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Service Animals

Service Animals

The North Carolina Zoo welcomes guests with disabilities who use Service Animals as determined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). 

For owners of a Service Animal, please be aware of the unique setting of the Zoo with our live animal population. Look for signs posted at habitats to alert you to either Sensitive or Restricted areas.

Service Animals may not have direct contact with a Zoo animal; for this reason, we ask that you use extra caution when entering certain sensitive areas. If a Zoo animal reacts adversely, please move on to another animal habitat.

Some animals, by nature, may react strongly to the presence of dogs or any animals outside of their enclosure as a threat.  A few areas on the grounds have animals that may react this way. These areas are restricted for safety reasons, and Service Animals may not enter. 

Sensitive Areas:  Please use caution in these areas:

  • Kaleidoscope Butterfly Garden
  • All live animal presentations (the handler and Service Animal  must maintain a six-foot distance from the Animal Ambassador[SCL1] )
  • Zoo Transportation (trams and buses). We recommend you use the accessible loading area, but it is not required.

Restricted Areas: Service Animals may not enter:

  • Acacia Station Giraffe Deck
  • The Desert or any walk-thru bird habitats 
  • Zoofari Tours
  • Kidzone stream
  • Air Hike ropes course
  • Behind-the-scenes tours and animal experiences
  • All Behind-the-Scenes animal-holding areas

Service Animals may be asked to leave Zoo premises if:

  • The animal’s behavior is out of control, which includes, but is not limited to, vicious or aggressive behavior toward other people or animals, excessive barking and/or growling, jumping or running at other people or animals.
  • The animal is not housebroken.
  • The animal is not under the control of the handler.

Service Animals Must Be Under Control

  • Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered unless these devices interfere with the Service Animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. 
  • If the Zoo’s animals become visibly upset or agitated by the presence of your Service Animal, we ask you to move on to another area. Signs of agitation from our animals may include barking, howling, growling, bumping into their enclosure windows, pacing or running around their habitat, and/or erratic movements.

Thank you for your cooperation as we strive to provide a safe and positive experience for you, your service animal, and our animal collection. If you have any additional questions or concerns during your visit, please let us know.  Guest Services Offices are located near each entrance or you can call 336-879-7308. To report an emergency please call 336-879-7542 to speak with Zoo Rangers.  We hope your visit will be an excellent experience.

NCDHHS- Service Animals

ADA - Service Animals