I have wanted to visit the Richmond Zoo for years and this week we finally went. I guess I was always a little put off by the fact that it seemed so far away and that you have to pay for admission. Being from Northern VA, I am used to visiting the National Zoo for free, so it just seems strange to have to pay. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by how nice it is and am so glad that we went. We have all been a little cooped up for the last few weeks with the new baby, so it was nice to be out in the fresh air getting some exercise.
Since our kids are all under the age of 2, we only had to pay admission for my husband and myself. If you have older kids, be sure to use the coupon for 1 free child admission in the Entertainment book. We went during the middle of the week and it was not at all crowded now that school is back in session. I love that you can get so up close and personal to so many of the animals. Our first stop was in the bird enclosure. In this area the birds (lots of ducks and flamingos) literally roam freely with the visitors. We decided that it was best to keep the boys in the stroller so they were not tempted to try and get any closer than we already were. As we moved on past the prairie dogs, various monkeys, lemurs, and tiger cubs, we came to the giraffes. This was our favorite by far. They came right over and ate treats out of my hand. Sure, it was a little gross at first, but I can honestly say that I have never hand-fed a giraffe before. Those are the kinds of things that you want your kids to experience, and I look forward to taking them back when they are older so they can feed the giraffes themselves.
Just beyond the giraffe exhibit is another area for petting and feeding various other animals. I was happy to see that the zoo has plenty of hand-sanitizing stations to hold you over until you can get to a restroom to wash. Some other highlights of our visit were the big cats, rhinos and penguins. There were also lots of other animals that we had never seen or heard of before. We never made it to the otter house so we will definitely have to go back for that. Some other things that we missed out on this trip were the African Safari train ride, the Jungle Carousel and the Safari Sky Ride. We didn’t stay for lunch, but there are several snack bars and plenty places to have a picnic. I will gladly pay to go again and more often now that I see how nice the zoo is and that the animals are so well cared for. I really look forward to going back soon. Please visit their website and plan a trip for your family. http://www.metrorichmondzoo.com/index.shtml