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

Can I buy tickets at the Zoo?

For a limited time, the Zoo will require ticket reservations from every guest and member who visit. Children under the age of 2 do not need a ticket or reservation. To reserve your ticket, click here.

Why do I have to buy my tickets in advance? 

In order to monitor capacity, the Zoo is instituting timed ticketing and allowing a certain number of people in per time slot. To help us abide by these regulations, we’re asking all guests to buy tickets in advance.

What reservation times are available?

Reservations will be limited and spaced 1-hour apart to allow visitors to maintain physical distance. The first group will be scheduled at 10:00 am and the last at 2:00 pm to allow for ample visit time. You will have one hour from the start of your reservation to enter the Zoo.

How long can I visit the Zoo?

On average, guests spend around two hours inside the park. After you enter the Zoo during your reserved one-hour entry time, you may stay as long as you like; the Zoo closes at 4:00 pm.

Can I buy a ticket over the phone?

To reserve a time slot over the phone, please call us at (757) 441-2374, ext. 0.

Are discounts or coupons available online for admissions reservations? 

We are unable to accept coupons or honor some admissions discounts at this time for online ticket reservations so we can manage the park capacity with advanced reservations. Please check our Hours and Prices page for discount availability.

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

To make changes to your reservations, 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 during you visit or give us a call at (757) 441-2374, ext. 0.

Do members have to get a reservation?  

Online reservations are required for ALL guests, including members, during this time to control capacity and minimize lines.  

To reserve your tickets, click here. Choose a member date and entry window, login, enter the adults and children in your group and you will automatically get the number of free tickets covered by your membership. Upon arrival at the Zoo, you will need your photo ID and emailed reservation confirmation or membership card. 

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 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.

Are discounts available for memberships? 

For all of our membership discounts, you can send a copy of your ID as verification to and your phone number. When staff are in the office they will give you a call to process your membership payment over the phone. Alternatively, you may purchase general admission tickets and upgrade to a membership during your visit to receive the discount.

How much does a membership cost?

Please see the Zoo Membership page for current membership pricing.

Can someone other than a primary or secondary card holder pay for my household membership at the Zoo? (i.e. babysitter or teenager)

Yes, but only if they pay with cash or a check. All credit card payments require a matching ID, so the cardholder will need to be present.

Where is my membership card?

The Virginia Zoo does not mail membership cards. The Virginia Zoo emailed a temporary membership card that can be used to access your member benefits.

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.

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. Advance reservations are available here.  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.

Your system won’t recognize me as a member. How do I reserve my FREE ticket? 

Please email us at with your member number and correct email address so we can see what’s wrong with your account and correct any information. 

Are member swaps still happening? 

We are currently working with our swap partners to assess alternative dates as reopenings are planned. Please check the Zoo’s website as swaps will be posted to the events calendar and Member perks page.

What do I need to bring? 

Ticket holders: Please bring a printed reservation confirmation or show us the emailed reservation confirmation from your mobile phone. 

Members: Please bring either your physical membership card or the temporary membership card that was emailed to you. Your reservation will be visible when we scan your card.  

When should I arrive? 

Please arrive within the 1-hour window that’s on your reservation confirmation. If you’re early, please wait in your car until your scheduled entry time. For example, if your ticket is at 1 pm, you have from 1 pm until 2 pm to enter the Zoo.

What if my ticket is for 1 pm and I’m running late. What do I do?  

No worries! You will have one hour from the start of your reservation to enter the Zoo. For example, with a reservation for 1 pm, you will be allowed into the Zoo up until 2 pm.

What if I want to spend longer than 2 hours at the Zoo?  

We recommend a visit of around 2 hours, but your ticket will not expire once you are inside the Zoo. You will have until 4:00 pm to visit, when the Zoo closes for the day.

Do I have to wear a mask? Will I be policed for improper social distancing?  

For the safety of you, all our guests, our staff, and our animals, we ask that guests, ages 5 and up, wear masks upon entering the Zoo, when indoors and when within six feet of Zoo staff or other guests. Children under 5 and those with medical conditions are exempt from wearing a mask. Zoo staff have marked off proper social distancing throughout the Zoo and staff and volunteers are trained in customer service and safety procedures.

What is closed? 

Some exhibits and amenities are currently closed. The Australia Walkabout is closed as it is now a transitional space for the arriving and departing animals. Visit for the current status of exhibits and amenities.

Will the restrooms be open?

Restrooms will be open and doors will be propped open to limit contact surfaces. The Zoo’s contracted custodial team will ensure all restrooms are cleaned frequently throughout the day.

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.

What is your cleaning regime for the public areas? 

An increased cleaning protocol has been put in place. Virginia Zoo staff, volunteers and custodial team will patrol the Zoo grounds and wipe down all contact areas (e.g., handrails, benches, handles, etc.) each time they pass. Some high-touch areas have been roped off or closed and others are noted with signage. 

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?

VISA, MasterCard, Discover and cash are accepted throughout the Zoo. 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, 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 your admission receipt at the ticket booth.

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.

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.

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.

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?

The Virginia Zoo receives many lost items every week. 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 to report the item. We will contact you if the item is found. After two weeks, 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 1900, 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 new World of Reptiles and Friends exhibit in June 2018, we’ve added several exotic species including crocodiles, venomous snakes, rare frogs and monkeys.

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 2018, the Virginia Zoo’s accreditation was renewed.

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, 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
  • 2018: World of Reptiles and Friends
  • 2019: Run Wild! Nature Discovery Zone

How does the Zoo support conservation?

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