FAQ

I lost my membership card. What do I do?

If you have a photo ID, the Membership Office can look you up in our database and provide you with a temporary pass for the day. If your cards are permanently lost and need to be replaced, there is a $5 fee.

How much does a membership cost?
Please see the Zoo Membership page for current membership pricing.

Where is my membership card?

The Virginia Zoo does not mail membership cards. Your membership card should be ready for you to pick up at the Membership Office 10 to 15 business days after you join. However, you can start using your membership benefits right away! Your online payment receipt or the receipt you received when you purchased your membership at the Zoo will act as your temporary pass until you pick up your permanent cards at the Membership Office.

Is my membership from another zoo or aquarium valid here?
We share reciprocal memberships with more than 125 zoos and aquariums nationwide. The ticket booths have a complete list of reciprocal memberships and applicable discounts. Reciprocal members must go through the regular ticket booth, not through the center gates.

Can I rent a stroller or wheelchair?
Strollers/wagons can be rented for the day at $10 ($6 fee and $4 deposit). Unfortunately we do not offer double-wide strollers, but the wagons do seat two children. They can be found out side the Zoo’s Gift Shop. Motorized and regular wheelchairs available for rent. The motorized wheelchairs cost $30/members and $35/nonmembers. Regular wheelchairs are $10. All costs are for the entire day.

What forms of payment can you accept?
VISA, MasterCard and cash are accepted throughout the Zoo. Discover, American Express and personal checks can only be processed at the Membership Office, Gift Shop, Restaurant and Train.

Can I bring my lunch in with me?
We do not allow outside food and beverages in the Zoo. We do offer a number of dining options including the African Village Cafe, Barnyard Beastro, Dippin’ Dots and the Snack Shack. Lafayette Park adjacent to the Zoo if you would like to take a picnic there. If you leave the Zoo, you may re-enter on the same day by showing you admission receipt at the ticket booth.

Can I bring my pet in with me?
Many of our animals are rare and endangered species that have to be quarantined from native species and pets for their protection, so we cannot allow pets to accompany guests into the Zoo. We don’t have kennels or other facilities to house your pet during your visit, and leaving animals in an unattended car in the parking lot is not permitted. We recommend leaving your pet at home or with a pet-sitting facility.

Can my child explore the Zoo by her/himself? 
Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Are there designated smoking areas in the Zoo? 
The Zoo is a smoke-free facility; no smoking is allowed inside the Zoo.

How does the free ADA-Recognized Disability admission work?

Any individual with a disability receives free admission to the Virginia Zoo. There is no specific process, it is just a verbal exchange between the visitor and the ticket booth attendee. No proof is necessary, just notify the attendant at the ticket booth and the child plus one companion will get in free.

I am a college student, do I get into the Zoo for free?

Only Norfolk college students with a valid ID are eligible for FREE Admission.

Can I volunteer with the Virginia Zoo?

The Virginia Zoo accepts volunteers for a variety of opportunities throughout the year. For more information please check out our Volunteer options.

ZOO FACTS

How old is the Virginia Zoo?
The Virginia Zoo (known then as the Lafayette Zoological Park) began acquiring animals in 1900, so the Zoo is more than 110 years old! Read more.

How large is the Zoo? 
The Zoo spans 53 acres adjacent to Lafayette Park and is bordered by the Lafayette River. Checkout the map for details.

How many animals does the Zoo have?
Zoo residents from around the world include more than 500 animals, ranging from megavertebrates, like elephants and giraffes, to skinks and tree frogs. With the addition of our new Asia – Trail of the Tiger exhibit in April 2011, we’ve added several exotic Asian species, including orangutans, moon bears, tapirs, small-clawed otters and colorful birds.

How long has the Zoo been accredited by the AZA? 
The Virginia Zoo was first accredited in 1974 and continues to adhere to the high standards set by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). In 2013, the Virginia Zoo’s accreditation was renewed and the red panda habitat in the Aisa – Trail of the Tiger exhibit was acclaimed as one of the best the inspection committee had seen.

Are there other Zoos in Virginia?
Mill Mountain Zoo, a 10-acre facility in Roanoke, is the only other Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited Zoo in Virginia. The Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, a wildlife center that exhibits species native to Virginia, is also AZA-accredited. A privately owned Zoo in Richmond, The Metro Richmond Zoo, is not currently accredited by the AZA.

Who operates the Virginia Zoo? 
The City of Norfolk and the Virginia Zoological Society share the responsibility of the Virginia Zoo. The Zoological Society employs education, membership, marketing, fundraising and special event staff. The City serves the operational needs of the Zoo, including animal care, zoo grounds and maintenance, and customer service.  Overall, the Virginia Zoo employs roughly 100 full and part-time staff.

What is your attendance? 
Roughly 500,000 guests visit the Zoo annually.

How many children participate in your education programs?
More than 16,000 children participated in education programs in 2013.

I haven’t visited in a long time, what are some of your newer exhibits?

  • 2008: Bald eagle; Zoo train
  • 2009: Kangaroo (funded by Zoo train ticket sales)
  • 2011: Asia – Trail of the Tiger
  • 2014: Animal Wellness Campus
  • 2015: Australia Walkabout

How does the Zoo support conservation?
Please review our Conservation page for more information on the Zoo and conservation.