Today I’m throwing it back to one of our visits to the Virginia Safari Park. It is a drive-thru zoo with animal exhibits and a petting zoo.
We have visited this park several times on our drives from Alabama to New York and Pennsylvania to visit family. We always have a great time when we visit here. The animals are very sweet and friendly and kept us laughing the whole time we were there.
The park is located right off of I-81 in Natural Bridge, Virginia. The park has over 1,200 free roaming animals to see and feed. It sits on a 180-acre preserve and has 3 miles of roads that carried us through the beautiful Shenandoah Valley countryside. Any time we are traveling north or south on I-81, we stop here. It is the perfect pit stop for families with kids (or anyone, really).
It is a great place to stop and let the kids run around. We usually stay at the park for an hour or two. This stop always guarantees exhausted kids. They usually watch a little movie and then take a long nap in the car – and I get 3-4 hours of uninterrupted driving time.
Once we entered the park, we paid for our entrance and buckets of animal food. Animal food is $3.50 per bucket or $12.00 for 4 buckets. Then we headed in to begin feeding all the different animals.
We drove – very slowly – along the road through the park. The animals are very accustomed to people and vehicles and they walk right up to the car. Some of the animals eat more than others, and some just want to come up to say “hello”. We learned to hold on tightly to our food buckets since some of the animals would try to take the entire bucket of food.
The animals will get very close to your car and some will even stick their head in and try to get all up in your business. We thought it was hilarious (except for the big snotty bull with huge horns. He scared the kids a so we had to ease on down, ease on down the road when he approached us -photo below).
I have to warn you-you will probably get animal food in your vehicle. My car is usually a mess at this point in the road trip, so it doesn’t bother me. I just vacuum it up later with all the peanuts, Cheetos pieces, and slivers of string cheese.
You may also need a car wash if one of the deer gives you one of his epic sneezes.
This area is lovely and the mountain scenery is really beautiful, which makes the drive even more enjoyable.
After feeding the animals in the Safari Park, we headed over to The Village. The Village is 10 acres and features a Petting Barn (where you can pet and feed goats, pot-bellied pigs, llamas and other baby animals), The Giraffe Feeding Station, Lorikeet Feedings, and the Kangaroo Walk-About. There are also areas to see tigers, cheetahs, tortoises, monkeys, and reptiles.
Above: Safari Park Map via
Above: The kiddos really enjoyed seeing this sweet kangaroo and her little baby/joey at the Kangaroo Walk-About.
Above: This guy had a rough night.
At the petting zoo, the kids loved petting and feeding goats & kids, potbellied pigs & piglets, chickens, baby llamas, and other animal babies.
Next, we visited the Budgie Adventure Avery. We paid extra to feed the birds ($1.50 for feed stick or 4 for $5.00), and the kids loved that experience.
Can you see the white Bengal Tiger (above)? No? Here is a close-up pic of him below. We must have caught him at nap time.
We were also able to see cheetahs, reptiles, monkeys, giant tortoises, and warthogs.
One thing that really impressed me about this park is its cleanliness. The park is very clean even though there are animals everywhere. There are a nice few areas with restrooms (again, very clean) and places to get drinks and/or snacks. There is also a nice gift shop to get a souvenir or two.
You could also pack and bring in a picnic lunch and eat under the covered pavilion in The Picnic area.
There is also a spot to get a very unenthusiastic photo of your kiddos with a big turtle statue.
Giraffe Feeding Station
One of the kid’s favorite parts of Virginia Safari Park was feeding the giraffes at the Giraffe Feeding Station. It was so nice to be able to feed these sweet, gentle animals. We walked up the ramp to the feeding platform and got some food. The giraffes would walk right up to us and stick out their long tongues and take their snack from our hands.
Giraffe Grain/Food is 50 cents per handful from vending machines (they look like bubble gum machines) at the station. We were able to get quarters at the gift shop.
Virginia Safari Park also offers Public Wagon Rides that include a bucket of food for each person. The wagon ride is narrated and takes about 45 minutes.
You can find the Park’s location and Directions HERE.
Overall, we LOVED the Virginia Safari Park. We laughed A LOT and the whole experience for us was so much fun.
| Adult (13-64)
| Senior (65+)
| Children (2-12)
| Child (1 yrs. & under)
Virginia Safari Park // 229 Safari Ln, Natural Bridge, VA 24578
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