Thursday, June 13

North Carolina Zoo Set to Temporarily Close for Staff Training and Safety Drills

Emergency Services Vehicles near Junction Plaza at the NC Zoo. (Scott Pelkey / Acme News Archive)

ASHEBORO N.C.  – The North Carolina Zoo along will all its public walking trails will be closed to the public from Monday January 8th through January 12th for staff training, including required safety drills and maintenance.

As an accredited Zoo through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the North Carolina Zoo is required to conduct various safety drills involving its staff. These drills cover a wide range of scenarios, from protocols for handling animal escapes to responding to diving incidents, to fires, animal bites, and more.

“Employees need to drill and practice their responses so that they are prepared in the event of an actual situation,” said Diane Villa, the Zoo’s Director of Communications and Marketing in an email. “The North Carolina Zoo prioritizes human safety above all, so ensuring our staff are well-trained for their safety, as well as the guests’ safety, is our focus.”

Local emergency services will actively participate in some of the drills. Villa says their collaboration helps to form closer relationships between the Zoo and local agencies and ensures that they are familiar with the Zoo’s site and operational procedures.

These safety drills are just one facet of the several safety enhancements planned for the Zoo in the upcoming year. Multiple projects, either underway or in the planning stages, are geared towards improving safety for both guests and staff. This includes the implementation of a new and improved radio system, additional cameras, and access control systems, as well as equipment and software upgrades.

The North Carolina Zoo is scheduled to reopen to the public on Saturday, January 13th, with its normal winter hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.