The Luray Zoo is different from many other zoos in that its primary mission is to rescue exotic animals. Each of the more than 250 animals at the zoo has been rescued from one situation or another.
Whether it was an exotic animal that the owner no longer wanted or it served as an ambassador for its breed and is no longer needed, the folks at the Luray Zoo have given these animals a permanent home.
A visit to this rescue zoo will be different from the typical zoo visit in other ways as well. The zookeepers are always out walking around, interacting closely with the animals and making themselves available to answer any questions that visitors may have.
The reptile center boasts one of the largest collections of snakes on the entire east coast. Among the snakes are King Cobras, Black Mambe and a West African Spitting Cobra. One visitor said that the venomous snake show was "more amazing than anything on TV.''
In addition to the snakes, the reptile center is also home to a Nile crocodile, an American alligator and a Gila monster.
For the younger visitors, there is a petting zoo featuring pygmy goats, deer, a donkey and a potbellied pig among others. Guests can purchase food for these animals and, as is the case in the rest of the zoo, staff is always close by to answer questions.
Many visitors said that they sort of stumbled across the zoo by accident while visiting some of the nearby attractions such as the Luray Caverns. Most said that while the zoo was not a planned stop on their trip that it surely would be on their next stop through the area.
One visitor said, "The zoo is small, but very cozy, and the animal exhibits all seem roomy and well maintained. There are frequent demonstrations, shows, and feedings animals.'' She went on to say, "we got the feeling that this is a refuge first, and a zoo second. We plan to visit again.''
The zookeepers would be glad to know that visitors feel that way as the well-being of the animals in their care is their top priority. On the zoo website it says, "The animals that arrive at Luray Zoo stay here. They can have confidence that they will not be traded, sold or bred to for sale.''
In addition to providing a home for these animals, the zoo staff also aims to teach the public about the proper care of animals and about the importance of realizing that the responsibility of purchasing or adopting an animal should not be taken lightly.
There are big cats, snowy owls, a wallaby and many other exotic animals, each with their own story about how they ended up at the Luray Zoo.
Be sure to check current information for upcoming special events, prices and hours of operation.