Evening Hours with the Animals

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courtesy of Virginia Safari Park

Beat the heat of the day when you visit the animals of the Virginia Safari Park in the evening!

Virginia’s only drive-through safari experience is nestled into 180 acres in the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley in Natural Bridge. Ten acres of the 180 make up the Safari Village Walk-Thru, which gives you an opportunity to mingle with the beasts during a cooler part of the day. Another bonus is that animals tend to be more active in the mornings and evenings, and less at midday. If you’d like to test that theory, stay the day! Your admission is good for exit and re-entry the entire day.

What to Expect

Walking is permitted in the walkabout area only – the Safari Village Walk-Thru. The rest of the park – the Safari Drive-Thru – must be explored from within your vehicle or aboard a park wagon.

The animals love to be fed, but you may only feed them park-provided food. Buckets of grain are available for purchase inside the gift shop or when you are admitted at the gate. The birds in the Budgie Aviary love their feed sticks, and the giraffes will step right up for a bite of crisp lettuce. These types of food are available for purchase in the Village Walk-Thru.

The Safari Drive-Thru Experience

Animals may stick their heads in your vehicle and some of them leave slobber kisses. Many are eager to see your bucket of feed and snag a bite. They bring squeals of joy to children and adults alike. Enjoy this part!

Expect to see Watusi, fun birds like Rhea, Emu, and Ostrich, varieties of deer, camels, llama, wildebeest, bison, and much more. Keep an eye out for a new baby camel, Courtney!

The Safari Village Walk-Thru Experience

Feed the giraffe at their eye level, check out the kangaroo, sloths, monkeys, and giant anteaters, pet the farm animals, peruse the free-flight Budgie Aviary, and ooh and ahh at the sight of African penguins. The Walk-Thru is also home to Bengal tigers and rare King cheetah. Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday you can see the cheetah run their lure enrichment. It’s a time of play and behavioral activity.

Want to get closer? Book an Animal Encounter with penguins, the white rhinos, or the two-toed sloths.

Hours of Enjoyment

Virginia Safari Park is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays through May 25 and until 6:30 p.m. on weekends. May 26 the hours extend to 6:30 p.m. daily. The last car is admitted 90 minutes before closing.

When you’re ready for a refreshment, check out Watering Hole Café where cool things like ICEES and ice cream await. Lunch items are on the menu, too. The Café is open 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and until 5 p.m. weekends in May. Memorial Day through Labor Day the hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

These are a No-Go

No pets, balloons, or smoking are allowed on park grounds. Not even in your own vehicle. Smokers do have a designated area near the Village Walk-Thru, however.

Motorcycles, RVs longer than 42 feet, or other vehicles without solid doors are not permitted to drive through the park.

Do not exit your vehicle while driving through the park. If you’re on the back of a truck enjoying the animals, do not lean over the side.

See you soon at Virginia Safari Park!

Header photo courtesy of Virginia Safari Park.

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