ZOO FACTS

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.