When spring break morphed into a staycation complete with a visit from the grandparents, we headed to the Aloha Safari Zoo, a hidden gem I have heard about for years, located in Cameron, NC (near Sanford). I often overlooked this unique zoo opportunity since the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro is an easy day trip as well. However, finding an outing that held the interest and physical capabilities of three generations landed Aloha Safari Zoo at the top of our list.
The mission of the Aloha Safari Zoo is to create a loving home for unwanted, mistreated, and injured animals. It is the home of farm animals, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, reptiles, an entertaining grizzly bear, a Bengal tiger, monkeys, bison, lemurs, alligators, stunning peacocks, and many more. This isn’t your average petting zoo, folks. Click here for a full list of the animals you can see, and often feed, at the Aloha Safari Zoo—including the most popular draw, Stretch the Giraffe!
Needless to say, everyone in our party was impressed.
WHY THE GRANDKIDS LIKE IT
Up close and personal access to the animals
Ability to see and learn about familiar and unfamiliar animals
The roaming peacocks and ducks
Feeding Stretch the Giraffe
The safari ride
Easy to manipulate grandparents at the snack bar and gift shop
The property is large but the exhibits are close enough together to avoid exhaustion and whining
small playground when a break is needed
WHY GRANDPARENTS LIKE IT
Parking is close to the entrance
Paved walkways to experience all the animal exhibits
The self-guided portion is easily walkable with plenty of well-placed seating
The “safari” portion is a pleasant and comfortable 15-minute tractor trailer ride around the property (with bench seating and step aids for those who require extra assistance)
Watching your grandchildren squeal with joy as they get closer than ever before to animals.
TIPS & TIDBITS
Restrooms are porta potties—they’re clean, but bring plenty of sanitizer!
Aloha Safari Zoo is a non-government funded zoo and relies on admission/food/feed/merchandise sales to run the zoo.
Admission is $12/pp + tax and includes parking, admission, and safari tour
Feed bags: $3. Feed for Stretch: $1.
Food service at the cafe begins in June. The snack bar is open all months of operation.
Picnics are allowed.
There isn’t a lot of shade on the property so plan accordingly.
Closed on Mondays
BOTTOM LINE: Aloha Safari Zoo is a fantastic outing for kids and adults, particularly for grandparents and grandkids. All you have to do is plant the suggestion!