Because, well, we were at the zoo. My husband and I decided we needed to get out of the house so we met two adult friends at the NC ZOO in Asheboro, NC. We had a string of really cold, wet, nasty days and Saturday promised to be sunny so we went for it!
If you have never been to the NC Zoo you are missing out! Our zoo is on 2,600 wooded acres. It is the world’s largest natural habitat zoo! The location is perfect as it is in the center of the state allowing many visitors a short drive to this marvel. For example, it takes less than an hour and a half for me to get to the zoo from Holly Springs, NC. People in Greensboro only have to drive 25 miles and the fine folks in Charlotte have to drive about 75 miles. So, it is conveniently located.
The zoo is all about conservation and education. Ticket prices are very reasonable and there is always something new to see with every trip. It has five miles of tree-lined trails that most people can walk. There are sections that are uphill so if you are physically limited it can be challenging. The walkway is paved and there are ample ramps so visitors in wheelchairs and strollers will have not miss out on anything. They also have a FREE zoo wide tram system to assist tired patrons to and from certain areas. Every where you walk has plenty of bathrooms and water fountains.
My family has had a zoo membership since our first kiddo was born. If you go to the zoo more than once, the membership pays for itself. The membership also allows you free entry into NC aquariums and get discount tickets to a ton of other museums. I’m not sure how they make any money from the memberships but I am glad to buy one each year. Because we have a rather mild climate, we can go to the zoo nearly every month of the year.
Our friends had not been to the zoo in over 10 years and they really enjoyed how much it had changed and grown. Going to the zoo with kids is very magical but there was something satisfying about being at the zoo sans kids. We could carry on adult conversations – some of which were not necessarily mature – LOL. Sure enough, on this trip I saw animals that I had never seen before and it was a pleasant outing during the pandemic. Everyone was masked and we felt very safe.
It was indeed cold – 41 degrees – but sunny so dodging into the desert indoor space and the Aviary was a welcome break from the cold. Even though it was cold all of us were comfortable with our light coats and hats. Walking everywhere tends to keep you pretty warm. Winter visits mean seasonal attractions may be closed and the African animals may not be as active but it is not boring at all. There are less humans around so that is always attractive for introverts like me. The pandemic has also made it necessary to make reservations and buy tickets in advance but it is a mere inconvenience to make sure we are all as safe as possible from COVID.
Here are a few photos I took on our trip. If you are looking to get away from home and do something active with friends while social distancing, the NC Zoo may be the perfect destination for you! https://www.nczoo.org/visit/