Lets talk family fun.
I am consistently researching and discoverying places to go, people to see, and new things to eat. My hubby and children are ofcourse my main reason. I try to ensure that we are not just sitting in the house and instead that we are actually living, exploring, experiencing, etc. Since I am always somewhere doing something, my friends consider me the go-to person for information on free or low cost family oriented activities.
I simply google and find out what is in my neighborhood or region that is fun, free, affordable, and different to do. I usually use resources like FamilyFun Magazine, Family Circle Magazine, Richmond Magazine, Style Weekly, RVA Magazine, and online sources such as Completely Kids Richmond. These always share about community events like festivals, storytimes, food courts, and places to go for family vacation or family fun.
In 2015, the Virginia Safari Park was voted Top 10 in the U.S. in an article published by FamilyFun Magazine for family vacation destinations. My family and I went in actually 2013 and we had a great time! This was very different than your average zoo! We are now ready to go back.
The Virginia Safari Park is located in Rockbridge county, at exit 180/ 180-B off I-81 in Natural Bridge, Virginia. It is conveniently located in the Shenandoah Valley, only minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway and historic Lexington (possibly our next trip). We took a short day trip from Richmond (2.5 hrs). The drive was not bad at all. It was in fact worth the drive.
Virginia Safari Park is a 180 acre drive-thru adventure, with over 1,000 animals from around the world. You have the option to the Safari drive-thru or the Village walk-thru. We did both! You can stay the entire day there. They allow you to leave and re-enter as long as you hang on to your receipt. The admission cost to me is very affordable. Your paid admission grants access to the Safari Drive-Thru & Safari Village Walk-Thru for the entire day.
The Safari Drive-thru was amazing you can purchase affordable animal feed and during the drive thru when you stop the animals can approach and eat the feed. My children and nephew loved it! They had camels eating out of their hands!
The Village walk thru is just as amazing. There is giraffe feeding (my hubby was almost licked by the giraffe), a kangaroo walk-thru (they were soooo cute with the babies in the pouches!), a budgie adventure where you can get budgie sticks and allow small colorful birds to perch on your hand and eat, a petting zoo, and then a Tiger area. We truly enjoyed this.
We packed lunches and at in the picnic area. We got dessert after at their “Watering Hole Cafe.” I recommend packing a lunch or eating at the cafe. The cafe menu includes hot dogs, nachos, pizza, hot & cold drinks, ICEE’s, ice cream, popcorn, and more!
Here is the complete list of Top 10 Animal Attractions the FamilyFun Magazine mentioned:
1. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo
2. St. Louis Zoo
3. Monterey Bay Aquarium
4. Georgia Aquarium
5. San Diego Zoo
6. Virginia Safari Park
7. Disney’s Animal Kingdom
8. Cincinnati Zoo
9. Busch Gardens Tampa
10. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.” – William James