October 27, 2008

Want to See 40,000 Plants? Visit the Zoo

That's right! There are more than 40,000 plants to see as you wind your way through the exhibits and five miles of pathways at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. Of course, there are also animals -- more than 1,100 individual animals of 200 species living on 500 acres of exhibits that are built to resemble natural habitats.

The NC™ Zoo is made up of two continents, North America and Africa. All along the shaded paths, there are native plant species planted among the naturally occurring NC natives.

The North America animal exhibits include otters, seals, bears, bobcats, wolves, foxes and many other animals. There is a butterfly garden and special hands-on areas for children. A honey bee garden is currently being developed for the future.

At the Sonora Desert exhibit, there are cacti, salvia, yucca and other plants suitable for a dry environment. In the enclosed exhibit, there are hummingbirds, roadrunners, lizards, snakes and other animals that live in the Sonora desert.

The African Pavilion is loaded with plants to create a Tropical Plant Walk exhibit while taking in the meerkats, baboons and other African animals. Outside, the African Plains stretch across acres to accommodate the large animals such as rhinos and elephants. There are also zebras, giraffes, lions and other African animals.

My favorite plant exhibit is in the aviary. The R. J. Reynolds Forest Aviary includes over 3,000 tropical plants that provide a habitat for dozens of exotic birds and tropical frogs.

Autumn is a perfect time to visit the zoo. The fall colors are beautiful, the animals are great, and the temperatures are pleasant. Take a tour!

Photos and story by Freda Cameron. All NC™ Zoo and exhibit names are registered trademarks of the North Carolina Zoo

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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