There’s just something special about the Luray Zoo, and a lot of it is due to the fact, that many of the animals here are “rescued from less than suitable owners.” It is a shame that some folks decide to pick a “pet”, such as a cute Burmese Python, that quickly grows to a size that most won’t be able to handle. Yet, thankfully, the Luray Zoo has stepped in to rescue a few of these, along with some even more exotic animals. I’ve been to this establishment a few times, and I try to get here at least once a summer. Its just a fascinating place, and while its not as large as zoos closer to the Washington D.C. area, it has plenty to offer. A trip to the reptile house, is worth the cost of admission.
They have more snakes here, than I’ve seen at any zoo. In addition to this, they have more venomous ones. Looking to see a cobra, that’s behind the glass? Come here, and see this creature up close. They have a variety of venomous serpents, and these include pit vipers, copperheads, cottonmouths, and a Diamondback Rattlesnake that I’m glad is well secured. Here they are given the proper amount of respect, as the staff often reminds us of these creatures value, and dispels myths about them. They also have non-venomous specimens, such as cornsnakes, that are occasionally brought out to show people their beauty up close. My personal favorite is the Hognose that they have. On my last visit, it “played dead,” which they are known for in the wild.
What if snakes and lizards, aren’t particularly “warm and fuzzy” to you? Have no fear, as there are plenty of “cute” animals on site. The small “petting” area isn’t all that large in size, but it offers an impressive array of animals to “get up close and personal with.” My personal favorite is the potbellied pig, as the girth of this hog is more than huge. I don’t know how he walks, but somehow he does, and he just loves attention. If you scratch his back, he will actually “grunt”, which I’m guessing his way of saying “thank you.” All of the goats, sheep, and the donkeys love being petted as well, and you can purchase food for them to eat. The best part is, after you are through this part of the park, you can use the numerous hand sanitizer stations that are available.
Along with the petting area, is a safari style Jeep you can have your kids get their pictures taken in. There are some animals in enclosures for good reason, especially the rather large tiger that doesn’t seem to want to be hugged. Along with some monkeys and an actual bald eagle, I am impressed by the cleanliness of each exhibit. The animals are kept in suitable environments, and if you are lucky enough to catch one of the “reptile shows” that’s on an irregular schedule, you’ll see real passion from the staff and ownership. There are always plenty of staff members to answer your questions, and they are both quite approachable and knowledgeable.
This zoo is a hit with adults and children alike. Admission is $10 for grown ups, with the fee only being $5 for those 3-13 years of age. Under three is free, and this is a place you can spend an afternoon at. There’s a small gift shop, with the usually high priced stuffed animals and movies, along with a few areas you can have a picnic at. You can purchase a “Birthday Package” that entitles you to a cake, along with some “behind the scenes time” with the animals and their keepers. The Luray Zoo is located at 1087 US Hwy 211 Luray, VA 22835. You can call them at 540-743-4113, and they are open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Its a worthwhile place to visit, and convenient to nearby Luray Caverns, which is the biggest draw in the area. While that is a neat natural environment to see underground, nothing is more fun than a whole bunch of animals.