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Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

N.C. Zoo begins summer hours, opens big dinosaur exhibit

Posted March 27, 2012 8:40 p.m. EDT
Updated March 29, 2012 8:01 p.m. EDT

The N.C. Zoo  is opening a major dinosaur exhibit this weekend featuring 15 life-like animatronic creatures.

Dinosaurs represents more than a dozen dinosaur species, who will inhabit the deep forest exhibit through October. The exhibit is near the zoo's African Pavilion. Dinosaurs on display include the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Brachiosaurus.

Texas-based Billings Productions, which specializes in dinosaur exhibits for zoos, theme parks and other attractions across the country, created the creatures for the exhibit. Billings uses hydraulic motion systems and painted rubber skin on steel frames to give the dinosaurs a life-like look. Movements include grasping hands, menacing class and gnashing teeth.

Visitors can even operate one of the dinosaurs using a remote control box.

The exhibit opens Saturday, when the rest of the zoo gears up for a busier spring and summer season. On Saturday, the park's summer hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily begin. Its rides and entertainment sites will open to the public. They include the zoo's carousel, the Acacia Station Giraffe Deck, and the Dino 4D theater.

And the zoo's Africa entrance and Africa parking lot will reopen Saturday with shuttle bus service between the parking lots from 11 a.m. until 30 minutes after closing.

The N.C. Zoo in Asheboro is about 90 minutes to two hours from the Triangle. If you've never been, this is a massive attraction spanning 500 acres with a lot of walking required. Be prepared for the weather with umbrellas or sunscreen, depending on the day's forecast. I've never seen it all in one day, but we've always had a wonderful time.

Individual day passes are $8 to $12 per person (kids under 2 are admitted for free). Combo passes, which include tickets for the carousel, giraffe deck, theater and Dinosaurs, are $14 to $18 per person.