The Virginia Safari Park is celebrating its 20th season this year.

The Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, Virginia, is hands-down one of my favorite attractions in the greater DMV area. After all, with 1,000 exotic animals roaming freely over its 180 acres, this drive-through zoo is an unforgettable experience straight out of Africa!

As fall descends upon us, however, the park (which has been open for 20 seasons!) will begin winding down its hours. Starting September 3, the Virginia Safari Park will close at 5:30 p.m. on weekdays. Hours will continue to decrease on a monthly basis until the park closes for the season on November 30. Check out the full 2019 calendar with the park's hours below:

virginia safari park

Ticket prices for 2019 are as follows:

virginia safari park

Not to be confused with the Natural Bridge Zoo, the Virginia Safari Park is a drive-through animal experience, featuring a three-mile-long drive along a gravel road, directly through the animals' habitat. If you're brave, you can even roll down your windows and feed some of the animals that walk up to your car. You are NOT allowed to exit your vehicles during the safari, and minivan sliding doors must remain closed during the drive-through.

While other zoos would prohibit these sorts of interactions, the Virginia Safari Park thrives on it. The park's whole purpose is to take these majestic animals out from behind the cages and fences and right up to your car's windows. In addition to the drive-through safari, the park offers a hands-on experience through the Safari Village Experience, where you and the kids can get up close and personal with a bunch of different species. The animals here are in a more traditional zoo setting, and guests can feed most of the non-aggressive ones.

The most popular exhibit is the giraffe enclosure. Guests can get right up to the giraffes at eye-level and even feed them! Giraffe feed is 50 cents a handful, so be sure to bring extra quarters with you! Little kids will also love the Budgie Adventure Aviary as colorful birds perch and eat right out of their hands! Both the drive-through safari and Village Experience are included in your passes, so make sure you experience both.

virginia safari park

I can't stress enough how valuable the Virginia Safari Park is. It's a gem from a bygone era, and it makes a perfect Labor Day trip or fall getaway! The park is located at 229 Safari Lane, in Natural Bridge, Virginia. For more information, visit the Safari Park's website.

Have you been to the Virginia Safari Park before? Do you have a memorable animal experience you want to share? Tell us in the comments below!