Drive-thru, personal safari experience opens tomorrow at Metro Richmond Zoo

Local News

MOSELEY, Va. (WRIC) — Adapting is part of nature — and the Metro Richmond Zoo has had to make a few changes during this pandemic.

The result is a whole new way to visit the animals – a real-life personal safari experience.

Starting tomorrow, the Metro Richmond Zoo will offer drive-thru tours of its grounds. Flamingos, penguins, orangutans, cheetahs, lemurs, and more will be visible to guests as they drive through the zoo.

The Metro Richmond Zoo, located in Chesterfield County, is known around the world for conservation programs for its endangered species — and has struggled financially since the coronavirus outbreak closed businesses across the state.

“It’s expensive to keep this thing runnin’ with no guests coming in,” said Jim Andelin, Director, Metro Richmond Zoo. “All of our funds come from our guests and with no guests, it makes it very difficult. Our operating costs are close to $8,000 a day. Opening dates keep getting pushed back and pushed back, and we felt like we needed to do something to help that.”

Drive-thru experience at the Metro Richmond Zoo on May 6, 2020.

The drive-thru concept is one way that the zoo can begin welcoming guests back to visit the animals. Visitors will be safely distanced from the animals and can listen to an audio recording that educates them about the animals and their habitat. 

Video from the tour

The cost of the tour is $60 per car, and Andelin said that the price could be less than the cost of admission if you bring more family.


This is an approximate one hour narrated tour through most parts of the Zoo. Connect your smartphone to the tour audio (must have data to stream audio). Bring a charged smartphone and connect it to your car’s sound system via Bluetooth or AUX cord!

While the walking zoo is temporarily closed by Governor mandate due to COVID-19, this new, temporary experience allows for easy social distancing.


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