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Are there any discounts offered for admission?

The North Carolina Zoo offers discounted rates for children, seniors, military members, and those with a NC EBT card (with matching photo ID). Please visit our Tickets and General Admission pages for more information.  For information on discounts on a membership, please visit

What methods of payment does the Zoo accept?

Cash, credit, debit, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Zoo gift cards are acceptable forms of payment throughout the Zoo for admissions, attractions, gift shops and most dining.  Portable concessions carts, Foto FX souvenir photos and vending machines accept cash and credit/debit only.

Can I bring my pet?

Pets are NOT allowed in the Zoo. Please do not leave pets in your car or tethered in the parking lot! The North Carolina Zoo is mandated to call law enforcement if animals left unattended.. Guests that require the assistance of service animals due to a disability are asked to check in with Guest Services at Admissions upon arrival. If you have questions, please contact us  before bringing your service animal to the Zoo. (Service Animal Policy)

I have a concealed carry permit, can I bring my weapon into the Zoo?

Unless you are sworn law enforcement, weapons of any kind are not permitted inside the Park, concealed or otherwise.

Can I bring my own food and drinks?

We offer a variety of food at our restaurants and concession stands and we ask that you do not bring outside food into the Zoo. 

The following are permitted: sealed bottled non-alcoholic beverages, one per guest; small snacks for children; baby food/formula; a personal refillable water bottle; empty pre-purchased North Carolina Zoo souvenir cups; food for medical or special dietary purposes..  

Full picnic style meals,large coolers and outside branded food (McDonalds for example) are NOT permitted into the Zoo.  Guests are welcome to enjoy their own food at one of our picnic areas located outside the Admissions gates or in the parking lots.  If you choose to leave the Zoo to picnic during the day be sure to get your hand stamped for re-entry by a member of the admissions team.   

Grilling is not permitted at the picnic areas or in our parking lots. Guests with strict dietary or medical needs will be permitted to bring food into the Zoo. Please check with Guest Services at Admissions upon arrival so that your bag/small cooler can be tagged and brought inside the Zoo. 

There are water fountains and bottle fillers available throughout the park if you choose to bring a refillable water bottle.

Please note, Zoo members are permitted to bring their own food into the Zoo through the membership line and enjoy it at one of the membership picnic areas located behind the gift shops in the North America and Africa (Akiba) Plazas. Members are asked not to picnic in any other areas inside the Zoo.

I want to bring my own food. Is there anywhere to bring and eat a picnic lunch?

Picnic areas are located outside of both the North America and Africa entrances for guests to use if they choose to bring their own picnic-style meal. Large coolers and Outside Food are NOT allowed through the entrance gates unless you have an NC Zoo Society membership. Grilling in the picnic areas or parking lots is not permitted.

Is there a separate entrance if I bought my tickets online ahead of time?

If you already have your tickets in hand or have purchased E-tickets online you can proceed to lane number 5 marked for pre-ticketed entry. Additional lines may be opened on busier days, so please see a member of our Guest Services Staff at Admissions on the day of your visit if you have any questions.

Where do I go if I have a reciprocal membership from another Zoo?

If you have a membership from another zoo that has a reciprocal discount on admission here at the North Carolina Zoo, your entry can be processed at any of our Admissions ticket windows. For the quickest service, please proceed to the Membership Window, lane number 6. Here is a copy of the current reciprocal list: Current Reciprocal Membership List

If I leave to go to my car or eat lunch can I re-enter the Zoo?

Guests who need to leave to go to the parking lot or picnic areas may re-enter with a hand stamp.  Please be sure to see a member of the admissions team before leaving the Zoo to get your hand stamped.

Is there a smoking area inside the Zoo?

The North Carolina Zoo is a smoke-free facility and there are no smoking areas inside the Zoo. Smoking (including e-cigarettes and vapes) is restricted to outside Zoo admission gates and in the parking lots. There are ash trays located in designated areas outside of the admissions gates. Please see a member of Guest Services at Admissions if you have any questions or need assistance locating those areas. Guests who decide to leave to smoke can have their hand stamped for re-entry.

