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Attractions Across Virginia

Virginia Zoo Displays 500+ Animals and 10 Gardens

Virginia Zoo has added two cheetahs to its list of 500+ animals. Credit: Wikimedia (Creative Commons license)
The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, one of two accredited zoos in Virginia, covers 53 acres and has more than 500 animals.

It is adjacent to Lafayette Park and bordered by the Lafayette River in downtown Norfolk. It has been in existence for more than 115 years.

Zoo residents include more than 500 animals such as elephants, tigers, cheetahs, red pandas, kangaroos and giraffes as well as small creatures such as skinks and tree frogs.

The four major animal collections are mammals, amphibians and reptiles, birds, and invertebrates.

Visitors can go nose-to-nose with prairie dogs in viewing bubbles.

The “Asia - Trail of the Tiger” exhibit that opened in April 2011 includes several exotic Asian species such as orangutans, moon bears, tapirs, small-clawed otters and colorful birds.

Virginia Zoo also has 10 themed gardens scattered over its 53 acres. They include the African Village, Butterfly, Color, Herb, Organic Rose, Ornamental Grass, Rain, Shade, Tropical and Virginia Barnyard gardens.

The zoo train, which runs on a track 3/4 of a mile long, is a 1/3 scale model of a C.P. Huntington steam engine. Four coaches can hold more than 80 passengers.

Virginia Zoo entrance
Virginia Zoo entrance; credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license
Tickets are $2 per rider for the 20-minute ride. Children under age 2 ride for free. Funds raised from the sales of train tickets support conservation programs and animal exhibit expansion. The train runs between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. daily.

The Water Plaza has entry fountains where children can frolic in the water. They are turned on during Saturdays and Sundays.

Children’s activities include Animal Crackers, which has stories, crafts and a chance to meet animals up close.

Other features include a series of themed gardens -- African village, butterfly, herb, rose, shade and more.

Outside food and beverages aren’t allowed. The zoo has four dining options. They are the African Village Restaurant, Beastro snack bar, Dippin' Dots and Snack Shack.

Visitors who would rather bring a picnic can go to Lafayette Park just outside of the zoo. They can re-enter the zoo on the same day using an admission receipt.

Virginia Zoo shares reciprocal memberships with more than 125 zoos and aquariums nationwide.

Nearby Attractions

Major attractions within five miles include the Norfolk Waterside District, USS Wisconsin by Town Point Park and the Chrysler Museum of Art.

Attractions more than five miles away include the Virginia Beach waterfront as well as key attractions there such as the Virginia Aquarium, First Landing State Park and Marine Science Center. They are about 20 to 25 miles to the east.

Williamsburg, Yorktown and Busch Gardens amusement park are about 45 miles to the north.

Hours and Location

Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except on major winter holidays).
Location: Norfolk
Address: 3500 Granby Street, 23504
Telephone: (757) 441-2374
Web site:
Cost: Adults $17.95, children $14.95 (ages 2-11), senior citizens $15.95 (ages 62 and older)
Latitude: 36.878767
Longitude: -76.282025
Categories > Hampton Roads > Norfolk > Theme Parks and Zoos

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