Virginia Safari Park

12 Oct

The Virginia Safari Park, in Natural Bridge, is definitely not your ordinary zoo.  The setting itself, in the Shenandoah Valley is beautiful, surrounded by mountains.  Opened in 2000, the park is continuously expanding and upgrading.

There are 2 sections to the park.  The first is a hands-on petting zoo and observation areas.  The second is a drive-thru safari park where animals such as zebras, elk and bison roam free.

The petting zoo/observation area is wonderful for kids, especially the little ones.  The goats and pigs will come up close to eat the feed (they sell feed buckets) without scaring the children.  There are also camels, cows, chickens, llamas amongst others available for “hands-on” activities.  New in 2008 is a “snake observatory” and a tiger den.  There is a walk-thru park with lots of kangaroos, some of which have babies in their pouches.  Watching the spider monkeys climb and swing was very entertaining and he also enjoyed trying to stand on one leg just like the flamingos.  The giraffe observation deck was added in 2005 and offers a great vantage point for seeing these beautiful animals on “their” level.  A free-flight aviary building was added in 2006.

The highlight of the Virginia Safari Park is the “safari” itself.  Guests can choose to drive through themselves or hop a ride on one of the scheduled trams.  The safari takes about 45 min. to an hour and if they are particularly busy, could take longer.  The animals know these cars have food and will block your car if necessary to get it!

Hours:

March 15 – May 23
9 AM – 5 PM Daily
Last car admitted at 4 PM


May 24 – September 1
9 AM – 6 PM Daily
Last car admitted at 5 PM

September 2 – November 30
9 AM – 5 PM Daily
Last car admitted at 4 PM

Rates:

Adults

$12.00

Children [ages 3-12]

$8.00

Seniors 65+

$11.00

Admission includes 16-page, full color Safari Guidebook.
(One per car. Additional copies available for $2.00 each.)

Buckets of feed – $ 3.00 or 4 buckets for $10.00.
Giraffe grain – $.50/handful

Safari Wagon Rides:

Weekend Wagon Rides

Saturday and Sunday 1PM and 3PM Only.

Summer : June 14- September 1 (Labor Day)

Daily 11:30, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm.

Fall: September 6- November 22

Saturday and Sunday 1PM and 3PM Only.

There is a gift shop/restroom building at the entrance to the park.  The restrooms are in the rear of the building so it is not necessary to go into the gift shop to use the restroom facilities.  Cold drinks are sold in the gift shop.  There are picnic tables and shelter at the park so be sure to bring a cooler with snacks.

Tina’s Take:  I love that they have large, filled bottles of hand sanitizer throughout the walk-thru sections of the park!  Be sure to use the restrooms before you go on the safari or to the petting/observation area as the only bathrooms are at the entrance to the park.  If you are a neat freak with your vehicle, you’ll need to get over it for the safari.  You car will get dirty inside and out.  Small children could be frightened by the large animals on the safari so you may want to keep the windows up and just drive through.  My son seems to like the petting/observation section better than the safari.  We purchased a season pass for the Virginia Safari Park – it’s convenient to I-81 and we enjoy stopping by to see the animals in a more “natural” environment.

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2 Responses to “Virginia Safari Park”

  1. Jennifer November 2, 2008 at 8:16 pm #

    I was wondering if the new exhibits; Tiger Territory, Lorikeet Landing, and Reptile Building are currently open for public to view the animals? I am thinking about coming to the virginia safari park this coming weekend November 9th. Please let me know as soon as you can please.

    Thank you,
    Jennifer

  2. tinainvirginia November 3, 2008 at 3:40 pm #

    Hi Jennifer and thanks for visiting! Last time I went to Virginia Safari Park, the 3 exhibits you mentioned were open. There were 2 tigers in the tiger exhibit and the reptile building was about 75% full. Hope that helps and I hope you enjoy your visit!

    Tina

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