20 animal exhibits in North Carolina

Updated: Apr 6

As a Tar Heel state native, I decided to write a round up post of the most amazing animal exhibits in North Carolina. Get yourself a notepad because it is time to start planning your summer vacation trips! You can make your rounds around the entire state with this list. If there are animals or food involved, then you can count me in.

Animal Exhibits in Central NC

  1. North Carolina State University farm fields: Raleigh, NC

  2. Carolina Tiger Rescue: Pittsboro, NC

  3. The Animal Park at the Conservator’s Center: Burlington, NC

  4. Duke Lemur Center: Durham, NC

  5. Greensboro Science Center: Greensboro, NC

  6. Aloha Safari Zoo: Cameron, NC

The majority of your opportunities to get close with animals in nature in NC are outside of the RTP, but there are still a few places to see animals around Raleigh, North Carolina. The Research Triangle Park has become more of a business center, and there are not as many large plots of land that are available for outdoor experiences with animals. Within the central NC area there are a number of indoor animal exhibits to enjoy.

You can always save the indoor exhibits for days with bad weather or extreme heat!

Animal Exhibits in Western NC

  1. North Carolina Zoo: Asheville, NC

  2. Carolina Raptor Center: Huntersville, NC

  3. Lazy 5 Ranch: Mooresville, NC

  4. Western North Carolina Nature Center: Asheville, NC

  5. Apple Hill Farm: Banner Elk, NC

  6. Zootastic Park: Troutman, NC

  7. Greensboro Science Center: Greensboro, NC

  8. Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium: Concord, NC

Western North Carolina has large outdoor exhibits that you can spend days wondering around and still feel like you need more time to take everything in. Of course, being in the mountains means you can come close to a multitude of wild animals as well. Always take precautions, black bears really do walk right up to the cabins. The NC zoo is a MUST VISIT! It is the largest habitat zoo in the world.

Animal Exhibits in Eastern NC

  1. Its A Zoo Life: Macclesfield, NC

  2. Sylvan Heights Bird Park: Scotland Neck, NC

  3. The Pony Pen: Ocracoke Island, NC

  4. NC Aquarium on Roanoke: Manteo, NC

  5. NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher: Kure Beach, NC

  6. Corolla Wild Horses: Corolla, NC

  7. Lynnwood Park Zoo: Jacksonville, NC

Eastern North Carolina is home to beautiful wild horses and marine life, but there are a few zoos in the area. The wild horses at the beach are such beautiful animals, but don’t feed them. Just recently a foal died from choking on food that someone had given him. Unfortunately, he suffered for a long time before he was found. Don’t be that person. Look, but don’t touch.

As you can see, there are so many places with animal exhibits the great state of North Carolina! If you can't get out of the house due to the weather, I have over 60 ideas for family friendly activities that you can do at home. There are over 20 organizations on this list that provide family-friendly experiences with animals, but you can always spend time in nature and enjoy animals in your backyard.

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