Roaming Roanoke: Mill Mountain Zoo

This week’s Roaming Roanoke destination is Mill Mountain Zoo!

You might remember we tried to go to Mill Mountain Zoo on Labor Day weekend but did not get inside before it was full-capacity. We finally made it back this past weekend!

My middle child’s birthday was on Saturday. She turned the big 5! She asked to go to the zoo for her birthday! I made sure to check online for reservations this time so we could get inside the zoo! The weather on Saturday was sunny and nice temperatures for an outdoor excursion too! All three of our children loved the Mill Mountain Zoo!

Mill Mountain Zoo is a non-profit attraction on Mill Mountain near downtown Roanoke and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The zoo offers many animal exhibits and a variety of educational programs during the year! Some of the animal attractions include snow leopard, red panda, red wolf, porcupine, otters, lynx, birds, and many more! 

Our children loved them all but got excited the most about the snow leopard, lynx, eagles, red pandas and otters. My one-year-old loved watching the otters swim around! They would come up to the glass and stare at her for a moment then jump in the water and repeat. She loved it! Our two older kids enjoyed the big cats and red panda. We looked at the red pandas every time we walked by! The birthday girl even bought a red panda stuffed animal in the gift shop before we left!

The reptile exhibit is closed right now but that did not take away from the zoo experience. The “Zoo Choo” train is also not running right now. My son was disappointed (he loves all things train!), so we plan to go back sometime when it is safe for health to operate the train.

Mill Mountain Zoo normally costs $9 for adults, $7 for children ages 3-11, and free for 2 and under. However, tickets are discounted right now while the reptile area is closed and other Covid restrictions are in place. You can reserve your tickets online through the Mill Mountain Zoo website ( Tickets are also sold at the door if the zoo is not at full-capacity.

The zoo is open 10:00-5:00 each day for the rest of the month but will switch to winter hours on November 1st. Winter hours are Thursdays to Sundays from 10:00-5:00.

Mill Mountain Zoo also offers many events throughout the year, including Breakfast with the Animals on the third Saturday of each month May-October. Night owls, where you can listen to the animals hoot, howl, and call at night, are the third Thursdays of each month October-May. These events are listed on the Mill Mountain Zoo website calendar but check online for specific details just in case the pandemic changes things. 

There are also holiday events throughout the year. Upcoming events include the Zoo Boo on October 24th! Check out of the Mill Mountain Zoo website for all of the details and latest information.

My five-year-old daughter said she had a great day for her birthday at the Mill Mountain Zoo! I’m sure we will visit many more times! There is a black bear exhibit coming soon that my kids are looking forward to seeing!

Do you have suggestions for Roaming Roanoke to visit? Let me know!

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Angela Evans

Angela Evans is a former tv reporter turned stay-at-home mom. She and her husband Cody have three children. They moved to Virginia in 2018. When she’s not Roaming Roanoke, she is probably drinking sweet tea, reading a book or dancing.
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