Why don't you allow plastic straws in the Zoo?

The Zoo has set this policy as our effort to help fight plastic pollution and for animal safety. Plastic straws and lids can be choking hazards for our animals if they find their way into the animal habitats.

Can I bring a refillable water bottle into the Zoo?

We encourage all guests to bring a refillable water bottle with them. There are water fountains and bottle refillers located throughout the Zoo for your convenience.

Do you have wheelchairs and strollers for rent?

Manual wheelchairs, electronic convenience vehicles, double strollers are available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis at the Gift Shops located just inside the North America and Africa entrances. There are limited quantities so please make sure you arrive early if you plan to rent one. 

Can I bring my own personal mobility device?

Personal mobility devices are permitted but must be manually or electrically powered and operated at a walking pace no more than 6 MPH. Devices must be single-rider and not exceed 36 inches (92cm) in width and 52 inches (132cm) in length. Personal mobility devices with fewer than three wheels are not permitted. Also, 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. 

What should I bring for my trip to the North Carolina Zoo?

We suggest that guests check the weather before heading for your day of fun and adventure at the Zoo. We recommend comfortable clothing and walking shoes with a refillable water bottle and a small snack. If you have forgotten anything for your trip, our gift shops do have a variety of products for sale such as sunscreen and hats for sunny days, ponchos and umbrellas for rainy days, and sweatshirts and jackets for chilly days. Please keep in mind that if any members of your party plan to do our Air Hike Ropes Course that athletic-style footwear is required (toes, heels and sides of the foot must be covered; no sandals or flip-flops).  Seasonal Visit Tips

Where are First Aid stations located?

First Aid stations are located at the North America and Africa entrances. Members of our Zoo ranger staff are certified EMT's (Emergency Medical Technicians) and will be our first responders for any medical emergencies.  

Are there ATM's inside the Park?

There is one ATM located inside the Zoo located in Junction Plaza inside the entrance to the Junction Springs Cafe.

What do I do if I lose something in the Zoo?

If you have lost something while visiting us here at the Zoo please check with our Guest Services Offices at the North America or Africa entrances.  You may also call (336) 879-7308.

What do I do if my party gets separated while visiting the Zoo?

If a member of your party gets separated while visiting us here at the Zoo please see anyone in a Zoo Staff uniform for assistance. You can also call our Rangers department at 336-879-7540.

Are there any private areas where I can nurse my child?

Private nursing areas are available upon request at Guest Services. These rooms provide mothers with complete privacy, are climate controlled and are also equipped with electrical outlets. Chairs and outlets are available in our family restrooms located at Watani (near the elephants) and our Solar Pointe picnic area (North America parking lot).

A mamava nursing pod is available for use in the center of the Zoo inside the Junction Springs Cafe'.  You can access the nursing pod by downloading the mamava app onto your smart phone or calling guest services (336) 879-7303 for the code.

Do you sell multi-day tickets?

We do not currently offer a multi-day tickets. For more information on becoming a Zoo member visit

Does the Zoo close during bad weather?

The North Carolina Zoo is scheduled to be open every day of the year except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. In the event of extreme weather such as snow and ice, we may choose to close for the safety of our guests and staff. In the event of any Zoo closures, we will post the information on our website and announce this through social media. 

Does the Zoo close on any holidays?

The North Carolina Zoo is scheduled to be open every day of the year except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Can my child enter the Zoo without an adult?

Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Do you allow guests to bring in the tricycle-style strollers?

For safety reasons, tricycle-style strollers will only be admitted if the steering and pedaling features are disengaged/locked and the child is unable to steer or pedal the vehicle on their own.

Are masks/face coverings required?

Masks are optional and encouraged for unvaccinated and high risk individuals.