|Date opened||July 4, 1952|
|Location||Roanoke, Virginia, United States|
|No. of animals||Zoo: 85 3 Endangered Species|
The Mill Mountain Zoo is a zoo located atop Mill Mountain in Roanoke, Virginia. Originally opening in 1952, the zoo was operated by the City of Roanoke for its first 24 years. 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 today still serves as the operator and fund-raising mechanism for the zoo and its operations.
With its location atop Mill Mountain not being conducive to a major expansion, a proposal developed in 1984 to relocate the zoo to a 400-acre (160 ha) tract adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway as the Blue Ridge Zoo. This proposal was later abandoned in favor of the development of Virginia's Explore Park at the location originally proposed for the zoo. After the failed relocation proposal, the Blue Ridge Zoological Society voted in 1988 to have the zoo permanently located 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 successfully implemented over the course of the next decade.
The following are some of the more notable animals to be housed at the zoo:
The zoo is host to 85 animals and 35 different 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 loveable wolverine, Nina the cougar, Tasha (who died at a very old age recently) and Boris the gorgeous snow leopards, Nova the red panda who was later joined by Takeo (Sophia, MMZ's red panda who was sent for breeding at the Denver Zoo), and the ever funny Japanese macaques-Richard, Mom, and Oops. Recent additions are red wolves, cinereous vultures, a Canadian lynx, four Asian short clawed otters, and pallas's cats (will be out once an exhibit is built).
Animals of the future