1967

The N.C. Legislature creates the N.C. Zoological Garden Study Commission to conduct a study on zoo feasibility.

1968

The N.C. Zoological Society, a nonprofit organization, is incorporated to engender public support for the Zoo and to raise funds to purchase its plants, animals and capital projects.  The N.C. Legislature creates the N.C. Zoological Authority to oversee the development of the zoo.

1971

Asheboro is chosen from six sites to be the zoo's location.  Randolph County Society for Zoological Development gives 1,371 acres to the Zoo Society.

1973

Two Galapagos tortoises are acquired as the zoo's first animals.

The Zoo Authority approves a master plan that anticipates completing the zoo over three decades.

1974

Construction begins on the interim zoo, which consisted of nine outdoor paddocks, an orientation building, and an animal display building.

1975

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation of Winston-Salem awards the Zoo Society a $1 million grant for permanent construction.

1976

The Zoo Society helps organize the first zoo telethon in America and raises $350,000 for animal purchases.

Governor James E. Holshouser, Jr. officiates at the groundbreaking ceremony to begin building the natural habitats that will become the Zoo's Africa region.

1979

The Forest Edge habitat in the Africa region opens to the public.  The habitat contains zebras, ostriches, and giraffes.

The General Assembly appropriates $11.8 million for the continued construction of the Africa region.  The Zoo Society raises almost $1 million to support the project.

1980

Governor James B. Hunt dedicates the Zoo's next five exhibits, which elephants, rhinoceros, lions, chimpanzees, and baboons in the African region

1982

The R.J. Reynolds Forest Aviary, the N.C. Zoo's first indoor exhibit, opens.

1983

The zoo becomes a total natural habitat park with the closing of the interim zoo.

1984

The zoo receives accreditation from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.

Grand opening of the African Pavilion and African Plains exhibits.

1987

Construction of the North America region begins as the N.C. Zoo Society raises more than $7 million to support this project

1988

The Zoo opens with the $1.95 million Frederick Moir Hanes Veterinary Medical Center

1989

The zoo records the birth of its first lowland gorilla, Kwanza.

The Forest Glade outdoor gorilla exhibit opens to the public. This is the first Zoo exhibit funded exclusively with donations to the Zoo Society

1990

The W. David Stedman Education Center is dedicated.

1993

The first North America habitat, the Sonora Desert, opens to the public.

1994

The Zoo opens four additional  North America region exhibits-the RJR-Nabisco Rocky Coast Habitat, the Cypress Swamp, the Marsh, and the Hardee's Touch and Learn Center.

Polar bears and sea lions join the zoo's collection.  

The North America zoo entrance and parking lot, new gift shops, restaurants, and other visitor amenities open.

1995

The Prairie, Grizzly Bear, Black Bear, Red Wolf, and Seabird exhibits open in the North America region.

1996

Streamside, the last North America exhibit, opens.

1998

A major gift to the Zoo Society funds the installation of a bronze herd of four elephants at the Zoo's Parkway entrance and a contemporary sculpture espousing environmental stewardship for the North America entrance.

2001

Zoo Society donations fund the construction and the dedication of the Valerie H. Schindler Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.  Society funding provides operational support for the Center, which offers free veterinary care to injured and orphaned native animals with the goal of returning them to their natural habitats.

2002

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service confiscates six polar bears from a Mexico-based circus charged with violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  Two of the bears are placed in the care of N.C. Zoo.

2004

The Australian Walkabout exhibit opens. Built exclusively with Society funds, the exhibit includes a walk-through kangaroo exhibit and displays the largest collection of Australian plants on the East Coast.
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