|Date opened||July 4, 1952|
|Location||Roanoke, Virginia, United States|
|No. of animals||85 (3 endangered species)|
|No. of species||35|
|Memberships||Association of Zoos and Aquariums|
The Mill Mountain Zoo is a zoo located atop Mill Mountain in Roanoke, Virginia, United States. When it opened in 1952, the zoo was operated by the City of Roanoke. In 1976, the city turned its operation over to the Roanoke Jaycees. The Jaycees operated the zoo until 1988 when its operation was handed over to the non-profit Blue Ridge Zoological Society (BRZS). The BRZS still serves as the operator and fund raiser for the zoo.
With its location atop Mill Mountain not being conducive to a major expansion, a proposal was developed in 1984 to relocate the zoo to a 400-acre (160 ha) tract adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway to be called the Blue Ridge Zoo. This proposal was later abandoned in favor of the development of Virginia's Explore Park at that location. After the failed relocation proposal, the Blue Ridge Zoological Society voted in 1988 to keep the zoo permanently atop Mill Mountain. As part of this decision, a 10-year master plan, called Zoo 2001, was completed in 1991, with some of its suggestions implemented over the course of the next decade.
The following are some of the more notable animals and attractions that have been at the zoo:
The zoo is host to 85 animals among 35 species, including two species on the endangered list, the red panda and snow leopard. It is constantly undergoing changes with a variety of species being added including the opening of an interactive aviary in 2008 and a reptile house in 2009. Some of the favorite attractions are Bo, the very lovable wolverine; Nina, the cougar; Tasha (who died at a very old age recently) and Boris, the snow leopards; Nova, the red panda who was later joined by Takeo (Sophia, the zoo's red panda, was sent for breeding at Denver Zoo); and Richard, Mom, and Oops, the Japanese macaques. Recent additions are red wolves, cinereous vultures, a Canadian lynx, four Asian small-clawed otters, and Pallas's cats (will be out once an exhibit is built).
Animals of the future