North Carolina Zoo

· 1967: Raleigh Jaycees discussed the idea of having a North Carolina Zoo and raised funds for a feasibility study. The zoological Garden Study Commission headed by Norwood Pope was created.
· 1968: Secretary of State Thad Eure issued a charter for the North Carolina Zoological Society Inc. The stated purposes for the society: “the immediate and expeditious establishment of a statewide zoo and related facilities in North Carolina.”
· 1970: The North Carolina Zoo Authority held its first state zoo planning session.
· May 1970: The N.C. Zoological Authority chose Asheboro for the location of the zoo.
· 1971: The site for the planned zoo in Randolph County, near Asheboro was approved.
· 1972: Gov. Robert W. Scott dedicated the zoo site.
· 1973: The Zoo Authority approved plan concept that included total anticipated development. The first animals arrived – two Galapagos tortoises.
· August 1974: The zoo officially opened to the public.
· 1976: Gov. James E. Holshouser officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony for initial construction of the African natural habitat.
· 1976-79: The General Assembly appropriated $11.8 million for construction Africa.
· 1979: The Forest Edge, the first permanent African exhibit with zebras, ostriches and giraffes, opened to the public.
· 1980: Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr. dedicated The Forest Edge and five other new habitats for elephants, rhinos, lions, chimpanzees and baboons.
· 1982: R.J. Reynolds Forest Aviary, the first permanent indoor exhibit, was dedicated.
· 1983: The Interim Zoo closed and became a total natural habitat park.
· 1984: The zoo received accreditation from the American Zoo & Aquarium Association.
· Oct. 1984: Grand opening of the 53,500-square-foot African Pavilion and 40-acre African Plains exhibit.
· 1987: Construction of the North America geographic region began. It had 200 acres and 40 new exhibits, 95 species of animals and 200 plant species.
· 1988: The $1.95 million Frederick Moir Hanes Veterinary Medical Center was dedicated.
· August 1989: Forest Glade outdoor gorilla exhibit opened.
· 1990: The David Stedman Education Center opened.
· July 1992: An African Wart Hog exhibit opened.
· 1993: The Sonora Desert opened to the public.
· 1994: Four more North American region exhibits were added: RJR Nabisco Rocky Coast, Cypress Swamp, the Marsh, and the Hardee’s Touch & Learn Center.
· 1996: Streamside, the final North American exhibit opened.
· 1998: Two entrance sculptures were installed.
· 1998: Renovations to the African section began.
· 2001: A new African Plaza, pedestrian bridge and renovated Chimpanzee Exhibit opened.
· 2008: The “Watani Grasslands Reserve”, an $8.5 million expansion and renovation of the elephant and rhinoceros exhibits and holding facilities opened.
· 2009: The Acacia Station giraffe encounter deck opened.
· 2010: A Lemur Exhibit opened.
· 2012: Temporaryanimatron exhibit, “Dinosaurs”, opened.
· 2013: Dinosaurs returned with new set of creatures.
· 2014: The zoo celebrates “40 Wild Years”.

Source: The North Carolina Zoo, News & Record archive
Compiled by Diane Lamb, News Researcher.

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