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Tigers, Komodo dragons, OH, MY! NC Zoo breaks ground on new Asia expansion

The Asia expansion will feature animals like tigers and Komodo dragons.

ASHEBORO, N.C. — The North Carolina Zoo is growing. Leaders broke ground Wednesday on the zoo's new Asia continent expansion

It's the first major expansion at the zoo since 1994 when the North America expansion opened. 

In November, North Carolina lawmakers approved $75 million for construction. The 10-acre expansion focused on Asia will feature animals like tigers and Komodo dragons. 

Pat Simmons is the zoo's director and CEO. 

"So seeing Komodo dragons swimming over to you, and when you're a visitor looking through that glass at them, that to me is exciting. The other thing that is exciting is, that the tigers will have access between various places that are their habitats overhead of the guests. So, you'll actually be walking underneath tigers while they're walking from one space to the other," Simmons said. 

The Asia expansion is expected to open in 2026. 

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