Friday, March 22, 2013

Luray Zoo: A Rescue Facility

The Luray Zoo in Luray, Virginia is home to over 250 animals and is the only rescue zoo in Virginia. The zoo takes in retired zoo animals, unwanted pets, confiscations and abused pets.  The zoo has one of the largest venomous snake collections on the east coast, as well as a petting zoo.

The animals are looked after and cared for by Mark and Christine Kilby. Mark's mother, a long time pet handler, kept everything from birds, snakes and bears as pets. She taught Mark proper training and handling of animals at a young age. She was an expert endangered snake breeder and National Zoo keepers would visit the home often to look at her collection.

Mark has been handling exotic animals since 1962 and is also a Master Falconer, training in Falconry since 1968. It was only a natural progression for Mark to take over the zoo in 1996 from friends of his mother, who were ready to retire.

The intimate setting allows for more up close and personal viewing of the animals. You can find Mark and Christine out and about in the park, interacting with the animals and answering any questions you may have. The zoo is privately owned and receives no funding from the government. The zoo runs on admission, gift shop sales and donations, so if you're in Virginia, visit Luray Zoo and say hi to the magnificent animals and owners. You can donate here.

Opening Day is Monday March, 25. The zoo will be open daily from 10AM to 5PM. Summer shows run from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend and are included in the price of admission.

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