs. The boys loved them. My son's favorite part of the whole zoo was the water-spitting dinosaur at the end of the exhibit, but they also really enjoyed the live bugs at the end and the model "dung" balls that they could bounce around (ewwww).
So, if you've been to the zoo before, but not in a while, it might be time to head back because there's a lot of new fun to check out!
What we liked: We loved that the Kid Zone gave the kids some place at the zoo where they could actually play and interact instead of just observing exhibits.
What we would change: The BUGS exhibit does cost a little bit more money which can make the already expensive zoo trip even more expensive. The Kids Zone can be a bit messy, but isn't that part of a great kids' adventure? Oh, and the BUGS exhibit isn't permanent, you can only check it out till October!
Website and other important information:
Address: 4401 Zoo Parkway, Asheboro, NC, 27205
Hours: March 29-October: 9am-5pm, November-March: 9am-4pm
Tickets: Adults: $12, Kids 12 and under: $8 (The Fun Package is $6 more expensive and includes three tickets that can be used on the carousel, the 4-D movie theater or the BUGS exhibit.)
(The Kid Zone water feature)
(the digging station)
(the tree maze entrance)
(The BUGS exhibit)
(...and more bugs!)