You’ve asked, we’re answering! Here are some of the frequently asked questions regarding the Zoo’s reopening. Still don’t see what you’re looking for? Shoot us an email at [email protected].

Can I buy tickets at the Zoo?

Yes! You may purchase tickets onsite at our ticket booths or online by clicking here. During high volume times, like Spring Break or during special events, advanced purchases and member reservations may be required.

Why do I have to buy my tickets in advance during Spring Break? 

During high volume times, like Spring Break or during special events, advanced purchases and member reservations may be required. This helps us prepare with appropriate staffing maintain a manageable parking capacity to ensure the best possible guest experience for you.

How long can I visit the Zoo?

On average, guests spend around two hours inside the park. After you enter the Zoo you may stay as long as you like until we close. The Zoo closes each day at 4:00 pm. (last paid admission at 3 pm, last member admission at 3:30 pm).

Can I buy a ticket over the phone?

Yes to purchase tickets, please call us at (757) 441-2374, ext. 0.

Are discounts or coupons available for admissions? 

Military, First Responders, Teachers, Norfolk Residents & City of Norfolk Employees and their dependents can receive $2 off each General Admission Ticket purchased with a valid ID.

The Norfolk PowerUp! Program discounts tickets to $6 for those on Medicaid, with a valid Medicaid or insurance card. A valid card will be required for each person, including children, to purchase these tickets.

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 individual plus one companion will get in free.

Do you offer discounts for homeschoolers?

We do not offer homeschool discounts for general admission everyday, however we do host several Homeschool Days throughout the year where homeschoolers receive discounted admission and can take part in a variety of education activities on Zoo grounds. Check out our event calendar for updates on the next Homeschool Day!

How do I book a group trip?

The Virginia Zoo offers a variety of options for school and group trips. For more information on how to book, please visit our School & Group Page. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact our Program Reservation Specialist at [email protected] or call 757-441-2374 ext. 229.

I can no longer attend during the day I reserved. Can I get a refund?

To make changes to your reservation, please call us at (757) 441-2374, ext. 0.

How can I upgrade my admission ticket to membership if I decide to join during my visit?

To upgrade your admission ticket to a membership, please stop by the membership office or any ticket booth during your visit or give us a call at (757) 441-2374, ext. 0.

Do members have to get a reservation?  

Member reservations are not required for most days. During high volume times, like Spring Break or during special events, advanced purchases and member reservations may be required.

Will my expired membership card work? 

Yes, the barcode will still work and show your current membership in the system. 

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 resend a digital card to your email on file.

Are discounts available for memberships? 

Yes, we offer discounts for Military, First Responders, Seniors (62+), Teachers, and City of Norfolk Employees. You must present a valid ID at time of purchase to receive the discount. Currently, membership discounts are only valid in person where ID can be verified.

How much does a membership cost?

Please see the Zoo Membership page for current membership pricing.

Where is my membership card?

Starting February 6, 2023, your membership card will arrive in your confirmation email at the time of purchase.

Can I share a Virginia Zoo Membership with a friend or family member?

Primary and secondary adult cardholders must live in the same household and may be asked to show proof of residency. Cardholder names cannot be changed during the membership year.

Can I list my family's nanny or grandparent on the membership?

With the Household Plus and Household Deluxe membership you will receive guest spots where you can list a nanny or grandparent. These individuals will not be able to bring the member children into the Zoo without being named on the membership.

Is my membership from another zoo or aquarium valid here?

We share reciprocal memberships with more than 150 zoos and aquariums nationwide. The ticket booths have a complete list of reciprocal memberships and applicable discounts. Please also bring your participating AZA organization member card and matching photo ID with you upon arrival. If proof of active membership is not provided, you will be charged the cost to upgrade to a Full Price General Admission ticket.

I am having trouble logging in or I can't find the member-priced tickets? 

Members will need to be logged in first to view member pricing (including free tickets). All you need is your Member Number and the Primary Member’s Last Name. If you are unsure of what's on file, please call or email us at [email protected] to verify your information.

Are member swaps still happening? 

Our monthly perks are listed several months in advance to give our members a heads-up on what to look forward to. As our swaps must be coordinated with other institutions, complete details are not finalized until closer to the start of that swap month. Once these details are confirmed, an email is sent out to share everything about the swap with our members. Please check the Zoo’s website as swaps will be posted to the events calendar and Member perks page.

What animals are off exhibit? 

See a full list of animals currently off exhibit here. Remember, if you do not see an animal in their habitat, it doesn't necessarily mean they are "off exhibit." For animal wellbeing, our animals are provided with covered areas or indoor access so they have the freedom to choose if they are visible or not. Don't be afraid to ask a staff member or volunteer if you are unsure - we are always happy to help!

What is there to do during my visit?

In addition to seeing the Zoo's 700 animals, representing 150 different species, you can find a list of daily activities on the Plan Your Day page.

Can I come in, leave and re-enter?  

