Monday, February 26
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NC Zoo Breaks Ground On Asia Expansion

more than 20 people consisting of staff at the NC Zoo along with city, county, and state officials and elected representatives, members of the media, and companies and organizations involved with everything from local tourism to construction hold shovels as they prepare for the Asia Groundbreaking.

ASHEBORO N.C. – The North Carolina Zoo has officially began construction on Asia, the NC Zoo’s first new continent since North America in 1994 after a ground-breaking event this morning.

The private event was attended by staff at the NC Zoo along with city, county, and state officials and elected representatives, members of the media, and companies and organizations involved with everything from local tourism to construction.

“Asia has been a long time coming” said Walker Moffit, North Carolina Zoo Council Chairman and Asheboro Mayor Pro Tempore. Construction on the 10 acers set to become the new continent is expected to take around 3 years, with the goal being to open sometime around the summer or fall of 2026.

While its not yet know exactly how many new animals will be coming to the Zoo with Asia, Dr. Jb Minter says they are expecting to need to bring in new staff to care for the new animals which includes Tigers, Comodo dragons, Chinese Alligators, Small-clawed otters, Wrinkled hornbill.

NC Zoo Director Pat Simmons being interviewed by members of the media following the ground-breaking event for Asia.
NC Zoo Director Pat Simmons being interviewed by members of the media following the ground-breaking event for Asia. [Scott Pelkey | North State Journal]

Having just recently set a new record with 1 million visitors in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, NC Zoo Director Pat Simmons says she hopes Asia will help the Zoo reach 1.5 million. Looking even farther forward, part of the funding of Asia included $2 million dollars for the design of Australia, keeping the NC Zoo on track towards its plans of making the Zoo a multi-day destination for guests.

Find more information about the ground breaking, the plans for Asia and more in next weeks edition of the Randolph Record.