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Unleash Your Wild Side at the Virginia Zoo

Images provided by the Virginia Zoo

Just 20 miles from the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, a wild day of fun awaits you at the Virginia Zoo. Located in Norfolk, this beautifully manicured, 53-acre park provides an exciting escape from the real-world hustle and invites you discover more than 500 animals, explore four continents, eight gardens and experience a world of wonder.

From India to Japan, Asia’s Most Beautiful Creatures

Upon entering the Zoo you’ll first, notice the cascading waterfalls overlooking views of scenic exhibits, vibrant foliage and a vast array of exotic animals hailing from dozens of Asian countries in Asia–Trail of the Tiger. Come see your favorite red panda napping, watch the siamang family swing rope-to-rope and the tigers splashing in their pool and so much more!

An African Safari in Norfolk

Next, venture to the Africa–Okavango Delta, home to a spectacular collection of savannah-like landscapes and impressive creatures, big and small. Come face-to-face with a giraffe on the boardwalk or meet the Zoo’s newest members, white rhinos. Spot the lions, tortoises, cheetahs and many more who can be found here all year round.

Animals from Down Under

Take a stroll through the outback and meet some of the coolest animals from the Australian continent! Walk along the pathway through the exhibit and experience animals from the land down under in an immersive and up-close way. Watch the kangaroo basking in the sun, wallabies and their joeys venturing around, emus foraging for snacks and the cassowaries showing off their unique personalities!

The Largest Variety of Animals at the Zoo

The Zoo Farm is unlike any farm you’ve ever experienced. Farm animals, as well as exotic creatures from all over the world can be found here. And it isn’t just for kids! Moo with the cows, feel the woolly fur of a sheep or the coarse hair of a pig, check out what’s inside the rodent barn, and during the summer, brush your favorite goats in the goat yard! Be sure to be cautious, these animals love nibbling on just about anything, including fingers and toes!

Reptiles Take Over the Zoo

World of Reptiles, the Zoo’s newest exhibit, is your next slithering, creeping and crawling experience. Come face-to-face with giant reptiles. Watch as hatchling and newborn reptiles and amphibians are being nurtured and raised. Then, immerse yourself in the floor-to-ceiling marsh habitat of the Siamese crocodile. This exhibit features over 13,000 square feet and 65 new habitats.

All Aboard the Zoo Train

When you need a break from your action-packed prowl, climb aboard the Zoo Train for a fun and informative journey around the Zoo. This 20-minute ride takes you through several gardens, the Animal Wellness Campus and even behind-the-scenes for a great rejuvenating jaunt. Tickets are $2 per rider.

Dining at the Virginia Zoo

Tame those ferocious appetites with a bite to eat at the African Village Café. Located in the heart of the Zoo at the entrance to the Okavango Delta, this cafe offers everything from kids’ meals to pizza and burgers, to grilled chicken sandwiches and gourmet salads; meals that are as spectacular as the view. Indoor and outdoor seating options give you a place to relax and enjoy your Zoo visit.

Located near the front plaza and the Zoo Farm, The Beastro serves café-style eats like sliders, flatbread pizzas and wraps as well as healthy snacks.

You’ll also find pop-up food stations around the Zoo, which include Dippin’ Dots and the Snack Shack.

Events at the Virginia Zoo

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Zoo offers a multitude of daily programming. Meet a Zoo Keeper at a Keeper Chat and hear about the ways they care for the animals. Make friends at Zoo Tales, a zoo-centric story time featuring biofacts and maybe even an animal friend. Or catch a show at the ZooLive! Stage, where you’ll learn how our animal ambassadors are trained for their public appearances. And don’t forget to bring your bathing suits so you can beat the heat in the water plaza.

If you’re looking for live entertainment, the Zoo has that too! Check the robust calendar of events that range from outdoor concerts on the lawn, date nights, themed-education days, animal birthday parties and other one-of-a-kind opportunities you can only have at the Zoo.

About the Virginia Zoo

The Virginia Zoo has been a cornerstone of this region for more than a hundred years. Opening in 1901 with just 200 animals, the Zoo now boasts more than 150 species, totaling 500 animals. In the past century, the Zoo’s contribution to conservation and education has grown immensely, as it helps to save some of the world’s most threatened wildlife species from extinction. The Virginia Zoo works hard to manage its animal populations locally, but also to help save animals in the wild. Since 2010, the Zoo has increased its contribution to field conservation by more than 7,500 percent, which started by supporting three programs, to now 25 programs. Some of these new programs have been initiated by Virginia Zoo staff from concept and project design, to successful field programs making a measurable difference to the survival of animals. 

Getting to the Virginia Zoo is an easy 25-minute drive along the interstate from the oceanfront. The setback location off of Granby Street provides a quiet and serene atmosphere, and best of all, parking is always free.

No matter what your passion—science, animal health, up-close encounters or just a cute fuzzy face—there’s something for everyone at the Virginia Zoo.

For more information about the Virginia Zoo, visit or call 757-441-2374. Open daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m., except on major winter holidays.

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