Picnicking is not allowed inside the Zoo. However, you are welcome to picnic at one of our public picnic areas located outside the Zoo prior to admissions.
Zoo Picnic Areas Available to Rent
Our picnic areas are located outside the North Carolina Zoo and are available to rent for fun and special occasions. You can celebrate anything from a birthday party to a casual picnicking afternoon with friends or family.
There are three zoo picnic areas outside our Africa region entrance, and one additional picnic area outside the North America region entrance. Learn more about them below.
Africa Picnic Areas
At the North Carolina Zoo, we offer three picnic areas outside our Africa region. Peaceful and green settings allow for a chill morning or afternoon. Some of our picnic areas overlook the majestic Africa Lake and other scenery that make this a great zone for picnicking with friends and family.
- Hippo Beach: With several picnic tables and restrooms, Hippo Beach is a great area for zoo picnics. It can comfortably accommodate up to 75 guests.
- Lakeside: Lakeside features 14 large picnic tables and can accommodate up to 150 guests. Additionally, restrooms are a close walking distance away and extra chairs and tables are available for rent.
- Oak Hill: One of the biggest picnic areas at the North Carolina Zoo, Oak Hill can accommodate up to 3,000 guests. With restrooms nearby and tents, tables, and chairs for rent available, Oak Hill is perfect for large gatherings.
North America Picnic Areas
- Dragonfly: The biggest zoo picnic area at the North Carolina Zoo, Dragonfly features three different pavilions that can be rented together or individually. Each pad has at least 10 picnic tables available and extra tables and chairs can also be rented.
Picnic Rentals and Catering
The North Carolina Zoo has designated rental picnic areas available by reservation only. Catering for your event or get together (minimum of 15 guests) is provided by our on-site caterer, Service Systems Associates (SSA). To plan your group outing, select from several rental locations, choose your catered menu and reserve by calling 800.488.0444 Ext. 7700. The natural setting of the Zoo enhances any gathering or special event.
Plan Your Next Zoo Picnic
The North Carolina Zoo offers 4 different picnic areas for a relaxing and calm time with friends and family. Picnicking at the zoo offers great scenery and access to a variety of amenities. Catering is also available to enhance your picnic experience.
Picnic at the Zoo today!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Zoo Picnics
Can I bring my own food and drinks?
Outside food and beverages are not allowed inside the Zoo.
However, outside food is allowed in designated areas located outside the North America and Africa entrances and in our parking lots. In these areas, guests may enjoy picnic-style meals and large coolers.
Is grilling permitted on picnic areas?
No, grilling is not allowed on our designated picnic areas or in our parking lots.