The North Carolina Zoo has a new exhibit called the Dino Bus which takes you on a brief tour of robotic dinosaurs that are only accessible via the Dino Bus. Since our boys are really into dinosaurs right now we decided to try out the Dino Bus tour on our most recent visit to the zoo. We have a membership to the zoo which gives us the opportunity to explore small sections of the zoo each time we visit. This time we decided to explore parts of North America and the Dino Bus.
The Dino Bus has 3 pick-up and drop-off points. There are actually 2 separate Dino Bus routes for which you have to buy two separate tickets. To ride both routes you pay $4 per person. We bought our tickets at Junction Plaza. We parked in North America and walked straight through only stopping at a few exhibits until we reached Junction Plaza (which is about a mile walk). Then we ate lunch and bought our tickets for the Dino Bus. We had to wait a good while for the bus to arrive (probably 20 minutes or more). Our first tour took us through the dinosaur exhibit in Africa. There were about 5 dinosaurs on that route and our driver was very friendly and shared as much as he knew about the dinosaurs, he was very upfront stating that he wasn’t a dinosaur expert and most of the kids would probably know more than he. We were dropped off at the entrance to Africa where we then had to catch the shuttle to the entrance of North America. We waited another 15-20 minutes for the shuttle and were dropped off right outside North America. We then waited another 10-15 minutes for the second Dino Bus that took us through North America to Junction Plaza where we started. The driver of this bus wasn’t as talkative and really only told us the names of each dinosaur as we stopped to look at them. We only saw 4 dinosaurs in the North American size but there was a dinosaur that spits water at you so that was fun! On each tour, we were taken behind a gated area of the park probably an employee-only access area to see the exhibits. It felt a little like Jurassic Park as the driver pushed the remote to open the large barb-wired fence.
Overall, it was a fun experience but a very lengthy process, we probably spent at least an hour and a half (or longer) with our Dino Bus experience. The boys had a great time seeing all of the dinosaurs, especially the ones that spit water! If you have a kid that loves dinosaurs (or if you love dinosaurs) I’d recommend that tour if you have time to spend waiting for all of the different buses. However, we probably won’t do the Dino Bus again as it was very lengthy and we didn’t really learn much about the dinosaurs on exhibit.
We did learn from our first driver that the NC Zoo is planning a huge expansion over the next 5 years which will include 3 new continents. The NC Zoo is already the largest natural habitat zoo in the United States, so I’m excited to see how they develop the new exhibits. Being the largest zoo means a lot of walking, we probably walked over 3 miles on our most recent trip and we only saw North America, not Africa. This is why we have a membership, even though the zoo is over an hour away it’s so huge it would be impossible for our family to make it through everything… plus the membership is a great deal for larger families.