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Welcoming and Serving Everyone
Accessibility and Inclusion

Welcoming and Serving Everyone

Service Dog on a pathway with leash and vest on.

The North Carolina Zoo, located in the ancient Uwharrie mountain range, has five miles of tree-lined trails that immerse visitors in beautiful, diverse, and sometimes hilly terrain. Our Zoo is best experienced by using the trails; however, an accessible Zoo-wide transportation system is available to help guests navigate to three strategic locations inside the Zoo.

Service Animals are welcome at the Zoo according to the ADA guidelines. Pets or Emotional Support Animals are not allowed inside the Zoo.

Parking and Entrance

Accessible parking spaces are available at both entrances with a valid license plate or hangtag. 

Personal Attendants/Caregivers

Guests with disabilities must pay admission fees to the Zoo. The Zoo provides free admission for a personal attendant/caregiver to accompany a guest who requires such help to access the public programs, activities, and facilities of the Zoo. This courtesy is extended to interpreters attending with sight or hearing impaired visitors. Complimentary personal attendant/caregiver admission is obtained at the admissions windows at the entrance to the Zoo.

Please keep in mind that while all Zoo personnel may provide minor assistance, they are not trained to and are not allowed to lift a guest out of his/her mobility device or provide assistance with medication or help of a personal nature. Wheelchairs and electric scooters are available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis near the entrance.

Service Animals

We welcome guests with disabilities that choose to bring their trained service animal (dog or miniature horse only as defined by ADA) inside the Zoo. Please check in with a Guest Services Representative when you arrive at Admissions for more information about your visit. While emotional support animals or comfort animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals, they are not considered service animals under the ADA and are not permitted inside the Zoo. If you have questions about bringing your service animal into the Zoo, please contact us before visiting. (Service Animal Policy).

Personal Mobility Devices 

Personal mobility devices are permitted inside the Zoo, but must be manually or electrically powered and operated at a walking pace, no more than 6 MPH. Personal mobility devices with less than three wheels will not be permitted. Devices must be single rider and not exceed 36 inches (92cm) in width and 52 inches (132cm) in length. Personal mobility devices with less than three wheels will not be permitted.  We are unable to permit devices that cannot maintain stability and balance when stopped, unpowered or unoccupied without the use of a kickstand. Training wheels or similar modifications are not permitted. 

Wheelchair and ECV Rentals

A limited number of manual wheelchairs and ECVs (Electric Conveyance Vehicles) are available for rent at the Gift Shops at the entrance. These are available on a first come first served basis and we do not take reservations so we suggest arriving early if you will need to rent one or bring your own. Wheelchair and Stroller Rental Information

In Park Transportation

All of our buses and trams that provide in-park and parking lot transportation are wheelchair accessible.  Weight limits for wheelchair ramps and lifts on the vehicles varies between 600-1,000 lbs.

Ramps on trams - 600lb maximum weight (including the wheelchair/ECV)

Lifts on Buses - varies 800-1,000 lb maximum weight depending  (including the chair/ECV)

Medical, Allergy and Dietary Needs

Small coolers with food or beverages used for medical purposes or required due to special dietary needs can be checked at the entrance, tagged and brought inside the Zoo. Park rangers patrol the Zoo and can help with medical emergencies.  See our allergy menu.

Allergy Menu


Changing Areas

Guests in need of a private changing area for larger children or adults can be accommodated at our Guest Services offices located at the North America or Africa entrances.


The Endangered Species Carousel at Junction Plaza includes a swan bench that accommodates wheelchairs. The Acacia Station Giraffe Deck, and Kaleidoscope Butterfly Garden are also wheelchair accessible.

Sensory Inclusion

Sensory Sensitivity

The North Carolina Zoo has partnered with KultureCity to improve our ability to assist and accommodate guests with sensory needs. Our objective is to provide an inclusive and seamless experience for all guests including those with sensory needs.  We strive to raise awareness of the needs and challenges faced by individuals with sensory processing disorders by supplying our Team Members with continuous training and by offering the resources and accommodations below to our guests.  Download Zoo Map with sensory areas.

Sensory Bags

Sensory bags containing special KCVIP badges, fidget tools, noise canceling headphones and other resources are available for checkout (at no cost by leaving an ID) at our Guest Services offices located at the North America and Africa entrances and at Kidzone.

Weighted Lap Pads

Weighted lap pads are also available upon request (at no cost by leaving an ID) at our Guest Services offices located at the North America and Africa entrances and at KidZone.

Quiet Zones

The Zoo has designated “Quiet Zones” throughout the park. These areas typically have less activity and spaces to sit and regroup after becoming overstimulated.  Quiet Zones are in the following locations: 

  • Kid Zone Butterfly Pathway
  • Gazebo near Black Bear
  • Gazebo near the Desert
  • Gazebo near Lemur
  • Seating Area Near Baboon Trail

Headphone Zones

The Zoo has identified areas that are noisy and where guests tend to linger as “Headphone Zones.”  These areas include:

  • Kidzone
  • Garden Friends Playground
  • Junction Plaza
  • Gorilla Playscape
  • Airhike/Treehouse Trek area

Social Story

A social story to assist with planning your zoo visit is available on the KultureCity App.

KultureCity App

Download the KultureCity All-Inclusive App on the App Store or Google Play