Virginia Zoo

A popular zoo as famous for its wild kingdom of animals as it is for an outstanding collection of themed gardens.

Treat the family to a day of wild animal adventures. Virginia Zoo’s 53 acres (21 hectares) are home to more than 400 animals, representing over 100 species including lions, elephants, snakes and bears. Species from Asia, Africa, Australia and North America reside in habitats similar to their native environments. 

Take the Trail of the Tiger, a raised path that meanders through large animal exhibits housing tigers, great apes and Malayan tapirs. Climb inside glass viewing bubbles placed inside the prairie dog habitat and enjoy a safe face-to-face experience with the frisky inhabitants. Let your young children explore the zoo farm where they can see Nubian goats, cows, chickens and more. They can even pet some of the animals.  

Every Tuesday at 11 a.m., it’s story time with Zoo Tales. Children can hear animal-themed stories and meet one or two animals. These events take place at different zoo locations so check the information flyers at the entrance on Tuesdays for details. There are also Garden Tales every Thursday at 11 a.m. near the Fountain Plaza. Here, young zoo visitors learn about plants and their relationship with wildlife. 

Animals are the star attractions, but Virginia Zoo is also proud of its horticulture. From the naturalistic habitats to the themed gardens, there’s much to be admired and explored. Visit the Tropical Garden and see towering palms, banana trees and giant-leafed exotic plants. Seek refuge from the sun in the Shade Garden and sit in the Victorian Gazebo to enjoy the Rose Garden. 

If you don’t want to cover the entire zoo on foot, grab a seat on the train. For a small fee, this scale model of an old locomotive takes visitors on a twenty-minute journey that covers some of the zoo’s grounds.

Virginia Zoo is open daily except for Christmas Eve, New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas Days.

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