Before visitors to the AZA-accredited Virginia Zoo see any of its live animals, a life-size statue of an African elephant greets them. The zoo's 53 acres of landscaped grounds have welcomed new sculptures, enclosures, and eco-friendly innovations in recent decades that build on a 100-year legacy of conservation.
Mammals such as African lions and kangaroos, birds such as rhino hornbills and African crowned cranes, and a variety of snakes and amphibians roam themed habitats—some of which are interactive or equipped with viewing bubbles that protect visitors from any monkeys with paintball guns. Visitors can view these protected creatures by walking or by taking a narrated ride on the Zoo Train, a one-third scale working model of a C.P. Huntington steam engine. Zoo staffers work to preserve 16 of the resident species through cooperative breeding, field projects, and reintroduction initiatives as part of the AZA's Species Survival Programs.
Each year, Virginia Zoo staff and volunteers work together to design and plant 10 themed gardens filled with colorful exotic plants, many of which are given as treats to their 400 animals. In the garden, visitors can learn about composting, using rain barrels, and ticketing littering garden gnomes. Projects, such as recycling old tires into planters and industrial spools into stepping stones, teach children about reuse, too. The zoo also builds on its conservation efforts with an array of environmental conservation programs. Staffers use only natural rainfall and drip irrigation to water the gardens, establish rain gardens to absorb runoff, and educate visitors on environmentally friendly gardening practices in the eco-garden—earning the zoo a designation as a Virginia Green attraction.
Step beyond your backyard and see the amazing animals at Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.
Parking is plentiful, so patrons can feel free to bring their vehicles.
From animals to picturesque views, this zoo is a great place to get your nature and animal fix. Visit today and enjoy your time off.
Your pet will be bursting with excitement when you come home from Lloyd Family Farm in Rockville with goodies.
If you plan on driving, you'll appreciate the great parking options nearby Lloyd Family Farm.
When you finally add a furry friend to your family, stop by Lloyd Family Farm in Rockville and pick up your essentials.
Plan a visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and prepare for a unique experience that includes world-class roller coasters, entertaining shows, an assortment of great food options, and much more. Busch Gardens Williamsburg boasts six high-speed coasters, including Tempesto, its newest thrill ride that races into unbelievably tight turns at up to 63 miles per hour, seemingly defying gravity as it rolls through a complete inversion 154 feet in the air. The ride features three launch experiences that send guests backward and forward and flips them upside-down, before finally propelling them through the signature loop-the-loop.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg caters to youngsters with its KIDsiderate attractions, including two play areas, Land of the Dragons and Sesame Street Forest of Fun. Little ones can explore, splash, and soar on kid-friendly rides, and meet some familiar faces from Sesame Street.
On select dates in September and October, Busch Gardens Williamsburg welcomes families for fun during the day. But when 6 p.m. rolls around, ghosts and ghouls take over the park, transforming it into the scary annual haunt, Howl-O-Scream. Brave guests can explore five Terror-tories, immersive themed villages full of monsters lurking behind every corner, or venture into one of the park’s seven haunted houses. Their newest haunted house is Circo Sinistro, where only the truly disturbed are allowed to perform in its tents of terrors, and new Terror-tory Sideshow Square will make your jaw drop.
Spooky dining, ghoulish shopping, and spine-chilling live shows, including Monster Stomp on Ripper Row, add to the thrills. The only place visitors can seek refuge is on the rides, which hurdle through the darkness at terrifying speeds. Parents and guardians should consider the park’s elevated scare factor when deciding to visit Busch Gardens with young children during Howl-O-Scream.
How to Survive a Day at the Amusement Park Without Having a Meltdown
"Write your parking spot on your kid's forehead," and other (actual) amusement park tips from those with the most experience: theme park workers.
Keeping cool during a summer packed with thrills is easy at Water Country USA, Virginia's largest water park. The entire family can enjoy resort-style amenities and more than 40 state-of-the-art water rides and attractions. Experience a rush aboard Colossal Curl, the park’s first family thrill ride and the first of its kind in North America. Unwind and relax on a journey down the park’s lazy river, or catch a wave at the Surfer’s Bay Wave Pool. Little ones can have a “splashtastic” good time in one of the park’s KIDsiderate play areas designed specifically for them. Water Country USA also offers swim lessons and classes to help guests stay safe and feel confident in the water. With something for everyone, Water Country USA is a hot destination for a cool summer.
How to Survive the Water Park with Kids
We asked some real-life moms for their best tips on water park safety (and sanity).
The Lockhart family wants people to see where their food comes from firsthand. Run by two generations, the Lockhart Family Farm & Learning Centre hosts farm visits, day camps, and adult workshops that reveal the inner workings of the farm, as well as specific techniques in areas such as beekeeping and soap making, a process once only known to chickens. Aside from their educational programs, the Lockharts also raise heritage swine and poultry, including chickens, pullets, and turkeys that roam free in a natural, wooded habitat.