Natural Bridge Zoo

★★☆☆☆
www.NaturalBridgeZoo.com
  • 5784 South Lee Highway

    Natural Bridge, VA 24578

    Map & Directions
  • 540-291-2420

About Natural Bridge Zoo

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2.3636 11
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My husband and I went to visit this zoo yesterday. We had high hopes considering it was close to other popular attractions. When we got there it was down pouring and everyone was inside. The staff were starting to do baby tiger photos which we decided not to do because the price was higher than we'd experienced at other locations that offered baby photos with animals. We paid and got a $5 bag of food to feed the animals. As we started walking around, we started noticing the small cages and enclosures. The entire area was not manicured, including the areas inside the animal enclosures. It smelled horrible as if the cages werent cleaned out often enough. The tigers paced constantly. We bought food but most of the animals didn't seem like they were even used to being around people and wouldn't approach us. It was hard to feed the animals through chain link fencing. There was absolutely no staff members around tending to the animals or going around educating us a out the animals. There were a few animals that looked sick, like the ostrich with one eye pasted shut and the camels who came running over and fought to eat our entire bag of feed. There were birds who eat small rodents and the staff just cut up dead rats or mice and put them in a bowl..there were flies everywhere and it was hot and humid so I'd be surprised if the food was any good anymore. The small fox was in a glass enclosure that was completely engulfed in flies, to the point he was pacing by the glass and biting at the flies to keep them off of him. We got to the point where we felt obligated to feed these desperate animals and left feeling depressed and sad for them all. I got a headache because it upset me so much. I'm surprised a place like this is still in operation in this day and age. Don't go. Don't take your kids.

1
★☆☆☆☆

My husband and I went to visit this zoo yesterday. We had high hopes considering it was close to other popular attractions. When we got there it was down pouring and everyone was inside. The staff were starting to do baby tiger photos which we decided not to do because the price was higher than we'd experienced at other locations that offered baby photos with animals. We paid and got a $5 bag of food to feed the animals. As we started walking around, we started noticing the small cages and enclosures. The entire area was not manicured, including the areas inside the animal enclosures. It smelled horrible as if the cages werent cleaned out often enough. The tigers paced constantly. We bought food but most of the animals didn't seem like they were even used to being around people and wouldn't approach us. It was hard to feed the animals through chain link fencing. There was absolutely no staff members around tending to the animals or going around educating us a out the animals. There were a few animals that looked sick, like the ostrich with one eye pasted shut and the camels who came running over and fought to eat our entire bag of feed. There were birds who eat small rodents and the staff just cut up dead rats or mice and put them in a bowl..there were flies everywhere and it was hot and humid so I'd be surprised if the food was any good anymore. The small fox was in a glass enclosure that was completely engulfed in flies, to the point he was pacing by the glass and biting at the flies to keep them off of him. We got to the point where we felt obligated to feed these desperate animals and left feeling depressed and sad for them all. I got a headache because it upset me so much. I'm surprised a place like this is still in operation in this day and age. Don't go. Don't take your kids.

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This zoo has horrible animal conditions and should be shut down! I cannot believe that in our day a place is allowed to treat animals like this. Their living conditions are poor. They are not healthy nor happy. The owners should be ashamed of themselves and so should the town for allowing it to be open.

1
★☆☆☆☆

This zoo has horrible animal conditions and should be shut down! I cannot believe that in our day a place is allowed to treat animals like this. Their living conditions are poor. They are not healthy nor happy. The owners should be ashamed of themselves and so should the town for allowing it to be open.

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This is a great zoo to visit and see various animals up close and personal. Tickets are about $12 per adult and a $8 for children. Look around town for coupon brochures like we did. The African Elephant Ride was a blast and the Baby Tigers were adorable. The kids and I both enjoyed feeding the giraffe and goats, but we enjoyed feeding the deer and petting the llamas the most. Been to Natural Bridge Zoo 3-4 times (2 times this year), we have always enjoyed it, but to see the difference that the money from their tiger photo fundraiser is making just from early spring is amazing. Can't wait to go back, going to get an annual pass next year.

5
★★★★★

This is a great zoo to visit and see various animals up close and personal. Tickets are about $12 per adult and a $8 for children. Look around town for coupon brochures like we did. The African Elephant Ride was a blast and the Baby Tigers were adorable. The kids and I both enjoyed feeding the giraffe and goats, but we enjoyed feeding the deer and petting the llamas the most. Been to Natural Bridge Zoo 3-4 times (2 times this year), we have always enjoyed it, but to see the difference that the money from their tiger photo fundraiser is making just from early spring is amazing. Can't wait to go back, going to get an annual pass next year.

