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  • Writer's pictureThe West End Mom

The Best Places to See Animals in Richmond, VA

Looking for animals in Richmond, Virginia? From seeing barnyard animals and feeding emus and giraffes to riding ponies and a unicorn, Richmond is home to a bunch of farms, nature centers and zoos.

If your children love seeing animals and getting to interact with animals, you have to add these 17 Virginia farms, aquariums, nature preserves and zoos to your Virginia bucket list.

Here are the best places for animal experiences around Richmond, Virginia.

1. Richland Dairy Farm: Located in Blackstone, This working dairy farm has been a family farm since the 1700s. There are four generations of the Jones’ family working here, and they have over 500 cows. In addition to their Cremery & Kitchen, Richland Dairy Farm has a lot of family-friendly activities: Dinner on the Farm, Family Farm Day, Fall Festival, and tours.  

The Creamery & Kitchen are open Tuesday-Sunday from 11-7. You can purchase ice cream, milkshakes, floats, bakery items, sandwiches, mac & cheese, chips & more.There are tables inside & rocking chairs are outside on the covered porch.  Plus the play area is next to the creamery!

*Animals on the Farm: This is a working dairy farm so you will see cows and calves.

*Check here for my full review.

2. Shoofly Farm: Located in Chester, this family-owned farm offers *free* farm tours. They also operate without reservations, so you can just drop in while they are open to visit with the animals. During a self guided tour, you can meet pigs, goats, bunnies, miniature horses and more. You can also purchase a pony ride or hayride. In addition to farm experiences, Shoofly Farm offers private tours, horse boarding & birthday parties, and they host special events.

Shoofly Farm is open to the public for free every Saturday. From April through May, the hours are 10am to 2pm, and in June through September, the hours are 9am to 2pm. You can bring your own picnic or purchase food from an on-site food truck.

You can purchase a pony ride, unicorn ride or a hayride. Children 2 and under get to ride the hayride for free. All proceeds from horse and hayrides go to support and care for the animals at Shoofly Farm!

*Animals on the Farm: pigs, goats, bunnies, horses, chickens

*Check here for my full review.

3. Meadowgate Alpacas: Located less than 30 minutes from Richmond, Meadowgate Alpacas is a 10 acre farm on the Newfound River in Beaverdam. Stephen & Nicole opened their farm in 2017, and they have 17 alpacas and 2 goats. Their family- run farm is open for private farm tours and therapy programs. In the farm tour, you learn about alpacas and interact with them. The family focuses their alpaca therapy outreach on the residents in assisted living facilities, veterans, and nonprofits for children.

If you'd like the visit the far, make sure to visit their website: Meadowgate Alpacas.

*Animals on the Farm: This is an alpaca farm.

*Check here for my full review.

4. Historic Greenbrier Farms: Located in Chesapeake, this pick your own farm has strawberries, tulips, peaches, wildflowers, sunflowers, pumpkins & Christmas trees! Greenbrier Farms also has a nursery, play area, animals (the chickens and ducks freely walk around!), event space and a restaurant. While visiting a nearby museum, we added this spot to our trip before heading home. We spent about an hour picking tulips & exploring.

This farm is open. You don't need a reservation - you can just drop in to visit and play!

*Animals on the Farm: chickens, goats, ducks, pigs

*Check here for my review.

5. Hanover Vegetable Farm: Located in Ashland, Hanover Vegetable Farm is just minutes from Glen Allen. It’s a family owned farm - the Sears family have owned & lived on the property for four generations. The farmhouse was built in 1902!

We like this farm because there’s a market that sells local foods (including meat & produce) and plants & flowers. You can visit with the animals for free, outside of the annual Halloween festival. They host special events like The Shrimp & BBQ Festival and Gourds, Goblets and Ghouls Festival.

*Animals on the Farm: chickens, horses, ducks, goats

*Check here for my full review.

