Monday, May 20

SECU Foundation Donates $2 Million to Asia at NC Zoo

Pat Simmions, Director of the NC Zoo, poses for photos with the leadership of the NC Zoo Society and the SECU Foundation. [Scott Pelkey | North State Journal]

ASHEBORO N.C. – On May 17th, 2023, the SECU Foundation gifted $2 million to go towards the new Asia expansion currently under construction.

Asia, the NC Zoo’s first new continent since North America in 1994, broke ground on August 17th, 2022, after $46 million in funding from the state budget was allocated to the project. Combined with the approximately $28 million raised through donations by the NC Zoo Society’s capital fundraising campaign brings the approximate total for Asia to around $75 million dollars.

At a private event held at the newly renovated baboon habitat on May 17th, 2023, the SECU Foundation presented a check for $2 million dollars to the Zoo Society’s capital fundraising campaign for Asia.

The donation was funded through the $1 fee charged to its members and is set to go towards education and outreach for both virtual and in-person visits through the SECU Visitor View Pavilion and Classroom in Asia, which is being called the centerpiece of the new 10-acre complex.

“The Pavilion and Classroom will offer a formal venue for interactive learning and a glass observation wall overlooking an indoor primate habitat. It will also provide a closer look at Komodo dragons, gibbons, giant salamanders, king cobras, and other animal species,” said the Zoo Society and the SECU Foundation in a joint press release.

[Scott Pelkey | North State Journal]

“Bringing the world’s continents to the North Carolina Zoo has always been our goal, and this generous gift brings us closer to our mission and celebrates the uniqueness of the animals and culture of Asia,” said Director and CEO Pat Simmons of the North Carolina Zoo.

Asia is expected to open in 2026. More information about the expansion can be found on the Zoo’s website.

Recent high attendance has revealed parking troubles at the NC Zoo. Find out why and what the Zoo is doing to address the issue in a recent article on the Randolph Record.