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Why do they cram 3 large bears in a small enclosure that looks like a prison cell - concrete floor and bars. The bears are lethargic and act like sad concentration camp victims - Same for the tigers. There is surely room to expand these enclosures. In this day and age, it shocks and saddens me that prison cell like enclosures are still used.

Oh, by the way, no one is fooled by the review written by someone who obviously works there or was hired to promote this prison camp.

Stay away.

1
★☆☆☆☆

Why do they cram 3 large bears in a small enclosure that looks like a prison cell - concrete floor and bars. The bears are lethargic and act like sad concentration camp victims - Same for the tigers. There is surely room to expand these enclosures. In this day and age, it shocks and saddens me that prison cell like enclosures are still used.

Oh, by the way, no one is fooled by the review written by someone who obviously works there or was hired to promote this prison camp.

Stay away.

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Zero Stars - Do not patronize this zoo if you care at all about the well-being and humane treatment of captive animals. I've visited many zoos, mostly in larger cities, and have never seen anything like this. As soon as we entered, I knew we had made a mistake. The cashier was "hawking" the feed we could buy for an additional charge to get closer to the animals as well as photos with the new baby tigers for an extra charge. The signs around the entrance promised that the baby tiger photo fees would be used for an enclosure "fund." Shouldn't appropriate space and money be allocated prior to the birth of these animals? Apparently not. The animal enclosures for the adult animals were miserable - small cages, concrete floors, no private spaces to get away from the public. The mountain lions, tigers and bears shared very small, sterile cages. Heartbreaking!
The animals looked sickly, some were over-weight, most were lethargic and the camels had sores all over their necks and chests.
The over-weight male mountain lion paced; there was no space for him to climb and run. A concrete jungle and a small kennel sized enclosure to get out of the sun - that's how he'll spend the rest of his life. He limped when he walked and looked pathetic.
The three bears in a small cage looked comatose. The two big cats (tigers) shared another small enclosure - nowhere for them to run or climb. They paced and looked much too large for the small confinement.

Many of the enclosures lacked anything that resembled a natural habitat. The food in every cage was in pellet form. In well-run zoos, dieticians painstakingly prepare healthy meals resembling what the animal would eat in the wild. We got the sense that cost-cutting measures were in place all across the board (staff, food, enclosures, etc.) in order to make money.

From the moment you walk in, you feel the sleeziness of the operation - a money-making venture at the expense of the animals. I was ashamed to be there.

The ironic part of our visit was the placards outside some of the cages that described what the wild animals ate and the territories they roamed in the wild. You will read that the bears are expert swimmers and climbers, yet there is nothing for the three bears to climb or swim in inside their small, concrete jail. Very cruel!

There were no staff available to educate the public or answer questions.

When we left we all felt badly that we had funded this zoo! I was depressed and regretted that we exposed our young daughter to this kind of environment. This is not what I want her to know of wild animals - or any animals.

I would bet money that the lengthy positive review was written by a relative or someone with connections to the "zoo." Anyone who knows anything about respecting animals and their natural environment and behaviors would be appalled! Please do not support this zoo. If you do go and feel similarly, please take action and voice your concern to the appropriate licensing bodies. I will do the same.

1
★☆☆☆☆

Zero Stars - Do not patronize this zoo if you care at all about the well-being and humane treatment of captive animals. I've visited many zoos, mostly in larger cities, and have never seen anything like this. As soon as we entered, I knew we had made a mistake. The cashier was "hawking" the feed we could buy for an additional charge to get closer to the animals as well as photos with the new baby tigers for an extra charge. The signs around the entrance promised that the baby tiger photo fees would be used for an enclosure "fund." Shouldn't appropriate space and money be allocated prior to the birth of these animals? Apparently not. The animal enclosures for the adult animals were miserable - small cages, concrete floors, no private spaces to get away from the public. The mountain lions, tigers and bears shared very small, sterile cages. Heartbreaking!
The animals looked sickly, some were over-weight, most were lethargic and the camels had sores all over their necks and chests.
The over-weight male mountain lion paced; there was no space for him to climb and run. A concrete jungle and a small kennel sized enclosure to get out of the sun - that's how he'll spend the rest of his life. He limped when he walked and looked pathetic.
The three bears in a small cage looked comatose. The two big cats (tigers) shared another small enclosure - nowhere for them to run or climb. They paced and looked much too large for the small confinement.

