North Carolina Zoo Is Possibly the Best Zoo Ever

Seriously, I was very impressed with the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. My wife, kids and I are something of zoo experts too. Out of 8 thumbs possible in my family, they get a 7 out of 8. That last one is because they do not have enough invertebrates! 95+ percent of life people! Get with the program!

I don’t do pictures, because my wife is a photographer, so my blurry fumbling are just irrelevant. Luckily she posted a few highlights on her photo blog. Go there and see a few examples from their Africa exhibit. By the time we got to North America, we didn’t have the energy to keep up the photographing. It was a lot for 2 kids under 3!

What I really liked about the zoo was how well it was laid out and easy to get around. You also weren’t inundated with souvenir wagons and shops every 10 meters. The "look and feel" of the Zoo was very natural. The OMG moment was when I came out of the baboon exhibit onto a balcony literally overlooking the African Savanna, except I was still in North Carolina. It was the coolest thing to see the landscape, as far as the eye can see, as a natural setting dotted with rhinoceros and ostrich. To see them all walking around as if they were in Africa was amazing.

After the zoo we went to Chili’s where I gorged on a shrimp quesadilla and… water. Yep, you heard me right. Asheboro just legalized selling alcohol in the city this summer. Apparently not all of the local restaurants have caught on yet. It was still a good time to be had by everyone though! Lots of great sciencey bloggy discussions. James and I stole away to gas station to get a tall boy of Yuengling and chat it up more at the hotel we were staying at though. So alcohol was involved, thus making it a *real* science blogger party.

It was great to finally meet ScienceWoman and SciCurious, as well reconnecting with Bora, Dave, James and Sheril and meeting several other bloggy folk! It makes me look forward even more to Science Online ’09. North Carolina is blessed with a fantastic crowd of bloggers. Next time ya’ll should come to the coast and I’ll take you to the NC Aquarium! Bora has the details, photos and links as always. I finally make an appearance in several pics from the Chili’s dinner. My beautiful family and I are sitting at the end of the table.

12 Replies to “North Carolina Zoo Is Possibly the Best Zoo Ever”

  1. We really appreciate your kind words about the North Carolina Zoo and are glad you enjoyed your recent visit. However, the name of the institution is the North Carolina Zoo–not the Asheboro Zoo as posted on your Blog. We are owned and operate by the state of North Carolina and supported by its taxpayers–not the city of Asheboro. Could you please publish a correction for those whoe are looking for information and find no listing for “Asheboro Zoo.”
    Rod Hackney
    Public Relations Mgr.
    North Carolina Zoo

  2. As a native North Carolinian, I’ve always been fond of the zoo in Asheboro. They have the luxury of space which makes for nice big habitats… but I agree with you, not enough invertebrates!

    -Emily Fisher, online editor at Oceana

  3. I too am a native Tarheel as well as a former Zookeeper and have always loved the North Carolina Zoo. If memory serves North Carolina is only one of 2 states to sponsor a zoo. I also encourage you to see the Natural Science Center here in Greensboro next time you are in town.

  4. The only problem I have with the NC Zoo is that it is too big! I know… great problem to have. Still, whenever I go there with the kids on a school outing, they always start in North America and barely get halfway through, before it’s time to head back to Greensboro.

    Now that Asheboro has gone wet, i.e. can serve alcohol, here’s hoping that a few hotels pop up in the area and the Zoo can expand with new regions. What’s After North America and Africa? Australia? The Ocean? (Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?)

  5. I was very disappointed to see that my earlier comment was removed. Obviously, you are not required to host alternative viewpoints, but I believe your blog would have benefited more if you had simply posted your objections. As scientists we should be prepared to refute the ideas we disagree with, rather than simply dismiss them.

  6. Sorry Ed, I’m afraid I do not know what you are talking about. I searched our spam filter, and filtered our comments by “Ed” and your IP address. This comment is your only one on our blog. Perhaps the comment did not go through for one reason or another. Sometimes I mistakenly think I click on the submit button then close the tab, hit the back button or go to another website thinking my comment went through.

    Peter, Craig and I do not remove comments unless they contain unnecessary foul language. As bloggers and scientists we value constructive feedback and alternative viewpoints. What was your “alternative viewpoint” concerning this post?

  7. Kevin’s right, Ed. You can voice your opinion here. The only other time we might delete a comment is when its double posted, ie a clicking error.

  8. Ed,

    I recall your post and visited the link therein. I thought it strange when it was removed. I live in NC and one day plan to breed zebras, so I try to keep up with current thinking about the care of “exotic” animals.

    Oh, and I also keep saltwater aquariums, just to keep the thread topical. ;)

  9. The deleted comment was definitely on the site, at least for a few minutes after I posted it, but I’m glad Aeolius can confirm seeing it too. The short version is that members of the administration at the NC Zoo lied to a state legislative panel about the dangers posed by private ownership of exotic animals in an attempt to have their private competition (as well as a large section of the pet hobby) legislated out of existence, and at least one was fired as a result. Having always enjoyed visits there before learning about this scandal, I’m rather ashamed my tax money goes to fund such behavior. Rather than retype the whole thing, I’ll just point everyone to a related post by the president of the NC Association of Reptile Keepers:

  10. Ed, for the record. I brought the issue up with the Discovery Channel overlords and they assured me they would never edit anything out without consulting us, so we are all at a lost as to what happened to your comment. We are still editting and modifying the template files to the blog so maybe it got lost when one of us republished the blog files. Who knows.

    I 100% disagree with having pets in general. This is only because I have 2 kids and can’t fathom people wanting to take care of something beyond their kids. Do people really have that much time on their hands?? Dogs are stupid and annoying. I like cats, but really, there are pretty useless. Anything else is a waste of time. I also do not believe in animal liberation, rewilding and killing research animals/pets because its better than being enslaved. That “logic” is beyond me. I am a biologist so I kill things for a living by definition. I’ve killed tens of housands of innocent sea creatures. I revel in it and unashamed by it. PETA could care less too since they are deep sea invertebrates (and several ugly fish).

    I don’t know anything about the politics of the NC Zoo, and won’t pretend to. I am a newbie to NC, but am quickly gathering that its a pretty political state. While I see no harm in people having exotic snakes or lizards. I absolutely do not want anyone to own a pet tiger. That is wrong on so many levels. Mostly because it is an endangered species in its native range. Plus its just stupid. Having pet alligators is also very stupid. I would also argue though that having pet bunnies is really stupid too. Especially males. But i can agree that the idea of zoo being in bed with groups like ALF or PETA.

    But still I fail to see the point with pets. It is a personal view that I would never impose on anyone else. ;)

  11. Kevin,

    I appreciate your point of view. Me, I have 7 kids (3 birth, 3 adopted, 1 fostered), as well as a few pets – dogs, cats, a parrot, fish, horses, donkeys, goats, turtles, a pig, chickens, a cockatiel, squirrel, guinea pig, rabbits, ducks, and a goose. I also feed the local wildlife; including deer, raccoons, possums, skunks, foxes, bobcats, wild turkeys, and more.

    Yes, I am insane… why do you ask? ;)

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