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North Carolina Zoo

November 25, 2013

NC Zoo

We’ve lived in North Carolina for about 8 years but have never been to the zoo. I’ll be honest: sometimes zoos give me the creeps. I feel really sad to see animals all caged up and without enough space to roam free. My husband points out that many zoo animals were rescued or born in captivity and that they couldn’t exactly survive in the wild. He says that by teaching our kids to adore these animals–from up close and personal views–zoos are helping further conservation and preservation causes. I finally gave in when I heard that the North Carolina Zoo actually did give most of its wildlife lots of space. The zoo is huge and has the animals divided up between their North American and African home continents.

NC Zoo

{click here for larger view}

As you can see, we went in the off-season. It was actually a wonderful time to go. The foliage I rave about so much was just at it’s peak, but the temperature wasn’t so chilly to require heavy jackets. There were a few sections that were closed for the season and the new polar bear hadn’t arrived yet, but realistically it was just the right amount of stuff for us to see with a small child and baby. We actually missed a couple of things because we were too tired to walk around to see them (Lion! Chimp! How did we skip you?)

Be aware that if you do visit in the off season, the African side parking lot is closed so you will have to start in North America. There are little shuttle buses that you can ride when exhaustion sets in. (No joke: It’s a lot of walking.) We have plans to go back in the Spring and we will most likely just stay on the African side the whole time since those animals are the most interesting to our budding zoologist. Also be warned that the cues for the shuttles can get pretty long once closing time nears. Lines were also lengthy in the restaurants at lunchtime and there weren’t a ton of healthier options (at least at the Junctions Springs Cafe where we ate), so plan ahead for that.

NC Zoo

We survived the long trip with many thanks to my new Ergobaby carrier. I’ve been adoring this Every Mother Counts print since I was newly pregnant. I was able to carry her for nearly all of the visit while my son hopped in and out of his stroller. I knew she was warm and happy snuggled next to me and we didn’t have to break for breastfeeding. She’s also rocking a pair of Baby Legs over her pants. And, yes, that’s an Amber Necklace peeking out. I just noticed it. Geez, we are hooked on SBB!

Now for some animals:

NC Zoo

These Mother and baby gorillas were flat-out awesome. There was one sitting close to us and cradling her small babe while these folks munched on grass at the edge of their enclosure. The two baby boy gorillas were born at the zoo in August of 2012. I could have watched them all day.

NC Zoo

The Baboons were a riot. Apparently the female picks the bugs out of her guy’s hair. That’s love.

NC Zoo

NC Zoo

If you want to show an elephant his reflexion, you’ll have to put him by a pond! The way these stoic creatures showed in their pool of water was so beautiful. They walked slowly and carefully sipped water through their long trunks. They made a huge impression on my son.

NC Zoo
NC Zoo

It’s been a really long time since I saw a giraffe or zebra in real life. The giraffe’s spots are more exquisite that I remembered. And those little antenna-like horns! Are they called horns? Why do they have them?

These painted horses are beautiful too. Even their tails are striped!

NC Zoo

NC Zoo

The North American side has a few animals we see more commonly. These Alligators sit like stones in the swampy water.

The bears with their fur coats snacked on treats in the sunshine.

NC Zoo

NC Zoo

I was happy to see the seals torpedoing around in the shimmering light. There was also an underwater viewing area to really see them swim.

The elk share a huge field with bison (thought we didn’t see any) and were lazing around it like a heard of cow-deer hybrids.

NC Zoo

NC Zoo

Have you been to the NC Zoo? What is your child’s favorite animal?


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