Many of the enclosures lacked anything that resembled a natural habitat. The food in every cage was in pellet form. In well-run zoos, dieticians painstakingly prepare healthy meals resembling what the animal would eat in the wild. We got the sense that cost-cutting measures were in place all across the board (staff, food, enclosures, etc.) in order to make money.

From the moment you walk in, you feel the sleeziness of the operation - a money-making venture at the expense of the animals. I was ashamed to be there.

The ironic part of our visit was the placards outside some of the cages that described what the wild animals ate and the territories they roamed in the wild. You will read that the bears are expert swimmers and climbers, yet there is nothing for the three bears to climb or swim in inside their small, concrete jail. Very cruel!

There were no staff available to educate the public or answer questions.

When we left we all felt badly that we had funded this zoo! I was depressed and regretted that we exposed our young daughter to this kind of environment. This is not what I want her to know of wild animals - or any animals.

I would bet money that the lengthy positive review was written by a relative or someone with connections to the "zoo." Anyone who knows anything about respecting animals and their natural environment and behaviors would be appalled! Please do not support this zoo. If you do go and feel similarly, please take action and voice your concern to the appropriate licensing bodies. I will do the same.

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I wish there was a zero star rating. What a horrid place.
We just got back from the zoo, a much anticipated trip for my three children (ages 3-8). I couldn't believe that the conditions they kept these animals in were legal.
The tigers (two), bears (two), and mountain lions (also two) were kept in steel cages with concrete floors; each enclosure is the size of a very small swimming pool. The animals were pacing, a clear sign of stress in large cats. Truly, other than sleep and pace, there is nothing they can do.

The cages for the birds were similarly small. The giraffe tried to run but could only take a few steps before reaching the ends of the enclosure. The wire around the enclosures is flimsy.

This place should be reported to animal services (which, in fact, I believe we'll do). I'm truly horrified that such conditions are legal in the state of Virginia.

1
★☆☆☆☆

I wish there was a zero star rating. What a horrid place.
We just got back from the zoo, a much anticipated trip for my three children (ages 3-8). I couldn't believe that the conditions they kept these animals in were legal.
The tigers (two), bears (two), and mountain lions (also two) were kept in steel cages with concrete floors; each enclosure is the size of a very small swimming pool. The animals were pacing, a clear sign of stress in large cats. Truly, other than sleep and pace, there is nothing they can do.

The cages for the birds were similarly small. The giraffe tried to run but could only take a few steps before reaching the ends of the enclosure. The wire around the enclosures is flimsy.

This place should be reported to animal services (which, in fact, I believe we'll do). I'm truly horrified that such conditions are legal in the state of Virginia.

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.

The Natural Bridge Zoo is a private zoo which demonstrates why small private zoos have largely gone out of business. The $12 admission was steep. The animals were kept small, old steel cages. The staff was not at all friendly. They advertised elephant rides, which they do at selected times in a tiny circle. The giraffes were friendly and were the highlight of our visit. They also advertised pictures with tiger cubs. The "cubs" were born in 2003 and needless to say there was no pictures with them. The petting zoo was nothing more than some goats and llamas. My kids were bored to tears after 30 minutes. Don't waste your time with this zoo.

1
★☆☆☆☆

The Natural Bridge Zoo is a private zoo which demonstrates why small private zoos have largely gone out of business. The $12 admission was steep. The animals were kept small, old steel cages. The staff was not at all friendly. They advertised elephant rides, which they do at selected times in a tiny circle. The giraffes were friendly and were the highlight of our visit. They also advertised pictures with tiger cubs. The "cubs" were born in 2003 and needless to say there was no pictures with them. The petting zoo was nothing more than some goats and llamas. My kids were bored to tears after 30 minutes. Don't waste your time with this zoo.

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The Bottom Line
We went wild at the Natural Bridge Zoo - and can't wait to do it all again.
Animals. Books. Elmo and the Wiggles. Those are my toddler's best-loved things (with Elmo and the Wiggles running neck and neck for third place), and I imagine the scenario is similar in homes around the world. Kids are inexplicably drawn to animals - and truth be told, I think they're pretty cool too. As long as they're not of the slimy, scaly, creepy-crawly or man-eating variety and in close proximity - that sort of wildlife I can certainly do without.

And so, on a lazy May morning, we found ourselves looking for something to do that was a) fun, b) cheap and c) close to home. Just a couple of weeks earlier, we had spotted billboards for a zoo near Natural Bridge - only about an hour's drive north of our home in southern Virginia - and I decided to take a peek at their website. I was expecting a tiny menagerie, perhaps a medium-sized cat, a couple of monkeys and a few goats and pigs in a petting zoo. Suffice it to say that I was shocked - and thrilled - to log on to Natural Bridge Zoo's website to find a white tiger and a giraffe staring back at me. We had found our destination.

