I love to go to our Asheboro Zoo, in Asheboro, North Carolina. Until two years ago I went at least once a year with my friends to see what was new or what we may had missed on the last trip. But I always enjoy the familiar, favorite animals.
The zoo covers 2,600 acres (500 of which is developed) with five miles of pathways covering multiple terrains for over 1800 animals and over 52,000 plants. There are two entrances: Africa and North American Wetlands. There is a lot to see there!! There are plans in 2023 to open a new area: Asia complete with Asian animals, including pandas!!
Various natural habitats for several different climates and zones of the world are represented here. The second entrance leads you through an African village with its gift shop, restaurants and then into the vast acreage of the Savannah, grassy plains with rhinoceroses, ostriches, and other antelope family animals.
Zebras, a few ostriches and giraffes have their own section with plenty of trees and tall rocks where the caregivers can feed or take care of the giraffes. In both areas they wander around like it was home and seem quite content to do the things they would do in their home country: walk, run, eat, drink, ruminate and look around.
The elephants have a large field with rocks to hide behind, grassy rolling land, mud bath areas, and ponds for them to bathe in.
At the bottom of a wide, large, grassy pit-like area there is a large cave with an almost hidden entrance for a pair of lions. I was able to go when their cubs came out of the cave and followed their mother.
The first zoo entrance has a similar set up of gifts shops, restaurants and bathrooms; but the theme there is the North American Wetlands. On the way down the walkway into the park there is a huge lake with a bridge from which you can see lily pads, frogs, fish and other swamp vegetation. There are sloping walkways throughout the zoo for wheelchairs, strollers and rented motorized scooters.
Several of my favorite places to see are the actual swampland area complete with alligators…huge ones!! There is of course a safe walkway fenced around securely above the toothy critters. The massive gators were lying so still for so long that people thought they were ornamental concrete ones until the zoo put up a sign (See Photo)
I love the aviary where so many beautiful exotic plants and dozens of exotic birds live. There are walkways through the lush green vegetation where you may see birds eating, running, building a nest or flying over the trees. My favorite bird here is the Scarlet Ibis. There are so many things to see in the climate controlled humid area. There are orchids of different kinds, banana trees, and staghorn ferns and so much more.
Two other areas I enjoy are the gorilla and chimpanzee lands. There are all kinds of trees fallen and standing with hills to climb and grassy plains for them to roam. Several baby gorillas have been born there. The wonderful part is you can see it all through a glass wall. The gorillas and chimpanzees can come right up to the window and look you in the eye, up close and personal. What an experience!
There are two main attractions close to the Wetlands of North America entrance. The harbor seals and the polar bears. They have their own separate areas of course but they have lots of room to swim, climb, hide out, stay cool and there are toys for the bear(s). The seals have frequent daily interactions with the care givers to keep them acclimated to being checked and fed. Guests can go downstairs and watch as seals or polar bears swim right in front of you on the other side of a glass wall.
In between the two entrances are roaming fields for elk, bison, and more of the North American four legged wild life. There are felines too like ocelots, and smaller cat family members. There is also a central area for sitting down to eat, see 4 D shows for kids, a merry go round, and more.
Along the pathways there are iron statues of animals found near the exhibit as you approach their natural habitats. These are wonderful for the children or playful adults to climb up on. There is a huge elephant statue, a panther statue on a large boulder. Just such wonderful backdrops for this adventure!
There are also air conditioned buildings strategically positioned along the meandering walkways. Where you may view live snakes, spiders, bugs and even venomous frogs, each safely behind glass in whatever temperature setting they require.
One of the many niceties is transportation by vehicle pulled cars with open air seats that will take you from one large area to another when you need a break from all the walking. There are several rest stops with bathrooms, food and drinks too. There are cooling misters that you can stand under on hot days to refresh yourself.
This zoo is growing and is such a delightful, educational experience! I recommend going before it gets too hot. That’s when some animals stay in the shade to keep cool, but where you can’t see them as well. I can’t wait to see what will be there next time I go.