While I love that we have access to a free zoo, one of my favorites in the country, I’m not the biggest fan of the trek into the city. Throw in two young children and unpredictable traffic, we only hit up the National Zoo for special occasions (Remy’s birthday in July, Breakfast at the Zoo in September, and Zoolights in December). But then I discovered Roer’s Zoofari a mere 30 minutes away from our house and got super excited for the possibility of visiting giraffes on the daily!
Part barnyard, zoo and safari, Roer’s is located in Reston, VA and covers roughly 30 acres of land. It offers a petting zoo complete llamas, goats, exotic birds, pigs, bobcats, monkeys and ducks that freely roam around the grounds as they please. Did I mention the camels and giraffes?? Yep, as part of the entry fee you get to also pet and feed camels and giraffes! There are safari wagon rides, i.e. the Zoofari open-air bus tour, where visitors get the chance to see buffalo, zebras, deer, emus, cattle and other types of animals!
On our trip to Roer’s we opted out of the open-air bus experience to save time but it looked pretty cool. The Zoofari bus is actually a series of school buses with all of the windows permanently open giving it that open-air feel and allowing visitors to come in close contact with the animals. There are four rides offered each day and the schedule is listed on their website.
There is plenty to see and do at Roer’s and you can easily chalk up an hour and half at the zoo. I love that the kids were able to experience the animals up close, the goats, giraffe and camel were a big hit! For an additional fee ($3.50) you can buy food cups (lettuce and carrots) to feed the animals. On the grounds is a massive lake and dock where the ducks swim and can freely walk under the fence back and forth to the trail. There is also a pretty cool gift shop with animal items, apparel and knick knacks.
- My favorite part, and I’m sure Remy’s, was the camel ride! For $8 you get to ride a camel! Speaking of money, the adult entry fee is $17, kids (ages 3-12) are $12 and military personnel and veterans pay $15. As I mentioned before, animal feed is an extra $3.50. Now I do think visiting Roer’s is a little expensive but I understand why. Visitors get a free safari ride and a free petting zoo. You’re essentially paying to keep the doors of this zoo open so it can’t be free. It’s not funded except by the people who visit so spending close to $50 is reasonable to me.
A few tips:
- Check the Zoofari Open-Air Bus Tour schedule on the website just in case
- Consider wearing closed-toe shoes since there are animal droppings on the walking path
- You can bring outside food and drinks to picnic