BEHIND THE SCENES TOURS

Learn about animal care, behavior and conservation on an up-close and personal behind the scenes tour! Be introduced to a Zoo Keeper who can share information about the animals they care for as only they know them! Meet the lions, feed the giraffes, meet an almost-century old tortoise, or encounter wallabies, emus and kangaroos! See a tapir in close proximity, watch a Sun bear during a training session, set up enrichment for a Red River hog, learn more about the bison or chill with a sloth! The Virginia Zoo offers you once in a lifetime animal tours filled with memorable experiences and fascinating information. Each tour is certain to cross off that item on your bucket list, as it will offer you and your family or friends the breathtaking experience of seeing the world’s most dramatic wildlife.

All tours include park admission.

* The animals have specialized diets, so please avoid bringing any human food or beverages into animal areas or, if needed, keep them unopened and tucked away in a bag held by an adult. You can help keep the animals safe by having parents or guardians hold on to any toys or items that could fall into animal areas. Tour activities are dependent upon each animal’s cooperation. 

TOURS OFFERED

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Aldabra Tortoise

Daily at 9:30am

On this tour, guests are given a walkthrough of the tortoise exhibit while a Zoo Keeper educates guests on the species and the Zoo’s tortoise residents. The Zoo Keeper will also answer any questions the guests may have about the animals. Guests will meet AJ, the Zoo’s largest and oldest Aldabra tortoise.

Cost:

• Family of 5: $250 non-members,

   $200 members

• Friends of 2: $150 non-members,

   $100 member

• Additional adult: $50

• Additional child: $30

 

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Australia

Daily at 3:30pm; seasonal due to breeding

A Zoo Keeper will provide guests a tour of the yard while educating guests about the kangaroo, emu and wallaby species that live at the Zoo. Guests will get a better look at the cassowary exhibit adjacent to the Australia yard.

Cost:

• Family of 5: $250 non-members,

   $200 members

• Friends of 2: $150 non-members,

   $100 members

• Additional adult: $50

• Additional child: $30

 

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Bison

Daily at 10am or 2pm

Guests are taken behind the bison barn where a Zoo Keeper will feed Oakley and Lily hay and talk with guests about their species. This behind the scenes tour is a great way to meet and honor the National Mammal!

Cost:

• Family of 5: $250 non-members,

   $200 members

• Friends of 2: $150 non-members,

   $100 members

• Additional adult: $50

• Additional child: $30

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Giraffe Feeding

Daily at 2pm

This tour includes an up-close and personal experience that includes hand-feeding carrots to giraffes at the edge of their exhibit! A Zoo Keeper will assist the guests during the feeding and teach them more about the giraffes at the Zoo – Billy, Imara and Noelly – and their unique species in general.

Cost:

• Family of 5: $300 non-members,

   $250 members

• Friends of 2: $200 non-members,

   $150 members

• Additional adult: $60

• Additional child: $40

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Lion

Daily at 9:30am

As the guests arrive, the lions are individually served a hearty breakfast of different meats, including rabbit and ribs. A Zoo Keeper will educate the guests on the Zoo’s lions, Mramba and Zola, as well as give fun facts about the animals in captivity and in the wild! Watch the lions as they head out of their exhibit for the day.

Cost:

• Family of 5: $300 non-members,

   $250 members

• Friends of 2: $200 non-members,

   $150 members

• Additional adult: $60

• Additional child: $40

Guidelines: Children should be at least 8 years of age, with at least one adult accompanying each child under 12. A maximum of 8 guests can enter the lion area at a time; please inquire about larger groups.

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Red River Hog

Daily at 9:30am

Guests are escorted inside to place enrichment for Oboi, the Zoo’s male hog, to enjoy. Guests will then head outside to see Penelope. A Zoo Keeper chats with the guests about the animals and their species.

Cost:

• Family of 5: $250 non-members,

   $200 members

• Friends of 2: $150 non-members,

   $100 members

• Additional adult: $50

• Additional child: $30

Guidelines: A maximum of 8 guests can enter the red river hog area at a time; please inquire about larger groups.

Sloth

Days and times vary; contact for more information

Slow down and enjoy this private encounter with KC, one of the Zoo’s famous sloths. Guests will meet with Zoo staff who care for KC and get the opportunity to experience her up close and personal. Bring a camera to capture a priceless photo opportunity! Zoo Staff will also answer questions and talk about KC, her species and the other species of sloths currently in existence around the world.

Cost:

• Family of 5: $300 non-members,

   $250 members

• Friends of 2: $200 non-members,

   $150 members

• Additional adult: $60

• Additional child: $40

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Sun Bear

Daily at 9:30am or 2pm

During a tour of the bear’s building, guests will see Suntil, one of the Zoo’s Sun bears. A Keeper will educate the guests on the species. There may also be a potential training session or enrichment opportunity, pending the animal’s cooperation.

Cost:

• Family of 5: $300 non-members,

   $250 members

• Friends of 2: $200 non-members,

   $150 members

• Additional adult: $60

• Additional child: $40

Guidelines: A maximum of 8 guests can enter the Sun bear area at a time; please inquire about larger groups.

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Tapir

Daily at 9:30am

Guests are given a private tour of the building the tapir is kept in while a Zoo Keeper talks about Hattie, and gives interesting facts about the species. The Keeper will also either do a training session with the tapir or feed her produce.

Cost:

• Family of 5: $300 non-members,

   $250 members

• Friends of 2: $200 non-members,

   $150 members

• Additional adult: $60

• Additional child: $40

Guidelines: A maximum of 10 guests can enter the tapir area at a time; please inquire about larger groups.

ARRANGE A TOUR

Space is limited.  Two week advance reservations are required — remember to confirm your reservation prior to your tour day.

Call 757.441.2374, ext. 222 or email to schedule your tour.

Fill out the form below to request more information about behind-the-scenes experiences.

Pre-payment is required and must be received two weeks prior to your tour.

  • Behind-the-scenes tours are non-refundable; however, if it becomes necessary to reschedule your tour for another date, you may do so by calling 48 hours before the tour without incurring any additional charges.
  • Please note that we reserve the right to cancel a tour at any time to ensure the safety of our animals, staff and guests.  If this should happen, your tour will be rescheduled or you will receive a refund.
  • Closed-toe shoes are required — no open-toed shoes, including sandals, will be permitted in animal areas.
  • Please inquire about wheelchair and stroller accessibility on a specific tour.

REQUEST MORE INFORMATION

Request More Information

  • *Two week advance reservation is required, submission of this form is not confirmation of tour date.