Reston Zoo

Roer's Zoofari is a family zoo located at 1228 Hunter Mill Road, Reston, Virginia, United States. It covers an area of 30 acres and contains a petting barn and allows visitors to go on safari wagon rides around the park. It contains lambs, ostriches, camels, monkeys, zebras, bisons, ducks, goats, horses and buffalos.[1][2] It also has a reptile house and alligators.[3]

History

In 1975, local developer and entrepreneur Mack Slye "Jack" Crippen Jr. opened the Pet-A-Pet Farm on a 60-acre parcel he owned near Lake Fairfax Park, which he had developed in the 1960s and later sold to Fairfax County.[4][5] Crippen had been a collector of exotic animals for a few years, and the closing of the American Broadcasting Company's 280-acre Largo Wildlife Preserve in Prince George's County, Maryland and the availability of its menagerie was the trigger for his venture.[4][6]

After operating Pet-A-Pet for a few years and losing nearly $200,000 in the venture, Crippen decided to close it in 1978, selling off or giving away most of the 500 animals at the petting zoo.[4] The last animal to be rehomed was a 17-year-old female Asian elephant named "Topsy", who originally supposed to be sent to the Portland Zoo in February 1979, but the deal fell through and Topsy instead wound up in a circus, where she was euthanized after injuring a trainer.[4][7]

However, Mark Smith, an employee of the Zoological Consortium, a professional management group which had been brought in by Crippen to help dispose of all the animals at Pet-A-Pet, decided to try to reopen the park.[4][8] Smith was able to find a financial backer in Loudoun businessman Robert D. Johnson, and the new zoo, now named Pet Farm Park, opened in the spring of 1980.[8]

In 1993, Pet Farm Park was renamed Reston Animal Park.

In 1994 Johnson and his wife Shirley sued Mack Crippen for violating an agreement over the rental of the park property, but eventually reached an agreement that would allow the couple to continue to rent the property, now reduced to 30 acres, for the next five years.[9][10]

When the lease ran out in 1999, the Johnsons were not able to reach a new lease agreement with Mack Crippen and moved Reston Animal Park to a rented location on the Sunshine Farms in Loudoun County.[11] Eventually, Johnson would change the name to the Leesburg Animal Park in 2001.

As the zoning for the location required that it be used as either a zoo or become open space, Crippen leased the location to Eric and Janet Mogensen, who moved in new animals and opened the Reston Zoo in the Spring of 2000.[12] Following Mack Crippen's death in 2006, the Mogensens bought the property from Crippen's estate in 2009.[13]

In 2012 Reston Zoo was embroiled in controversy when its director, Meghan Mogensen, was found guilty of drug possession and animal cruelty due to drowning a wallaby in a bucket. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail.[14] After appealing a guilty verdict, Mogensen pleaded guilty in January 2013. Part of her plea agreement prohibited her from overseeing animal euthanization.[15]

Prior to opening for the season in March 2016, the Reston Zoo was purchased by Vanessa Stoffel and Jacob Roer, who changed its name to Roer's Zoofari.[16][17]

Animals

References

  1. ^ Masterson, Sarah K. (30 September 2008). DC Baby: Revised Second Edition. DC BABY, Revised 2nd Edition. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-9774494-1-5. Retrieved 2011. 
  2. ^ Welch, Larry (1 February 2003). Mary Virginia, a Father's Story. Trafford Publishing. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-55395-332-6. Retrieved 2011. 
  3. ^ "Reston Zoo - A Petting Zoo in Vienna, Virginia". About.com. Retrieved 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Collins, Dennis (8 February 1979). "Topsy: From the Big Top to a Children's Petting Farm, Elephant Bids Triumphant Farewell to Stardom". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015 - via Proquest. (Subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ Sullivan, Patricia (16 February 2006). "'Jack' Crippen; Storied Operator Of 'Stump Dump,' Animal Farm". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015. 
  6. ^ Diehl, Jackson (16 November 1978). "Zoo to Bring Animals Within Visitors' Reach". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015. 
  7. ^ Green, Alan (1999). Animal Underworld: Inside America's Black Market for Rare and Exotic Species. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-1586483746. 
  8. ^ a b Johnson, Janis (10 July 1980). "Antlers Aweigh! Pet Farm Is Back, Full of Soft Touches". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015 - via Proquest. (Subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ Mariano, Ann (5 February 1994). "But What Would Dr. Doolittle Think? Family Sues Over Lease of Reston Pet Farm". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015. 
  10. ^ Lipton, Eric (3 December 1994). "Animal Park Won't Roam From Reston". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015. 
  11. ^ Hedgpeth, Dana (10 October 1999). "Animal Park Finds Room to Roost". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015. 
  12. ^ Branigin, William (28 July 2000). "Roamin' Empire Fights Sprawl". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015. 
  13. ^ Zeidner, Rita (15 October 2011). "A suburban home where buffalo, zebras and peahens roam". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015 - via Proquest. (Subscription required (help)). 
  14. ^ Golgowski, Nina (29 September 2012). "Virginia zoo director guilty of drowning wallaby in bucket of water before tossing in dumpster". Daily Mail.com. Retrieved 2015. 
  15. ^ Goff, Karen (3 January 2013). "Zoo Director Pleads Guilty in Wallaby Death". Reston Patch. Patch.com. Retrieved 2015. 
  16. ^ Goff, Karen (14 March 2016). "New Name, New Ownership for The Reston Zoo". Reston Now. Retrieved 2016. 
  17. ^ "Reston Zoo to Reopen With New Name, New Owners". NBC Washington. NBCUniversal Media. 18 March 2016. Retrieved 2016. 

External links

Coordinates: 38°34?54?N 77°11?06?W / 38.5817°N 77.1850°W / 38.5817; -77.1850


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