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Posts Tagged ‘Zoo’

So, today was Day 2 of Spring Break, and here is another family friendly activity.  For all of you weary parents, I feel your pain and I’ve got a great activity just for you this weekend! 

The Metro Richmond Zoo is located in Chesterfield County.  It has more than 1500 animals including monkeys, zebras, giraffes, lions, tigers, rhinos, penguins, and camels.  The kids love this place.  I’m not going to lie to you, in the heat of the summer the smell and the bees can be a little much, but today, it was perfect.  The animals are really interactive here.  The bears actually came right up to the glass, thrilling all the kids.  They were also able to pet a baby camel (1 month old) and see a cheetah run.  Penguin and Otter feedings are at 11, 3:30, and 4pm.  We weren’t able to stay for this, but it is a great opportunity for the kids to see the animals interact with the zoo keepers and learn more about them.

Of course, the most exciting exhibit at the Metro Zoo is the giraffe area.  This is an elevated area where the children (ok, and parents) can interact with the giraffes face to face.  There is animal feed available to feed the giraffes (and many of the other animals).  If you have never seen a giraffe tongue, prepare yourself.  It’s not pretty.  There is a baby giraffe at the zoo now, although he and his mother are being kept in a separate pen.  Make sure you don’t miss him. 

Another fun activity is the safari train ride.  This 15 minute tram ride takes you into an open area where animals are roaming free.  My suggestion is plan to do the train ride about half way through your visit.  It was a great opportunity for the kids to rest, get out of the sun, and recharge.  Some other fun exhibits are the orangutans (JoJo will smile and wave if you ask her, just make sure you throw her some animal feed as a reward!), birds (feed them, touch them, and interact!), penguins (try to get there for a feeding), and the bat cave. 

There are two food options inside the zoo, one at the entrance, and one by the train station.  Choices included pizza, sodas, sno cones, the usual fare.  There are also drink machines scattered around.  If you would prefer to picnic, there are covered picnic pavilions at the entrance open to everyone.  There are various wash stations located around the zoo, and near the food areas, in case you forget your own sanitizer. 

The zoo is open year round, Monday-Saturday 9:30-5pm.  Adult tickets are $11.25 and kids ages 2-11 are $9.25.  There are annual passes available.  We were able to do the whole zoo in about 3 hours (including a safari train ride), but the kids moved fairly quickly and were exhausted at the end.  They are already asking to go back so a yearly pass is a definite possibility; the kids won’t get bored.  There are additional costs for the sky ride (a chairlift type ride over a portion of the zoo), the safari train, animal feed, and the carousel.  There are also special summer programs, camps, and a Christmas exhibit.

This goes without saying, but of course I’m going to say it anyway.  I’m not using this site to get into the debate over treatment of animals in captivity.  I’m not ignoring the issue at all, I’m just not addressing it here.  As a serial animal adopter, the issue is very important to me, this is just not the place.  Overall this was a fun day trip for the family and we all enjoyed it.

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