Stay up to date on the construction progress, experience special virtual behind-the-scenes sneak peeks of animals off-exhibit, and more by visiting this page throughout this process.

Beginning Monday, October 24th, the Virginia Zoo “Asia: Trail of the Tiger” will experience a partial closure due to the replacement of the boardwalk surface and structure. Construction is expected to last through the spring of 2023. 

The boardwalk replacement project will provide needed updates for guests and staff, while also improving the guest experience and aesthetics. While the boardwalk is safe to walk on, it has experienced weather-related deterioration to its wooden boards and structure. These elements will be replaced with a durable and heat-resistant composite material. The Zoo is taking this opportunity to replace the entire boardwalk during the cooler months.  

The animals that can generally be viewed along the boardwalk will not be viewable for the duration of the construction. Other animals on the trail such as the tigers, orangutans, moon bear, tapirs, otters, and more will remain on exhibit for guests. Because most of these animals are tropical or sub-tropical species, they will have access to indoor, off-exhibit warm areas and may choose to be inside.  

During construction, general Zoo admission will be discounted to $11 for all ticket levels. This price accounts for both potential impacts on the guest experience due to construction, as well as a new seasonal discount the Zoo is piloting for our cooler winter months.  

“Seasonal pricing is something we’ve been thinking about offering and with the timing of the construction, now seemed like the perfect time to test it,” says Executive Director Greg Bockheim. “Winter is still a great time to see animals, and we hope this opportunity will encourage more guests to enjoy an extra visit to the Zoo outside of our busier summer season.”    


What is under construction and why?

The wooden boardwalk on “Asia: Trail of the Tiger” is being replaced. The boardwalk replacement project will provide needed updates for safety, while also improving the guest experience and aesthetic. Damaged wooden boards and structures will be replaced with a durable and heat-resistant composite material. 

How long will the construction take?

The boardwalk portion of the trail will close on Monday, October 24. We anticipate the project being completed in Spring 2023. 

Which animals will be unavailable to be seen by guests during construction?

While it is subject to change, most animals whose habitats can be viewed from the wooden boardwalk will be kept behind the scenes during construction. This includes: 

  • Siamangs 
  • Aviary birds 
  • Red panda 
  • Rhinoceros hornbill* 
  • Sarus crane* 

*These animals have been off-exhibit recently due to precautions concerning the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza found in migrating, native bird species. 

Animals that should be able to be seen during the majority of the construction include: 

  • Orangutans 
  • Malayan tigers 
  • Cassowary 
  • Binturong 
  • Moon bear 
  • Malayan tapir 
  • Asian small-clawed otters 
  • White-cheeked gibbon 

 Many of these animals are tropical or sub-tropical species and typically have access to indoor, off-exhibit parts of their habitats during the colder winter months every year, so they may choose to be inside where it is warmer. As animal welfare is one of our top priorities, we may also keep them inside or move them behind the scenes if we have concerns about their comfort during the construction. 

How are the animals being cared for during this time?

All of the “Asia: Trail of the Tiger” animal residents will receive the same quality of care from their regular zookeepers and veterinary staff during the construction! While we are taking precautions with their welfare in mind, we will monitor their behavior for signs of stress and make changes to their care as necessary. We hope to share virtual behind-the-scenes sneak peeks and updates from their keepers throughout the project!