The only potential expense once inside the zoo is the popular elephant ride and photo op. The fee for this attraction is $5 per rider, $9 for a ride and photograph.

~* The Fun Stuff *~
Once you've paid your admission and perhaps picked up a small bag of animal feed for only $1 at the register, you enter the zoo through a spacious covered picnic/rest area. (A few tables are located out from under the shelter, for those who enjoy direct sunlight much more than myself.) Heading onto the graveled path, the first cage we came to contained a kookaburra - an Australian bird that I'd previously only heard of on aforementioned episodes of the Wiggles. Already, I was impressed.

Also near the entrance was a mountain lion, ring-tailed lemurs and the tiger cage. Inside were two gorgeous Bengal tigers - both napping in the midday heat, but majestic nonetheless. One was your "common" orange tiger, the other a stunning white - even the largest zoo in our area doesn't have a white tiger!

Just past the animal cage, we saw several tiny pygmy goats that had apparently escaped from their pen...or had they? Upon closer inspection, it was apparent that these cute little guys just preferred to hang out in the grassy area near a few penned larger animals suiting for petting - llamas, goats and donkeys - as well as that handy food dispenser. It was a bit unnerving to find a dozen or so little goats all swarming straight for me and my stroller, but all were friendly (and happy for a snack.) We were surprised to find a few more animals happily wandering unattended down other zoo paths - the turkeys didn't seem very happy to see us heading toward them, but the Vietnamese pot-belled pigs didn't mind us at all.

My favorite section of the zoo (as with most zoos) was the spacious area that is home to the African animals - zebras, giraffes, baboons and, of course, the elephant. To make these animals more comfortable, this area of the zoo is less shaded than the other cool, tree-lined paths - but the creatures here are so magnificent that you'll hardly notice the heat, even in mid-summer.

As we neared the elephant house, we heard the announcement that the last elephant rides of the day were about to begin. Excited to have my daughter's picture made with a real live elephant, we hurried to get in line. While we waited, we learned a little about the ride's captain - Asha, a 22-year-old African elephant, who has been giving rides at the Natural Bridge Zoo since she was only two years old. Asha seemed only too happy to amble over to the raised platform from which visitors can climb onto her enormous back, and moved slowly and surely around the well-worn trail. I'm thankful that I wasn't the first in line as I had originally planned only to purchase a picture of my little girl sitting on her back. However, I learned yet something else while watching Asha in action: at a certain spot in the path, this magnificent beast actually stops and poses for photographs, her trunk raised and one massive foot gracefully raised off the ground. I happily handed over $14 for the two of us to ride and have our picture made on her back - and I'd go back to this zoo just to see Asha.

~* Overall *~
My family had a wonderful time at the Natural Bridge Zoo and will definitely visit again in the near future. I'm sad that I've missed out on this zoo for all these years, but thrilled to have 'discovered' it while my daughter is young enough to enjoy it throughout her childhood. Asha definitely hasn't seen the last of us.

~* Contact Info *~
Visit the zoo online at www.naturalbridgezoo.com or call 540-291-2420.

5
★★★★★

The Bottom Line
We went wild at the Natural Bridge Zoo - and can't wait to do it all again.
Animals. Books. Elmo and the Wiggles. Those are my toddler's best-loved things (with Elmo and the Wiggles running neck and neck for third place), and I imagine the scenario is similar in homes around the world. Kids are inexplicably drawn to animals - and truth be told, I think they're pretty cool too. As long as they're not of the slimy, scaly, creepy-crawly or man-eating variety and in close proximity - that sort of wildlife I can certainly do without.

And so, on a lazy May morning, we found ourselves looking for something to do that was a) fun, b) cheap and c) close to home. Just a couple of weeks earlier, we had spotted billboards for a zoo near Natural Bridge - only about an hour's drive north of our home in southern Virginia - and I decided to take a peek at their website. I was expecting a tiny menagerie, perhaps a medium-sized cat, a couple of monkeys and a few goats and pigs in a petting zoo. Suffice it to say that I was shocked - and thrilled - to log on to Natural Bridge Zoo's website to find a white tiger and a giraffe staring back at me. We had found our destination.

The only potential expense once inside the zoo is the popular elephant ride and photo op. The fee for this attraction is $5 per rider, $9 for a ride and photograph.

