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  • Writer's pictureMoriah Joy

Adult Night at the Zoo

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

Or, an excuse to post more cute animal photos…

Words by Moriah Joy. Images by Moriah Joy and BA Ciccolella

As the Hampton Roads area is beginning to open up again, there are lots of businesses trying to make up for lost time. Sometimes it can be difficult to navigate which activities are high risk or low risk, what’s safe to bring the kids to, or good for a fun night out. Recently, the Virginia Zoo has begun to help make socializing safe and fun by introducing a new event called “Adult Night at the Zoo”.

Last week on July 24th, I had the pleasure of going and checking out this unique event. I love going to the zoo, as many adults who admire beautiful creatures do. However, going with children can sometimes be overwhelming and comes with it’s own challenges; strollers galore, chasing after the toddler distracted by the otters, or the inevitable tantrum. Sometimes you want to be able to admire the beauty and intrigue of the animals without these distractions and this is the perfect event to do just that.

Merekats eating grass

Photo by Moriah Joy taken July 2020.

With the event being for those age 21 and older only, there were many people enjoying the perfect date night, girls’ night, or just a night out of the house. Also, the event took place in the evening so the air wasn’t stifling like it is during the daytime. Tickets had to be purchased in advance to limit how many people are in the zoo at one time. This also included staggered entrance times allowing for shorter lines, making it much easier to social distance.

Once I made it past the entrance gates, I realized how big the zoo really is. I had only been once before and forgotten a lot of the cool exhibits they had. For the most part, people were really good about standing six feet apart and wearing their masks. I also really appreciated that the bar carts around the park had a really good variety of canned alcoholic beverages, and were pretty inexpensive. Refreshing spiked lemonades, wines, beer and seltzers not only made drinking lower risk but also made the drinks more environmentally friendly with recycling bins throughout the park. They also had food for purchase with outdoor dining tables if you got hungry during your adventure.

The red panda eats leaves.

Photo by BA Ciccolella taken February 2020

One other aspect of the event that I enjoyed was the signage throughout the park. To help people who are not always the best judge of distance, the Zoo displayed quirky and educational signs with animals approximately six feet long near their exhibits as a fun way to keep people mindful of personal space bubbles. I also really appreciated the fact that they had different displays and features labeled as “high touch points” meaning that if you choose to engage with that area, you might strongly want to consider washing or sanitizing your hands afterwards.

Merecat posing on a rock

“I’m ready for my closeup!” Photo by Moriah Joy taken July 2020.

Unfortunately, some of the exhibits were shutdown, such as the Australian Walkabout and Reptile Exhibit, but the exhibits that were open still allowed for lots of animal enthusiast fun. My personal favorite was the meerkats, with one of them especially enjoying the attention and posing for pictures.

Tree Frogs in the Reptiles exhibit

“It’s ok, we’ll be here once the reptile exhibit opens again.” Photo by BA Ciccolella taken last February.

Overall, the experience was thoroughly enjoyable and I would recommend it to any animal lovers, or anyone wanting to do something unique yet still low risk.

Fear of missing out on looking at cute and exotic animals while enjoying a refreshing beer or wine? The Zoo will be hosting another Adult Night on August 28th, so make sure to reserve your tickets in advance!

Miss the Zoo and want to bring the kiddos along? Don’t worry they’re still open Monday through Thursday from 10am to 5pm, with Tuesday and Wednesday being member only days.

For more upcoming events at the Zoo, please visit

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