If you leave the Zoo, you may re-enter on the same day by showing your admission receipt at the ticket booth.

Can I bring a stroller, wagon, or wheelchair into the Zoo?

Yes, strollers, wagons and wheelchairs are permitted inside the Zoo.

Can I rent a stroller or wheelchair?

Strollers and wheelchairs can be rented for the day on a first-come, first-serve basis. They can be found outside the Zoo’s Gift Shop at the Stroller Shack.

  • Single Stroller: Member, $6 //  Non-member, $8
  • Double Stroller: Member, $8  //  Non-member, $10
  • Motorized wheelchairs: Member, $32 //  Non-members, $36
  • Regular wheelchairs: $12

All costs are for the entire day.

What forms of payment can you accept?

The Virginia Zoo accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express, and cash. Personal checks will only be accepted in the Membership Office.

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, Beastro, Mini Melts and the Snack Shack. Lafayette Park is 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 your admission receipt at the ticket booth.

Can I feed the animals during my visit?

For the safety and wellbeing of our animals we do not allow guests to feed our animals during general admission visits. However, we do offer a variety of Behind-the-Scenes tours that give you the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of our animals, as well as have the chance to feed them. These tours are available at select times for an additional fee and must be booked 2 weeks in advance. Learn more and book your tour here!

Can I bring my service animal with me?

Yes, service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are allowed inside the Zoo.  Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability. Emotional Support animals are not considered service animals under the ADA.  Service animals are not permitted inside animal exhibits including the goat yard or during behind-the-scenes tours.

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 at all times.

Can I bring my bike into the Zoo?

Bikes are not permitted inside the Zoo. Any bikes brought to the Zoo must be left outside the Zoo entrance. For the convenience of our guests there is a bike rack located to the left of the ticket booths, outside the Zoo's Gift Shop.

How do I ride the train?

The Virginia Zoo Express train is an additional charge of $3 per person ages 2 and up. Children under 2 ride free. Tickets to ride the train can be purchased at the Train Station in the Fountain Plaza on the day of your visit.

Are there designated smoking areas in the Zoo? 

The Zoo is a smoke-free facility; no smoking is allowed inside the Zoo. This also includes e-cigarettes and vaping.

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.

How can I get a donation from the Zoo for a charity event?

All of our charitable donation requests go through the online form at the link here. It is our policy to donate up to one Two-Ticket Fan Pack, that can be used for either adult or child admission, per year per eligible organization. Please fill out the form and someone will be in contact with you.

What do I do if I have lost something at the Zoo?

If you lost an item at the Zoo and are still at the Zoo, please call 757.441.2374 to report the item. Otherwise, email Lost and Found at [email protected] to report the item. We will contact you if the item is found. After 30 days, unclaimed items are donated. When reporting a lost item, please include: A description of the item, the date you lost it, your name, and your telephone number.

How old is the Virginia Zoo?

The Virginia Zoo (known then as the Lafayette Zoological Park) began acquiring animals in 1901, so the Zoo is more than 120 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 700 animals, ranging from mega-vertebrates, like rhinos and giraffes, to primates and alpacas. With the addition of our World of Reptiles and Friends building in June 2018, we’ve added several exotic species including large lizards, venomous snakes and rare frogs.

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). The Virginia Zoo is up for renewing accreditation in 2024.

Are there other accredited zoos in Virginia?

There are currently no other AZA-accredited zoos in Virginia.

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, horticulture, 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?

  • 2017: White rhinoceros exhibit
  • 2018: World of Reptiles and Friends
  • 2019: Run Wild! Nature Discovery Zone
  • 2023: Asia: Trail of the Tiger remodeled
  • 2023: New electric train
  • 2024: Turtle Oasis exhibit

How does the Zoo support conservation?

Please review our Conservation page for more information on the Zoo and conservation.

Will you take an animal I found or can't care for anymore?

Unfortunately, as an AZA accredited facility we cannot take in animals that aren't from another accredited facility or approved by the association. We recommend reaching out to Humane Wildlife Rescue at 757-333-3391 or Wildlife Rehabilitation Referral Line at 757-263-4762 to see if they are able to take in the animal.

Can I donate food for the animals?

As an AZA accredited facility we are not able to take food donations from individuals or companies that are not on our approved vendors list. The best way to give to our animals will be through monetary donations or purchasing animal enrichment on our wishlist. We also accept newspaper donations for some of our animals that can use it to burrow.

Can I donate old baby bottles for the animals?

Currently, the Zoo is not in need of baby bottles at the moment. We recommend seeing if any women's shelters in the area could use them if you are still looking to donate to a good cause.

Can I have a photoshoot at the Zoo?

On our website here you will find our photo policy at the bottom of the page. If you do not plan to use these photos for commercial use, you would pay general admission for everyone in your party and you are able to take pictures on any public walkways or in front of exhibits. The form for this is on that page. If you plan to use the photos for commercial use, there is another form on that page and there is a fee for that process. If you have any additional questions please feel free to reach out at [email protected].