A Trip to the Zoo Plus Fun Resources and FREE Printables!

When we only had two children, we visited a zoo near where my mother lives while we were on vacation. We had a great time, but we realized that we had never visited the zoo right here in our own state! We started planning a trip, but various events kept happening to prevent us from going.  Two more children and a few years later we finally got the opportunity to go and enjoy the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.

The NC Zoo is one of the largest natural habitat zoos in the country, including 500 acres of area for animals to roam much as they would outside of a zoological park. There are no cages made of steel for these animals!  As you walk through the massive zoo through two “continents” of animals, you will see grass, trees, ponds, dirt, and more to make the animals feel at home.

An elephant spraying water

Animals native to Africa and North America are represented at the zoo with the park being divided into two sections that join together in the center. Wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking quite a bit!  If you have small children, bring a baby carrier or a stroller (or both in my case!).  Stroller rentals are available at the zoo for $8.00 for a single and $10 for a double. There is also a tram available to shuttle from one side of the zoo to the other for the length of the day.  We opted to not use this until the end of the day to avoid loading and unloading our stroller multiple times. 

We began our journey on the Africa side because our children requested that we visit the lions early on our trip. It was a humid day, in the upper 80s, and we’d been told by others to be prepared to not expect nice views on all of the animals if it was hot because they’d be off somewhere shady.  We were delighted to discover that even though it was so warm, we didn’t have any problems seeing any of the animals.  As a matter of fact, most of them were very close to the viewing areas. With over 225 species at the zoo, this was a treat!

Hold on to your children! 😉

You can find field guides for both continents on the zoo’s website and there are also maps readily available at various points throughout the park. As with most zoos, there are also signs and posts near the exhibits that teach about and introduce you to the animals. We brought along our
The Complete Zoo Adventure: A Field Trip in a Book which we reviewed here.  We all had our own field assignments and responsibilities for the trip. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you got a sneak peek at our tags as I live posted about our day.

My three year old checking out the chimpanzees

Aside from the animals, there are also several other fun features at the zoo.  Until October, the Bugs: An Epic Adventure! event is running. Inside you will find many giant animatronic bugs that give a detailed glimpse into the world of insects and arachnids. There is also a bug dome where the real live creatures can be viewed.

You can also enjoy a carousel ride on an exotic endangered animal, a 4D trip through Rio de Janeiro with Blu and Jewel, an overhead view on the giraffe deck, or play in a KidZone designed for children ages 2-10.  Most of these options have costs that are not part of general admission.

If you are a NC homeschooler, did you know that if you are registered with the state, admission is free for students K-12 and one educator once per year! There are also some interesting programs designed specifically for homeschoolers if you live nearby.

General admission costs vary depending on what package you choose and the zoo is open year round except on Christmas Day.

Our family greatly enjoyed our visit to the North Carolina Zoo and highly recommend it as a day trip option if you are looking for something to do with your family near Asheboro!

Now for some more zoo themed fun!  Here are some FREE zoo animal BINGO cards that I designed that are great for taking to the zoo or for simply using to learn more about some of your favorite animals!

Graphics courtesy of PrettyGrafikDesign and The 3AM Teacher.

For even more zoo fun, check out some of these resources:

Animal Coloring Pages from Mama Smiles
Zoo Animal Observation Form from Adventures in Mommydom
Books to Read Before Going to the Zoo from Adventure in a Box
Printable Zoo Scavenger Hunt from My Joy Filled Life
Preschool Safari Games from Happy and Blessed Home
9 Ideas for Nature Based Learning at the Zoo from Go Explore Nature
Habitat Mural for Kids from True Aim
Montessori Inspired Zoo Animal Unit from Living Montessori Now
6 Zoo Books and a TP Roll Craft from Red Ted Art
Zoo Sensory Bins from Fantastic Fun and Learning


What’s your favorite part about visiting the zoo?

Thank you to the North Carolina Zoo for great customer service and our complimentary admission tickets. All thoughts and opinions are honest and based on our own experiences, your experience may vary.


  1. Looks like a fun trip! I love checking out different zoos. Our local zoo (Sacramento) isn’t that great, and just recently decided that a “family” is 4, so we are not renewing our membership this year.

  2. Looks like fun! We are planning on visiting the zoo soon. Cute printables 🙂

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