Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, Virginia
Looking for an unusual zoo experience? The 180-acre Virginia Safari Park provides a unique drive-through adventure where visitors can feed an amazing array of animals from the convenience of their vehicle.
Virginia Safari Park
An unexpected delight, the Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, Virginia, was the star activity of our camping getaway to nearby Cave Mountain Lake Campground. The highlight of the Virginia Safari Park experience is the three-mile safari drive where a variety of exotic animals may (or may not) approach the vehicle begging for food.
Purchase your Virginia Safari Park tickets online - weekday tickets are $3 off each admission. The added advantage of a weekday visit is the lack of crowds. Plan an early arrival to ensure hungry animals (which are more likely to come up to you). Check the website for seasonal hours.
Definitely purchase food buckets! The experience of wildlife approaching was at first overwhelming and slightly frightening, but if you want the interaction then you'll want the feed. Feed only from the buckets to avoid nips. Watch the ostrich in the video - he pecks fast and furious. Just a reminder: For the health of these animals, the Virginia Safari Park does not allow outside feed.
Here is where Tip #2 leads to Tip #3. Hold on tightly to those buckets! The animals are clever and will snatch the bucket from your hands. How do we know? A tug-of-war between my daughter and a deer, as well as the number of buckets seen along the gravel drive. We found that leaving the windows open halfway kept them from reaching all the way into the van. Just a reminder: If you lose the bucket battle, do not leave your vehicle to retrieve it - anyone outside of their vehicle will be immediately expelled from the park.
Be prepared to be stopped by the llamas. The beginning of the safari starts in an open meadow where llamas are one of the first to greet the visitors. Watch out for the head llama who plants himself in the front of the vehicle to stop it while his friends jostle into position to get to the buckets.