Looking for fun and interactive programs that encourage family learning and foster early environmental awareness? The Virginia Zoo Early Childhood Programs offer several programs for pre-school age children and their care-givers or guardians. Come discover the natural world through play, stories, art and more. We currently offer both structured and unstructured early childhood programming throughout the year through story times and scheduled classes.

  • zoo employee telling a story to children

    Story Times

    Garden Tales

    Norfolk Master Gardeners will educate young Zoo visitors about the importance of plants and their relationship with animals. Participants can make a project related to the story.

    Zoo Tales

    Join the Education Department for a storybook adventure. The program features animal stories, educational activities and maybe even an animal visitor!
    These programs are included with Zoo admission.

    Available: July 8 and July 22 at 10 am and 11 am

  • Zoo Snoozes

    Experience the Virginia Zoo from dusk until dawn by joining us after-hours for this unique nocturnal adventure! It’s the ultimate sleepover for families, friends and groups. Zoo Snoozes include educational and exciting nighttime activities, up-close encounters with our animal ambassadors, exhibit trail hikes, a behind-the-scenes experience, breakfast, and so much more. Wake up to the sounds of lions roaring or siamangs calling!


  • Kids in a bamboo forest

    Kids Night Out

    Planning a night out and need to find a babysitter? Look no more! Let Virginia Zoo will handle childcare for you. Kids aged 4-12 will enjoy a fun-filled and educational time at the Zoo. During this evening, we will learn all about our amazing animals with an animal encounter, games, activities and a craft. This evening also includes a light pizza dinner.

    No dates scheduled at this time

  • Nature Days

    We dig nature! With the goal of exploring the outdoors and getting a little dirty, unstructured play in natural spaces has been shown to improve physical health, support mental and emotional wellbeing, and promote life-long conservation values.

    What you can expect to experience:

    • Fun educational activities
    • A craft or giveaway to take home with you
    • Tools (magnifying glasses, scavenger hunts, etc.) to help you explore nature at the Zoo!
    • and more!

    Run Wild dates will be posted on the Events Calendar