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NC Zoo draws third-highest annual attendance in 2016

Nothing beats a good roll in the snow - if you're a polar bear at the NC Zoo

Everyone needs a snow day every now and then, including Nikita the polar bear at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, who welcomed the snow and cold weather.
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Everyone needs a snow day every now and then, including Nikita the polar bear at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, who welcomed the snow and cold weather.

Nearly 800,000 people visited the N.C. Zoo in 2016, the third highest calendar-year attendance in zoo history.

The 797,159 people who visited the zoo last year trails only 1994 and 1995, according to zoo officials. The all-time high attendance was in calendar year 1995, when 840,410 people came through the gates following the opening of North America, the zoo’s second continental exhibit area.

The zoo officially opened to the public in 1974, and its first “continent,” Africa, opened in 1979. The state-run zoo is about equidistant between the state’s two largest metropolitan areas, Charlotte and the Triangle.

To celebrate its attendance last year, the zoo is offering a $2 discount off admission tickets on its website. Go to www.nczoo.org and click on “Thank You!” The discount expires Jan. 31.

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