The Wild Side

Spring at Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Zoo.

Tweedle the barn owl. Photo courtesy Mill Mountain Zoo.

Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter this year, but his fellow critters at Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Zoo are certainly ready for warmer weather. A lineup of springtime and ongoing events are planned at MMZ, the only major nonprofit wildlife attraction on the entire 469-mile span of Blue Ridge Parkway. “We have a lot of fun things planned for families for kids alike this spring,” says the zoo’s education and conservation manager, Bambi Godkin. “But we highly recommend people plan ahead by calling or booking online so we can adhere to COVID precautions and ensure that visitors are able to fully enjoy our programming.”

The zoo’s popular Night Howls series wraps its season on March 18

The Spring Fling on March 20 celebrates the first official day of the season with gardening, birding, and arts and crafts activities for all ages, all of which are included with regular zoo admission. 

MMZ’s Zoo Venture Spring Break Camp (April 6-8) provides the perfect opportunity for students ages 6-13 to breathe some fresh air and experience nature in this age of screentime and virtual schooling. Each day is specially themed and full of educational activities, hands-on interactions with animals, guided zoo tours, games, art projects, stories, and more. Parents must register by April 2 and may choose to enroll their child in one day or all three.

Later in the month, the Zoo will host its Third Annual Fierce Film Festival, accepting short film entries about animals, nature, or conservation from filmmakers of all ages. This year’s finalists will be selected by zoo staff and screened on April 11 at The Spot on Kirk in downtown Roanoke before one winner is announced and awarded with a Mill Mountain Zoo Gift Basket and Family Membership.

On April 17, MMZ and southwest Virginia’s Clean Valley Council will host a Party for the Planet, an Earth Day bash featuring eco-friendly art activities and the unveiling of a new sculpture sponsored by Arts to Rescue the River, a program that employs local artists to build creations out of trash rescued from nearby waterways. MMZoo.org


This article originally appeared in the April 2021 issue. See below for more March-April 2021 events.

June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum