Tuesday, June 5, 2012

North Carolina Zoo - Asheboro, NC

On Sunday we visited the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC with the Wolfe Family. The trek took about 2 hours from Wesley Chapel. Luckily North Carolina offers up a scenic route just about anywhere you drive and SpongeBob babysat the kids in the backseat- pretty painless all around. When SpongeBob ended we broke out the big guns, Justin Beiber, Katy Perry and Taio Cruz. The "are we there yet" moments were minimal.

Entrance to North American Side of North Carolina Zoo
Our Family on the Entrance Bridge
The zoo is beautiful and very spread out. We were really impressed with how much space the animals had to roam and do whatever animals do. Even though things were spread out we were still able to see nearly every animal. Some of the exhibits (Bison and Elk) had stadium style standing areas so you could see as far back as the animals could roam.

All of the paths and walkways are completely covered by a canopy of trees and bamboo so we were able to stay cool and shaded from the sun.

Giraffe 1 started peeing,
Giraffe 2 leaned right in like it was a drinking fountain.
The kids loved it- gross.
Elephants - They were all copper colored from the dirt.
Nearly every exhibit had something that the kids could climb on or in. Which is good- more times than not- I am telling the kids to get down off the wall or the barrier bars or out of the tree or whatever else they aren't supposed to be climbing on. This still happened- just not as much.

Favorite parts:
Bradan: Otters
Conor: Watching the Otters Wrestle with Carrots
Kate: Flamingos or as Kate calls them Go Gos
Sean: It was so spread out- even though there were a lot of people there, it never felt crowded
Me: The shaded walkways

Bradan, Bayli and Conor climbing on the bronze Rhino
Conor and Bradan climbing the giant bee
Conor and Bradan checking out the Elephant Tracking Helicoptor
Happy Kate :)
We bought the extra passes and went to the Dinosaurs exhibit. We have seen this at the Brookfield Zoo when we lived in the suburbs of Chicago,IL. But this was actually quite a bit nicer- could have just been the weather and the cover of the trees- but it was really nice. There were several dinosaurs that spit water at you, move, roar, you could climb on some, dig for fossils and take home what you found! Kate hated this whole exhibit. She was petrified and had her face hiding in my shoulder the whole time :( Not a fan of dinosaurs yet.

Checking out T-Rex's Teeth
Riding T-Rex
Hiding in Eggs
Conor driving the Dinosaurs Jeep

My camera died before we made it to the play area- which was themed with Giant bugs, spider webs, vines and leaves. Really cute and the kids LOVED it!

They are currently building a new Kid's zone area and large Polar Bear exhibit. We'll have to check it out next time!

Big thanks to the Wolfe family, who smuggled our children in on their membership and made it possible for Sean and I to purchase discount tickets. :) Our friend Jessica visited the website before going and got some great tips on touring the park- which were totally worth it so I recommend checking it out!

Overall- victory was ours. The kids were wiped out and still smiling even after 6 hours of walking and hard play.

Kate Loved it
For those with an interest in ever visiting the North Carolina Zoo. Here are my tips, recommendations and reviews.

This is probably one of the nicest zoos we have ever been to! It was very family oriented, clean and had lots of animals on exhibit. Overall for a family of 5, even if we had to pay for the kids- seems reasonably priced if you purchase the membership and use it at least 2 times a year.
  • Adults: $12
  • Children: $8
  • Family Membership (2 Adults - 4 kids): $74 a year (this membership can be used at other partner zoos too!) 
  • Parking: FREE 
  • Concessions: Expect to be robbed blind. Pizza $4.75 a slice. Hot Dog $5. Dasani $3. They do sell whole pizza's for substantially cheaper- $20.99 (8 slices).I recommend packing fruit, snacks and water bottles. You can always refill them at the drinking fountain. You could bring juice flavor packets like Hawaiian Punch or Crystal Light. Way cheaper. 
  • Remember baby wipes, band-aids, hand sanitizer and sunblock. All of these are available at the gift shop- but you will pay out the nose.
  • Bring binoculars for the kids- even just the play ones. Get each kid a map. Limits the bickering over who has the map and them asking you every 10 seconds what is next.
Good trip- I would give it 4.5 stars if I had stars to give or had some type of universal rating scale. We'll totally go again.

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