Get Closer To Nature At The Mill Mountain Zoo

girls pointing at python in terrarium

While you might glimpse a wild animal or two when hiking on a secluded trail, that’s not even close to what you’ll experience at the Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke. Animal encounters on the trails can be frightening, but the zoo provides a safe, controlled environment for connecting with wildlife. Plus, you’ll get so much more than a glimpse at the zoo, and the animals are a lot more exotic here. After all, you probably haven’t seen many snow leopards or red pandas while hiking.

You can stop by any day of the week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for kids aged 3-11. Then kids two and under can visit for free, while seniors get in for $6. You’ll also need to pay a little extra on top of that if you attend an event. First, find out what’s happening at the zoo now and get the scoop on some upcoming events.

Meet the Newest Resident

You might not have heard this, but the zoo has an adorable new resident. His name is Frank, and he’s a very hospitable red panda. It’s a little bittersweet since he’s taking over for Nova, who retired at the ripe age of 15. She didn’t move out, but she’s no longer part of the red panda display, so she can spend her golden years doing her own thing. And while the public will miss Nova, Frank is already making quite an impression. He’s even earned an interesting nickname. While you visit, see if you can figure out why the staff refers to him as the ”Brad Pitt of red pandas.” That should be quite a story.

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Attend an Event

If you want to get closer than Frank and the others allow, you can attend the Breakfast with Animals event every third Saturday through October. That puts the next one on May 21, and it’ll run from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

This kid and the parent-friendly event includes a breakfast buffet, zookeeper chat, and meet and greet with an animal. Oh, and there’s even a hands-on activity each month. Everything from the activity to the animal encounter is based on the theme, and since it changes each month, it’s like a new event each time.

May’s theme is Partake with the Predators. Right now, the animal guest is still under wraps, but it should be announced soon. However, the zoo got the word out about the activity, and it will be exciting. Each of the kiddos will make model magic sculptures that resemble their favorite predators. The event is $45 for a family of four, or you can pay the single ticket price of $20 for adults and $16 for kids. You’ll save $4 off each ticket if you have a membership.

The zoo also has other events, including Go Hog Wild on June 4. Oh, and the zoo’s 70th-anniversary event is coming up this summer. It should be added to the schedule shortly.

There’s so much going on at the zoo that you might need to make a few trips. Fortunately, you can pack a lot of fun into each visit, so you’ll have a blast each time.

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