If you live in Roanoke, Virginia or you are just passing through, a common question is what can you do? Families with small children will enjoy a quick trip to the Mill Mountain Zoo. It is not a large zoo by any means. There are about 74 species to be found within the small enclosed space.
For a person looking for the standard zoo animals, like tigers, elephants, and giraffes, you may not find this experience as enjoyable. The cutest creatures by far are the snow leopards and the little red panda. There are some exotic animals within the zoo’s limits. However, as you wander through the grounds, you will find that it will take no more than an hour to see all the animals.
There are two advantages to the Mill Mountain Zoo. A playground is located on the grounds. This is a great place for kids to run around. Visiting the zoo with a couple of 2 1/2 year olds and a 17 month old, the slides were the best part of the playground. This accounted for an extra hour that we spent at the zoo.
The other favorite of children was the “Zoo Choo.” For only $2.00 per person, you can take two laps around the park. It is a great way to wind down a trip to the zoo. The train departs from the station every 30 minutes. It even passes through a tunnel that has murals of animals on the walls.
One of the best parts of the zoo is the location. It is located at the top of Mill Mountain, which is accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is right next the Roanoke Star. Before you enter the zoo, there is a Discovery Center to visit as well. You’ll have great views from the mountain, no matter what time of year you visit.
As of 2009, the admission is $7.50 for adults and $5.00 for children between the ages of 3 and 11. There are discounts for seniors, AAA, and military of 10%. For only $50.00, a family can get a membership to the zoo. That covers two visits for a family of four, so it pays for itself quickly. For those families that enjoy the zoo, this is the best way to go. It opens daily at 10:00am and stops admitting visitors at 4:30pm. You can plan your visit around the Keeper Chats, where the keepers share additional information about the animals they care for. You can even watch the animals during their feeding times.