Zoos & Wildlife
You can read all you want in a book, but there is nothing like seeing the objects of your study up-close and personal when you visit a zoo, nature preserve, aquarium, or wildlife sanctuary. Visit the animal kingdom here in North Carolina, and you'll find a fun and interesting way to learn more about the natural world.
North Carolina Zoos & Wildlife
North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
Located in Atlantic Beach, the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is situated on 298 acres of maritime forest in the Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area. The 35,000-square-foot building houses aquariums ranging from 300 gallons to 12,000 gallons, a touch tank, interactive exhibits, classrooms, meeting rooms, a large auditorium and a gift shop. Outside is a natural marsh area and nature trail.
North Carolina Zoological Park
Located in Asheboro, the North Carolina Zoological Park, with more than 500 acres in its African and North American continental regions, is the country's largest walk-through natural habitat zoo, in which the animals and plants in its exhibits are seen in settings that closely resemble the habitats in which they would live in the wild. Its 37-acre African Plains exhibit alone is as large as many entire zoos. Sited on hilly, wooded terrain in the ancient Uwharrie Mountains of central North Carolina, the Zoo has approximately five miles of trails in its two continental regions. Among the Zoo's more popular animal attractions are its polar bears, seals, sea lions, seabirds, river otters, bison, elk, alligators, elephants, rhinoceros, chimpanzees, baboons, gorillas, giraffes, zebras, ostriches and tropical birds. There are dozens of other species as well.
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher takes visitors on a journey from freshwater rivers and swamps to saltwater marshes and estuaries and into reefs and the open ocean. The 84,000 square foot facility includes a large ocean tank offering two-story, multi-level viewing of large sharks, groupers, barracudas, and loggerhead turtles and a 20,000 freshwater conservatory showcasing the varied ecosystems of the Cape Fear River.
North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, near the historic town of Manteo and the scenic Outer Banks, is situated on 14 acres of property overlooking the Croatan Sound. The 68,000-square-foot building houses aquariums ranging from 300 gallons to 285,00 gallons, two touch tanks, interactive exhibits, classrooms, meeting rooms, research space, a large auditorium and a gift shop.
Western North Carolina Nature Center
The WNC Nature Center, located in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina, is an educational center exhibiting plants and animals native to the Southern Appalachian Region, including Cougars, Bobcats, Red and Grey Wolves, Black Bear, Otters and more to Pygmy Goats, Red Devon Steer, Chickens and Sheep.
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Featured Resources

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