Zoo in Southern Pines

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The clucks of more than 250 chickens harmonize with the braying of goats and the snorts of pigs, composing a pastoral symphony that resounds across 30 acres of lush, sustainable farmland. Lofty woods outline the acreage as the leaves of pumpkins, squash, and flowers dapple the pastures. Brier Creek Family Farm's resident staff patrols these scenic grounds, carefully tending to the ever-changing flocks of livestock that have included sheep, rabbits, cattle, and ducks.

The team bestows its passion for agriculture upon budding farmhands during camps, teaching pupils to intermingle with the animals, till an organic garden, and communicate through subtle pitchfork motions. The farmers further enlighten visitors at an onsite store brimming with eggs, seeds, crafts, and antiques.

4902 Leesville Road
Durham,
NC
US

Some 233 lemurs have traveled from the island of Madagascar to call the Duke Lemur Center in Durham home. Here, at one of the world?s largest sanctuaries for rare and endangered prosimian primates, they find protection and able tennis partners in their caretakers. The Lemur Center looks to promote research and understanding of these interesting creatures?ancient relatives of monkeys, apes, and humans?while further sustaining global biodiversity.

Not ones to keep these creatures all to themselves, the scientists at the Duke Lemur Center offer an array of tours that let visitors get up close. During Lemurs Live!, a knowledgeable guide introduces them to about 10 different species and explains what makes them some of the most interesting animals on the planet.

3705 Erwin Rd.
Durham,
NC
US

Have you ever looked a tiger in the eye? Felt the whole-body impact of lions roaring? Watched wolves romp through the woods?

These and other exciting experiences are possible at the Conservators Center, a wildlife conservancy with a focus on education, conservation, and rescue that is home to more than 80 animals. You're guaranteed a unique and up-close view of breathtaking exotic animals.

An "oofing" at the Conservators Center is an experience you'll have to feel to believe. It's the earth-shaking sound our lion prides make when they roar to one another. Our guides call to them on every tour, and you may have the opportunity to hear them from just 5 feet away! Most of our friendly and curious lions, tigers, leopards, and wolves enjoy greeting and observing their visitors. You will be equally enchanted by our smaller species, which include binturongs, New Guinea singing dogs, lemurs, servals, and jungle cats.

Learn about our residents' individual stories, some of their unique habits, each species and its role in its ecosystem, and how we provide excellent care for our residents. Every visit from you helps support them!

See our website for more information about our tours and events, and to make advance reservations. Then come visit and awaken your wild side!

676 E Hughes Mill Rd
Burlington,
NC
US

Motor skills and movement come disguised as playtime inside of Playtopia, an "edutainment" center with indoor playgrounds and other kinetic activities. Wee ones can climb rung ladders, barrel down tube slides, swing from the monkey bars, and let out energy in the bounce house. For a more relaxed activity, the glow-putt course features nine holes that glow in the dark and pit players against motorized obstacles. Playtopia also features a playground for toddlers aged 1–3, an arcade with more than 25 games, and a viewing area for parents.

2589 Eric Lane
Burlington,
NC
US

Cold Blooded Encounters fills guests' days with a variety of science-related exhibits, interactive presentations, and games. The newly-opened Science Center schools visitors on topics from fossils and gemstones to fun kitchen chemistry and turtle races. At the Reptile Zoo meanwhile, an affable red-footed tortoise named Confucius and a gentle black rat snake named Oreo greet visitors. Secluded and multispecies habitats house more than 150 species of amphibians, fish, reptiles, and invertebrates, including fire salamanders, jewel cichlids, Kenyan sand boas, and whip scorpions.

Annual memberships grant gift-shop discounts, guest passes, and a family photo posed with an animal. Cold Blooded Encounters also reaches out to school groups from preschools to colleges with effusive educational programs and sends ambassadors to birthday parties, where children can help feed turtles or pose for photos with 8-foot snakes.

3513 W US Hwy 74 Ste B
Monroe,
NC
US

Anytime from 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 4 or Sunday, December 5, families can embark on 25-minute hayrides through the woods and pastures of Harris Farm. As you travel over the scenic Reedy Creek, gorge your eyes on area wildlife and cute farm animals as you chat with Santa himself about wish lists, cheerful holiday memories of yore, and the universal appeal of Seinfeld -themed stocking stuffers. Bring home some seasonal spirit by getting your photo snapped with St. Nick (an additional $5) or picking out the perfect evergreen from the farm's Christmas-tree lot.

1643 Pembrook Road
Harrisburg,
NC
US