6. Maymont: With 100 acres and 400 animals, Maymont is the perfect spot to explore with children. The Children's Farm is free to visit, and you can see animals and feed them (quarters or tokens required). There is also an outdoor play space, stroller friendly trails, and manicured gardens.

The Robins Nature Center is an indoor exhibit at Maymont that showcases the animals & plants of the James River and Chesapeake Bay. You can learn and explore the ecology of the James River through play, aquariums & interactive animation. This 29,000 square foot attraction also has bathrooms including a family restroom, a sitting area, a gift shop & beautiful views of the park.

*Animals on the Farm: There are goats, chickens, pigs, horses, cows, bears and more around the outdoor property. In the nature center, you will see otters, turtles, snakes, and fish.

*Maymont is also on my list of favorite stroller friendly places. Click here for the entire list.

7. Meadow Farm at Crump Park: Crump Park has a massive playground, picnic shelters, trails, large open fields, a fishing pond, and historic Meadow Farm. Meadow Farm is an 1860 living history farm site & museum, plus it has animals, too! As a bonus, RF&P Park is located inside Crump. No reservations or signups are required to visit.

We spend the majority of our time at Meadow Farm looking at the animals, running down the hill & having picnics. Both my umbrella stroller and everyday stroller have worked at Meadow Farm.

*Animals on the Farm: sheep, pigs, turkeys, chickens

*While Meadow Farm does not have a lot of shade, the walking trails and playground at Crump Park are on my list of places to play in the summer. Click here for the entire roundup.

8. The Richmond Metro Zoo: Located on 150 acres in Moseley, The Richmond Metro Zoo is home to 2,000 animals and 190 different species! Besides walk-in tours, guests can zip line on the Tree Top Zoofari or participate in kids camps. Our favorite part about this zoo is the feeding experiences with the giraffes, barn yard animals and birds. 

Quick Facts & Tips: We are members of the zoo & it is worth it - visit 3x in a year & it’s paid for itself. An adult membership starts at $59 and a child membership starts at 23.95 It costs $23.95 for adults and $17.95 for children 2-11 each visit. Children 1 and younger receive free admission.

The Safari Train is $4 per person - this is our favorite way to rest & cool off. The Zoo Treats (animal food) are $3 a cup, and Budgie Sticks (bird food) cost $2.  

*Animals at the zoo: monkeys, reptiles, tigers, bears, lions, barnyard animals and more

Click here for the Instagram Review.

9. Flat Creek Farm: If you have ever been to the spring petting zoo at Short Pump Town Center, you will recognize all of the animals at Flat Creek Farm! This family owned farm is in Amelia County, about 45 minutes from Short Pump. The 11.5 acre farm offers by-appointment only animal experiences year round. Families get to pet and feed llamas, goats, horses and more. By August, the barnyard will be ready for birthday party rentals with a fenced patio & grill, picnic tables.   

Quick Facts & Tips: The farm is open by appointment only. Appointments are on a first come first serve basis. Call (804) 873-3620 to schedule your visit. It is open rain or shine from 9-1 every day but Wednesday. It costs $30 for 30 minutes & $50 for an hour - the hour visit is worth it! We went with our friends & split the cost.

*Animals on the Farm: pigs, bunnies, goats, horses

Click here for my full review.

10. Braehead Farm: This Fredericksburg farm has been family owned since 1937. Braehead Farm has pick your own produce fields for strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, sunflowers & more. The market has pre-picked produce, goods and ice cream. Behind the barn is an amazing play area for children with farm animals. Chickens roam freely! It’s located about 50 minutes from Short Pump, and it’s right off 95 - perfect for a day trip. ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣They have lots of events throughout the year, too!

*Animals on the Farm: chickens, horses, cows, alpacas

Click here for more details on Braehead Farm, and click here for my full review.

