Natural Bridge, Virginia: Virginia Safari Park

180 acre drive-thru park recreates an African safari experience from the convenience of your own vehicle. The main thrill is letting ostriches, camels and other beasts stick their heads in your car window in search of food. Also includes a petting zoo.

Virginia Safari Park

Address:
229 Safari Ln, Natural Bridge, VA
Directions:
I-81 exit 180, north on US 11, go 1/2 mi. to KOA campground sign, turn left and follow Park signs.
Hours:
Daily 9 am. Gate closes at 4 or 5 pm.
Admission:
Per person.
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Visitor Tips and News About Virginia Safari Park

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Virginia Safari Park

In Natural Bridge, 180 acres of drive-thru zoo with every type of hoofed animal you can think of, from llamas to bison, to zebras and wildebeest, and a couple ostriches. All come up freely to your vehicle, from which you can pet and feed (for a totally reasonable additional fee). Be careful of the llamas -- they spit. Then they have another 10 or 12 acres with petting zoos with all sorts of animals like giraffes and kangaroos. Favorite part of our whole road trip, so funny!

[Kierstein Robinson, 10/16/2012]

The animals really do stick their heads in your car, so a bucket of chow is a good idea.

Safari Zoo. Safari Zoo

This attraction is Jurassic Park for vegetarians. Llamas, ostriches, elk, deer, bison, camels, giant birds (ostriches and emus), pigs, watusi cattle, zebras, and others all vie for your car, because you have buckets of food for them. Eating styles differ; the birds essentially attack your bucket whereas the deer are calm. I'm not sure it can be recommended for small children, because it can be absolutely terrifying at times. To have an ostrich and a llama run after your car at the same time, combined with the shock and awe of being sneezed on by giant mammals, might cause temporary emotional damage. To anyone. Definitely a good time though.

If you have a minivan, you can have the sliding door open. Otherwise, only your window(s) can be down. There are also guided tours on a tram-like thing. Half the adventure, though, is driving at your own pace and having to meander through herds and outrun the damn llamas.

It takes about one hour to go through it.

[VCOM, 03/24/2007]

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