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N.C. Zoo ticket prices to increase April 1

Posted March 23, 2015

Polar bear Anana at Lincoln Park Zoo. (Photo courtesy of the Lincoln Park Zoo and NC Zoo)

A trip to the N.C. Zoo is about to get a little more expensive.

Starting April 1, admission fees will rise by as much as $3, depending on the ticket. It's the zoo's second fee increase in 14 years, according to a press release. Zoo leaders blame the hike on state legislation that requires a 7 percent sales tax on admission tickets and six years of state budget cuts.

“By continuously having year to year cuts of $200,000 to $300,000, we have to increase fees so we can remain fully functional,” said Zoo Director Dr. David Jones in the release. “With the fee changes, we are in line with most zoos of our budget size in the southeast and our prices are still lower than that of most zoos throughout the country.”

Right now, adults pay $12.84 for general admission and $18 for an admission and ride combo ticket. The new price will be $15 for general admission and $21 for an admission and ride combo ticket.

Kids ages 2 to 12 pay $8.56 for general admission and $14 for an admission and ride combo ticket. The new price starting April 1 will be $11 for general admission and $17 for an admission and ride combo ticket.

Seniors ages 62 and older currently pay $10.70 for general admission and $16 for an admission and ride combo ticket. The new price will be $13 for general admission and $19 for an admission and ride combo ticket.

All prices include the new sales tax. The zoo increased admission by $2 in 2011.

The fee hike might make zoo membership more attractive for some families. For $75, families can purchase a membership, which includes free admission to the zoo for a year and free or reduced admission to many other zoos and aquariums around the country. That includes free admission to N.C. Aquariums on the North Carolina coast. (Aquarium membership, which is $75 a year for families, also includes free admission to the N.C. Zoo).

The zoo, which is in Asheboro about 90 minutes from the Triangle, will begin its summer hours on April 1. Operating hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily, through the end of October. The zoo's giraffe deck, carousel, renovated Africa bridge and both parking lots and entrances, shuttles and connector trail, will be open.

New attractions for visitors include:

  • Dino World, a gathering of giant animatronic dinosaurs;
  • "Spongebob SquarePants 4-D, The Great Jelly Rescue!" in the zoo's 4-D theater;
  • the outdoor KidZone exhibit, which is a playground aimed at connecting kids with nature and will reopen for the second year;
  • and the new polar bear exhibit with Anana, the zoo’s polar bear. The exhibit features an indoor gallery with educational graphics, video footage of polar bears in the wild and an artificial ice cave, according to the press release.
9 Comments

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  • Phil Larson Mar 24, 2015
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    Too funny.

  • Forest Hazel Mar 24, 2015
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    "This is the worst zoo in America" Wow! What can I say in response to someone who has visited every single zoo in America?

  • Phil Larson Mar 24, 2015
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    Buffalo, Elephants, Rhinos, and Giraffes all need a great deal of open space to be healthy and live a fulfilling life. Big a big boy and walk for their welfare, or stay home. Humans aren't the center of the universe.

  • Judy Fergerson Mar 24, 2015
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    It is a shame that while the price of admission goes up - the workers salary remains the same.

  • Lorna Schuler Mar 24, 2015
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    One should not try to see all of the animals at this zoo in one day. We go and decide which side we want to cover that day. Then a few months later go to see the other side. Yes, it is a lot of walking, but I enjoy and NEED the exercise and fresh air. We take our time and make a day of it. If I can do it with my RA, those younger and in better health should be able to handle it. And no, I would not enjoy a zoo where the animals are in even closer quarters and crowds of people.

  • Angie Cox Mar 24, 2015
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    it is a lot of walking and kids tire out and so do adults!

  • Holly Atkins Mar 24, 2015
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    Definitely NOT the worst zoo...have you been to the one in Utica, NY??

    My kids and I really the zoo and while it is a lot of walking, that's what the day should be about as well as seeing animals. Being active and enjoying time with your family, friends, etc.

  • Todd Jenkins Mar 24, 2015
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    This is the worst zoo in America. It should be named a fitness park with the amount of distance between exhibits. The animals still live in very close quarters to the distance is not so that they animals have more space. Bad design.

  • Lorna Schuler Mar 24, 2015
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    The increase in admissions is well worth it.
    It's a shame that our legislature sees fit to continuously cut this budget along with education spending and programs for those in need.

    Come to think of it, with all the big cuts in the good things, what exactly do they use our tax dollars for?