For my birthday, Brandon told me we could do anything I wanted. Being the overgrown child that I am, I chose a trip to the North Carolina Zoo. #teamnoshame
This is a day trip I have wanted to take for years. Why? The NC Zoo is one of the best in the country, and it is THE largest natural habitat zoo in the world. It sits on 2600 acres, 500 of which are developed. It’s home to 1800 animals and over 200 species. Plus, you can get up close and personal with the giraffes! Why wouldn’t you want to go??
Y’all, I gotta tell ya: the zoo did not disappoint! There was so much to see, the food was on point, and I got to feed the sweetest giraffe! Today I thought I’d share some of our photos and tips on how you can make the most out of your day trip to the NC Zoo.
Tips for Making the Most Out of a Day Trip to the NC Zoo
I’m not much of a planner. Outside of purchasing our tickets, I didn’t spend much time on the zoo’s website. I didn’t want to know too much about it before experiencing it. That was a HUGE oopsie on my part. Don’t make the same mistake. Plan ahead.
Visit in the Spring or Fall
We took our trip in June. The morning was beautiful, but by noon we were all sweaty and cranky. Next time, I’ll take the hubby’s advice about going during the cooler months. Lesson learned.
Set Aside 4-6 Hours to Explore the Zoo
The NC Zoo is not something you’re going to zip in and out of. We arrived when the gates opened at 9 am, spent 5 hours exploring, and still didn’t see it all.
Go On a Weekday
Like most other homeschool moms, I’m a fan of midweek trips. Going on a weekday means shorter lines and more elbow room. Small things we can all appreciate a little more now that COVID is a constant concern.
Bring Face Masks
Face masks were not required for entrance during our visit. However, they were necessary for some of the exhibits. Play it safe, and make sure you bring some along.
Wear a Good Pair of Walking Shoes
There are 5 miles of trails in the NC Zoo, so you’re going to be walking – a lot. Do yourself (and your family) a favor, wear a pair of shoes that can make that hike without giving you blisters.
Eat the Chicken
Over and over again, I’ve heard the zoo has the best fried chicken. Of course, I had to try it myself. I’m happy to report that those recommendations were correct! The chicken fingers at Junction Springs Cafe are delish! Next time, I’ll try Billy D’s.
Bring a Refillable Water Bottle
Bug carries a refillable water bottle everywhere she goes. Which was a genius move because there are water bottle refill stations throughout the zoo.
Check the Feeding Schedules
We walked up to the red wolf exhibit just as they began feeding. Watching a wolf eat isn’t the most appetizing activity. However, the pups went wild over their dinner. Watching them run around made me wish I checked the feeding schedules before our visit.
Don’t Skip the Giraffe Deck
By far, my favorite part of the zoo was the Giraffe Deck. You get to hang out with some of cutest creatures on the planet and give them treats. Seriously, it’s worth the extra cash.
Take the Zoofari
The one thing we missed out on at the zoo that I regret is the Zoofari. The 1-hour tour of the Watani Grasslands covers 40 acres and gives you access to 9 species.
The Trams are Worth the Long Line
When we visited, only the North American entrance was open. By the time we made it through Africa, all of us were ready to get off of our feet. The tram line had a thirty-minute wait, but it was soooo worth it.
Visit More than Once
Honestly, I don’t think you can see everything at the NC Zoo in one trip. There were lots of things we missed. Besides, the NC Zoo is constantly expanding and adding new animals. The first section, Africa, opened in 1979. It was followed by North America in 1994, and an Asia section is currently underway. Since the zoo is consistently changing, visit often.
As you can tell, I’m a firm believer that the NC Zoo is a must-see attraction. I can’t wait to go back!