Norfolk's Virginia Zoo (Virginia Zoological Park) is a fun place for kids of all ages. Modern and well kept, the Zoo is just a short drive from anywhere in Norfolk. I visited the Virginia Zoo in the early afternoon of a weekday in June. I was surprised to find hundreds of cars and buses in the parking lot. The Zoo is a popular place!
The large, attractive Virginia Zoological Park headquarters building is also the entry gate and gift shop. There was a line at the members entrance, but none at the general admission entrance. You'll get a zoo map at the entrance.
There are two tall observation towers attached to the headquarters building that were obviously meant to provide visitors with a birds-eye view of the zoo ... but chains across the stairs limit access to "staff only". What's up with that?
Immediately inside the gate is a broad plaza with several fountains spurting water in the air. The fountains spray up through grates at ground level, so anyone can walk over and get wet. Hordes of kids were getting soaked on the hot day I was there.
In fact, there were kids everywhere! Kids in strollers, kids with parents, kids in groups. The Zoo teems with kids.
A look at the zoo map found that it's arranged in a big circle. It was very easy to wander around the loop without missing anything.
I quickly realized that the mid-afternoon on a hot summer day is not the time to go to the zoo. Most of the animals were napping in the shade.