Visiting the Metro Richmond Zoo was one of the most fun days I have ever experienced. I have now been on three visits- two with the kids and one with some adult friends who happen to love animals. Each of the trips was fun in it’s own way.
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Visiting The Metro Richmond Zoo
We have season tickets to the Virginia Zoo and I had heard the Metro Richmond Zoo wasn’t as big so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. (For the record -spoiler alert- I actually liked the Metro Richmond Zoo better.) When we pulled up we parked in a gravel parking lot and headed up to buy tickets.
Update for 2021: Right now all tickets must be purchased online. Prices are $2 more than the sign you can see below. When you arrive you wait in line and they check you in to keep count of how many people are in the park. They have times on their website so you have a half an hour window to enter.
EVERYONE walking in was carrying a lunch box or some sort of cooler. Directly inside the door were about a two dozen picnic tables- they added more in 2021 so plenty of places are available to eat. If you are used to spending a ton of money on food somewhere you really won’t be able to do it here- their snack bar is designed for sodas and ice cream bars. By bringing all your food with you and then not trying to sell you a million things in the park the price of admission seems much more reasonable. Plus it was totally worth it- we spent 6 hours in the park.
There also are two different ways to feed the animals in the park. This is a MUST DO. My frugal advice on this is only get one cup of food per person- they are now $3 each. In order to use a credit card you must spend $5 so be sure to bring cash if you only need one cup. As we walked around all day families leaving would dump their leftover food into our cups. We never felt like we had to skimp at all when feeding them and the animals never seemed to tire of eating it!
The safari train (which we didn’t do but seemed fun) goes back to a few parts of the park you can’t see just walking around. The Sky Lift was running and full of people who seemed to enjoy it. A zip line also had tons of participants and looked fun. There is also a Carousel as well- it was tiny and since we have Busch Gardens tickets we already get our fill of rides!
When you first walk in you are immediately greeted by the loud noises of flamingos and birds in a walk in aviary up front. None of these guys were really interested in the food but they were funny to watch.
One of the things that really amazed me about this zoo were how ACTIVE the animals are. Everything was moving all the time- there was so much to watch unlike other zoos where the animals just seem to sleep. Also because we visited in June there were baby animals EVERYWHERE. And baby animals make everyone happier.
A highlight of the trip is also found near the front- THE NURSERY! They were on the other side of glass so I could never get a shot just to show you how AMAZING it was. One time there were four baby monkeys in a big room with tons of toys and they just PLAYED. Swinging around, messing with each other, playing with the humans on the other side of the glass etc. Two of the babies came from special circumstances- one of them their mom had refused to feed her. The zoo had to rescue and hand raise her.
Also inside that building are some of the nocturnal animals including the sloths. We were there first thing in the morning and they were crazy active. By the afternoon when we went back through they were asleep. These guys were eating mango or banana when we went by.
Right past the nursery was an area with kangaroos, wallaroos and emu. The emu were all about eating out of your hand (as shown above) but this baby kangaroo was amazing. He didn’t really want to eat but he just wanted to be PETTED. He felt like a stuffed animal- so soft. He was absolutely using the humans for his bidding.
From there we just wandered around for a bit with the goal of seeing one of the big reasons we went to the zoo at 10:30- Kumbali and Kago. Ever seen these guys on social media? They grew up together and live in a section of the park where they can play!
At 10:30 they did a presentation talking about the two of them, how they met, how they interact and answered any other questions we had while we watched them! They were so cute.
Other presentations during the day included feeding the otters, feeding the penguins (yep penguins) and siamangs. All are worth working your schedule around to check out. These presentations are cancelled in 2021 but they should be adding them back soon.
Here is just SOME of the amazingness we saw during the day:
This Galapagos Tortoise was just so happy to see us!
The zoo thinks it is funny!
The statues are around for perfect photo opportunities.
Some of the habitats were just beautiful!
I swear this Dromedary Camel came over and posed just for me.
One of the things that really impressed me was how much ROOM the animals have. So much land and lots of lush green grass!
This guy is my new wallpaper on my phone. Look at those eye lashes!
Two buddies just walking around.
“If I smile big will you feed me?”
We walked by them four times and they were still eating.
I don’t know how my sis kept a straight face- those giraffes have some serious spit when they eat out of your hand!
Yes. I was that close to his head.
They love the snacks!
So the birds LOVED me in the aviary.
We were laughing so hard we were crying.
Being happy and scared at the same time!
Penguin feeding time!
I love Penguins.
Family pic with the giraffe!
I cannot recommend enough spending a day at the Metro Richmond Zoo! I only got pictures of probably half of what we saw- there was so much to look at. We had an absolutely fantastic day and I could see this becoming something we do on a regular basis as we travel!