11. The Red Barn Farm: Located in Dinwiddie County, The Red Barn Farm is a historical farm that has family farm tours, offers summer camps for 6-11 year olds, and hosts birthday parties & field trips. We participated in the family farm tour & it was so much fun! The tour is interactive & great for all ages. All of the animals have been rescued & the owners rehabilitate them. You have to call ahead of time to schedule your farm tour.

*Animals on the Farm: chickens, horses, ducks, goats, pigs, snakes, emus, cows

Click here for more details on The Red Barn Farm, and click here for my full review.

12. Windy Knoll Farm: Located in Mechanicsville, this family-owned farm has been open to the community since 1977! It started as a Christmas Tree Farm, and the family has added flowers, berries, and animals since it’s inception. We visited recently for a barnyard experience - we got to interact with goats, a calf and ducks, hold chicks & G fed a pony! We also took a tractor ride around the whole farm, spending about ~1.5 hours.

Barnyard tours were in April, but with the opening of blueberries in June, you'll be able to see the animals again. The estimated opening for pick-you-own blueberries is June 1, but please call ahead to make sure they are open!

*Animals on the Farm: chickens, ducks, bunnies, pigs, a calf and a horse

*Check here for my full review.

13. The Virginia Zoo: Opening in 1900, the Virginia Zoo is on 53 acres & it’s home to over 700 animals! You can explore a variety of habitats like the Africa-Okavango Delta and Asia - Trail of the Tiger to see animals native to that region, including a zoo farm. Our favorites were seeing the baby rhino & giraffe, playing in the nature discovery zone & riding the Norfolk Southern Express! The Virginia Zoo is the only AZA-accredited zoo in Virginia.

*Animals on the zoo: tigers, rinos, giraffes, repitles, barnyard animals and more

*Check here for my review.

14. Virginia Living Museum: Located in Newport News, this museum is such a fun day trip! It features over 250+ species of animals & 450+ plants living in Virginia, including a 30,000 gallon Chesapeake Bay aquarium! The Virginia Living Museum's inside exhibits are separated by region with multiple aquariums, hands on animal experiences & a pretend play “vet” area. The outdoor exhibits are on Deer Park Lake & you use a boardwalk to see animals like foxes, deer, bald eagles & even dinos!

*Check here for my full review.

15. Seaquest Lynchburg: Located in Lynchburg, SeaQuest is a 20,000 square feet petting zoo aquarium that opened in 2019. There are about 1,500 animals - turtles, sting rays, sloths & more. You get to touch & feed animals from around the world! My crew loves visiting this aquarium. Some of our favorites are using the vending machines to get animal food + feeding sting rays & giant tortoise. We usually spend an hour & half to 2 hours exploring.

*Check here for my full review.

16. Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center: Located in Virginia Beach, this aquarium features coastal habitats from around the world with animals representing over 300 species! It also has a 1/3 mile nature trail on Owls Creek, a protected salt marsh. The Adventure Park is by the marsh & it has low & high ropes courses plus zip lines!

*Check here for my review.

17. Tuckahoe Creek Park: Located in Henrico's West End, Located at the end of Ridgefield Parkway, Tuckahoe Creek Park’s boardwalk is a hidden gem! It has beautiful views of the creek with benches & a picnic shelter. Eventually, this boardwalk will be a trail of boardwalks that wind through the floodplain wetlands. Currently, only “Phase I” of the project is completed: a bridge from Ridgefield Parkway to Old Coach Lane. It’s perfect for children to walk, watch for wildlife & see the wetlands. It’s also incredibly peaceful!

This boardwalk is free to visit, and you can fish from the dock.

*Animals around the boardwalk: turtles & tadpoles, frogs, fish, blue herons, river otters

*Check here for my full review.

Did your favorite place to see animals around Richmond make my list? If your favorite Virginia zoo, aquarium or nature center didn't, send me an email at so I can check it out!

For more details on these getaway spots and more Richmond adventures, follow our family on @thewestendmom on Instagram!


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