Friday, March 21, 2014

Reston Zoo - A Fun Petting Farm

Last weekend, my family enjoyed the Reston Zoo, which is a hidden gem for both children and adults, nestled in a neighborhood located in Vienna, Virginia. 

As an animal lover, I was excited by the interactive nature of the Zoo, which allows visitors to touch, pet, and feed most of the animals. I was able to feed a lamb a bottle of milk -- and pet many different animals, including sheep, goats horses, and a kangaroo!  The Zoo even has a preemie Pgmy goat, named Donut!


Zoofari Wagon Ride

For my family, the highlight of our trip was the Zoofari Wagon Ride, which was included in the price of admission. Visitors are encourage to pile into an open wagon that is pulled by a tractor to view many different animals, such as deer, buffalo, llama, zebra, antelope, and a Watusi.

My family was lucky enough to score seats at the back of the wagon, which was a prime viewing location. We made friends with a camel who enjoyed relentlessly poking his head in-between us as we sat shoulder-to-shoulder. I'm not quite sure if the camel was looking for food, a family to adopt, or maybe a kiss!
Although narration was not provided, the wagon did stop a few times for photo opportunities -- and we let our imaginations fly. In fact, some the children around us commented on spying a unicorn during the adventure. 

Petting Barn

The petting zoo provided a fun opportunity to feed many different animals -- and feel a bit like a farmer.
At the entryway of the zoo, visitors are given the opportunity to purchase kibble and bottles for the animals. We bought one bottle and a small cup of food.

We spent a considerable amount of time in the barn. I noticed that many sheep and goats trampled over their barnyard friends and roommates to beckon visitors for kibble. I did my best to feed the animals who were not attention hounds and may not get fed as often.

Personal Questions and Comments

I enjoyed my time at the zoo and intend to return; however, as an animal lover, I should make note of a few things.

While the focus on feeding the barn animals allows visitors to develop a direct connection with the furry creatures, it made me wonder about possible over-feeding and under-feeding of animals. I hope the zookeepers have a way to track feeding, so that the animals stay healthy.
I was also somewhat concerned by the lack of staff at key areas of the zoo. For example, there were two kangaroos in a gated area. Visitors let themselves in and out of the kangaroo habitat and were able to touch the kangaroos at will -- without any zoo supervision.

After doing a brief internet search, it appears that the Zoo has faced some scrutiny in the past. It is my hope that everything has been cleaned up, as it's a really fun place for children and adults.

Waiting for Another Sunny Day to Return

It's hard to believe that my family was outside enjoying the Reston Zoo just one week ago. Today, there are still remnants of snow on the ground from Sunday night's snow storm. 

long for our next sunny day so that we can return to the Reston Zoo. I had such a great time that I bought an annual pass. It will be fun to check-in on the lambs, sheep, and other animals throughout the year. Most of all, it will be great to reconnect with the friendliest camel I've ever met!


  1. This looks like a great place to take the kiddos. I've never been here, but I think we will add it to our list of "things to do this summer"!

  2. Thanks so much, Christin. The Reston Zoo IS a fun place for kiddos! It's amazing that a zoo is nestled in a suburban neighborhood! I hope you and your family enjoy the zoo this summer!

  3. What a fun place. I like that you can get up close to the animals

  4. Thanks, Tara! It was great to be able to get up close and personal with all of the animals. I highly recommend it!

  5. Did they ever get new ownership after the abuse conviction?