Located just south of Asheboro, the North Carolina Zoo is seated on a 1,500-acre tract of land in the Uwharrie Mountains. Approximately 500 acres of this property have been developed into one of the largest "natural habitat" zoos in the United States. You won't find cages made of steel and concrete here. Our animals are given enclosures that mimic their natural habitats to include trees, ponds, rocks, grass and dirt.
The North Carolina Zoo grew from an idea initiated by the Raleigh Jaycees in 1967. Through a series of fund-raising events--including at least one professional football game-the site was selected and secured to be close to the center of the state. We are 75 miles west of Raleigh, 25 miles south of Greensboro and 75 miles northeast of Charlotte.
The first exhibits opened in 1974 as a temporary facility while the permanent Zoo was being built. Our first permanent exhibit was the "Forest Edge", home to Zebra, Ostrich and Giraffe. This opened in 1979, and exists today much as it did in the late 1970's.