~* The Fun Stuff *~
Once you've paid your admission and perhaps picked up a small bag of animal feed for only $1 at the register, you enter the zoo through a spacious covered picnic/rest area. (A few tables are located out from under the shelter, for those who enjoy direct sunlight much more than myself.) Heading onto the graveled path, the first cage we came to contained a kookaburra - an Australian bird that I'd previously only heard of on aforementioned episodes of the Wiggles. Already, I was impressed.

Also near the entrance was a mountain lion, ring-tailed lemurs and the tiger cage. Inside were two gorgeous Bengal tigers - both napping in the midday heat, but majestic nonetheless. One was your "common" orange tiger, the other a stunning white - even the largest zoo in our area doesn't have a white tiger!

Just past the animal cage, we saw several tiny pygmy goats that had apparently escaped from their pen...or had they? Upon closer inspection, it was apparent that these cute little guys just preferred to hang out in the grassy area near a few penned larger animals suiting for petting - llamas, goats and donkeys - as well as that handy food dispenser. It was a bit unnerving to find a dozen or so little goats all swarming straight for me and my stroller, but all were friendly (and happy for a snack.) We were surprised to find a few more animals happily wandering unattended down other zoo paths - the turkeys didn't seem very happy to see us heading toward them, but the Vietnamese pot-belled pigs didn't mind us at all.

My favorite section of the zoo (as with most zoos) was the spacious area that is home to the African animals - zebras, giraffes, baboons and, of course, the elephant. To make these animals more comfortable, this area of the zoo is less shaded than the other cool, tree-lined paths - but the creatures here are so magnificent that you'll hardly notice the heat, even in mid-summer.

As we neared the elephant house, we heard the announcement that the last elephant rides of the day were about to begin. Excited to have my daughter's picture made with a real live elephant, we hurried to get in line. While we waited, we learned a little about the ride's captain - Asha, a 22-year-old African elephant, who has been giving rides at the Natural Bridge Zoo since she was only two years old. Asha seemed only too happy to amble over to the raised platform from which visitors can climb onto her enormous back, and moved slowly and surely around the well-worn trail. I'm thankful that I wasn't the first in line as I had originally planned only to purchase a picture of my little girl sitting on her back. However, I learned yet something else while watching Asha in action: at a certain spot in the path, this magnificent beast actually stops and poses for photographs, her trunk raised and one massive foot gracefully raised off the ground. I happily handed over $14 for the two of us to ride and have our picture made on her back - and I'd go back to this zoo just to see Asha.

~* Overall *~
My family had a wonderful time at the Natural Bridge Zoo and will definitely visit again in the near future. I'm sad that I've missed out on this zoo for all these years, but thrilled to have 'discovered' it while my daughter is young enough to enjoy it throughout her childhood. Asha definitely hasn't seen the last of us.

~* Contact Info *~
Visit the zoo online at www.naturalbridgezoo.com or call 540-291-2420.

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Natural bridge zoo is a great smaller zoo to take the family for a great day trip.

It is located about an hour from Lynchburg but worth the drive. They have a great selection of animals and kids love walking through the huge petting zoo seeing the animals up close and personal.

They have elephant rides and snacks to feed the animals if you want.

3
★★★☆☆

Natural bridge zoo is a great smaller zoo to take the family for a great day trip.

It is located about an hour from Lynchburg but worth the drive. They have a great selection of animals and kids love walking through the huge petting zoo seeing the animals up close and personal.

They have elephant rides and snacks to feed the animals if you want.

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This is a very nice small-town zoo. Nothing fancy, but there are a lot of different animals, and there is an area where you can feed the animals. Friendly employees, cheap to go visit, and just a fun afternoon! It only takes 2 hours maximum to go through the whole place, so it doens't take up your whole day!

3
★★★☆☆

This is a very nice small-town zoo. Nothing fancy, but there are a lot of different animals, and there is an area where you can feed the animals. Friendly employees, cheap to go visit, and just a fun afternoon! It only takes 2 hours maximum to go through the whole place, so it doens't take up your whole day!

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We found the zoo by accident when we were on vacation, it wasn't in the plan. But I'm glad we did! It is not very big, but it is nice. We saw the cutest baby monkeys! I'm a sucker for a monkey, so maybe that influenced my rating a little.

4
★★★★☆

We found the zoo by accident when we were on vacation, it wasn't in the plan. But I'm glad we did! It is not very big, but it is nice. We saw the cutest baby monkeys! I'm a sucker for a monkey, so maybe that influenced my rating a little.

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