Zoos

Luray Reptile Center Luray

Where is it at?

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Luray Reptile Center
1087 US Hwy 211 West
Luray
VA
22835
Tel: (540) 743-4113

Where are we going today?

Seeing zookeepers interact with animals and know them personally. Having a zookeeper available to answer your questions. Getting Close and personal with animals is something Luray Zoo does best! Have you ever been close enough to a tiger you can count their whiskers?
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What people are saying?

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    I have taken my daughter there twice and plan to go back again this weekend. It is a little small but you have to know what to expect going in. It is a rescue zoo and Mark takes in mammals and reptiles that have been abandoned by their previous owners. He obviously is passionate about his job, which seems to rub some people the wrong way, but I found it refreshing. It is nice to see someone who cares as much about animals as I do. Also, the snakes seemed fine every time I have visited despite some of the previous comments.

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    Mark and the staff at Luray Rescue Zoo do amazing things - given what they have to work with. Each animal is well cared for and loved. They are there for the animals. Every time I am in the area I make an effort to stop into the Luray Zoo to visit. If you are looking for a large zoo with a big play area for your children and a chance to let them run and scream this is NOT the place for you. If you are looking for a place to learn about some animals and see how a few people who really care about animals can make a difference -- do not miss this place....Read More

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    First thing, the front door is an alligator mouth, my kids (2 and 3 years old) were a little nervous walking through that door. :) The kids price was wonderful! Free for under 3, and only $5 for kids. $10 for adults was a little much for what there was. If you are into snakes, this may be more fun for you. The snakes were very active in the cages, and that just made me nervous. While we were in the first snake room, the owner was in the second snake room giving the "rules" of the "zoo." Just unbelievable! No running is understandable, and...Read More

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    I visited the zoo in August of 2012, and was upset with what I saw. I drove up there to see the snake collection, because I had heard it was the best in VA. When I got there, I found there certainly was a large collection of snakes... almost none of which are healthy. I am not sure how to gauge the weight of venomous snakes by looking, but they all appeared quite thin. Some barely breathed when I watched them, even for 30+ seconds, basically indicating that they were feeling lethargic (even for a snake). Most of the snakes didn't have any sort of...Read More

Submit a review

by James Rutledge

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My wife and i took a private tour for her birthday today and we loved it. The zoo looks small from the outside, but inside there is plenty to do. The owner, Mark, is the one who gave us the tour, he was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. I do not agree with the other reviews where they did not like the owner. I strongly recommend not only visiting but taking the private tour if you have time, it is reasonably priced and will offer some once in a lifetime experiences. It is a place set up by people who love animals, for people who love animals.

by L. G. Kidd

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Mark and the staff at Luray Rescue Zoo do amazing things - given what they have to work with. Each animal is well cared for and loved. They are there for the animals. Every time I am in the area I make an effort to stop into the Luray Zoo to visit. If you are looking for a large zoo with a big play area for your children and a chance to let them run and scream this is NOT the place for you. If you are looking for a place to learn about some animals and see how a few people who really care about animals can make a difference -- do not miss this place.

by Sarah Threet

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First thing, the front door is an alligator mouth, my kids (2 and 3 years old) were a little nervous walking through that door. :) The kids price was wonderful! Free for under 3, and only $5 for kids. $10 for adults was a little much for what there was. If you are into snakes, this may be more fun for you. The snakes were very active in the cages, and that just made me nervous. While we were in the first snake room, the owner was in the second snake room giving the "rules" of the "zoo." Just unbelievable! No running is understandable, and no throwing the rocks, also understandable. But he said "No making animal sounds at the animals!!" and proceeded to scold the group about what noises mean what to animals, and you are showing aggression by doing that. Then he told all of these CHILDREN that 30 people die every year from dog attacks and most of those were little boys growling at dogs. REALLY??? He kept saying "WHY would you do THAT??!!" Just very uncomfortable. My toddlers have been waiting for this moment too, all those months of practicing their animal sounds they can now put to practical use. We wanted to turn around right then, not 4 steps into the building. But for our kids, we went on. We hung back and waited for him to leave before we went on, so we wouldn't get the lecture. The alligators and turtles were neat to see. Then you walk outside. It seemed like most of the cages were empty. There were lemurs and some monkeys and different kids of birds. Not much to look at. I overheard the owner cornering some poor guy and giving him a speech on government run zoos and how terrible they were... anyway.... The petting zoo was fun for the kiddos. They had a blast feeding the goats and llamas and deer. Another zoo employee was there answering questions. He was a little abrasive, and intrusive, but nothing like the first guy. But that was the zoo. They had a sign for a porcupine and tiger, but they were not in their cages. Some of the animals did look sickly, but it is a rescue zoo, it's to be expected. Bathrooms are port-a-johns. But there were a few hand washing stations. A big plus there!

Overall, we could have saved our $25 and went to a market to feed some goats. But it was worth a shot, while we were in the area.

by Katherine Neal

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I visited the zoo in August of 2012, and was upset with what I saw. I drove up there to see the snake collection, because I had heard it was the best in VA. When I got there, I found there certainly was a large collection of snakes... almost none of which are healthy. I am not sure how to gauge the weight of venomous snakes by looking, but they all appeared quite thin. Some barely breathed when I watched them, even for 30+ seconds, basically indicating that they were feeling lethargic (even for a snake). Most of the snakes didn't have any sort of log or hide box to escape into, and many had too little water in their dishes. The enclosures were dirty. Worst of all were the skin problems-- there were a large number of snakes there which were shedding poorly, with strips of old skin still clinging to their bodies, indicating the humidity is way too low for them. One individual had so many pieces of old skin still stuck to it that it basically had not shed at all, and until I saw it breathe I thought this may have been a dessicated carcass rather than a living snake-- that's how bad it looked. The zoo has a pair of large pythons-- a reticulated python and a burmese. Both appeared to be lacking muscle tone. Since Mark, the owner, is the only person who handles the snakes, there shouldn't have been any large pythons there anyway as these require more than one person to handle due to weighing in excess of 200 lbs. Furthermore, the reticulated python had almost no water. The burm had strips of skin stuck to it, again indicating that humidity is too low. Such low humidity will harm and can kill snakes.

The problems did not end with the snakes. There is a single Bengal tiger on exhibit. This animal was, in my opinion, quite skinny for a tiger of that size; it was not emaciated, but clearly had little muscle mass and was therefore not being fed and exercised enough. One of the gray parrots on display was sitting with fluffed feathers, a common sign of illness in birds. There was a dove exhibit with way too many birds for the space they were given. One was sitting on the ground and I suspect it was sick. The whole zoo smelled, indicating that cleaning was not exactly meticulous (I know animals can smell, but zoos are generally kept as pristine as possible as the animals are on public display).

I suspect this zoo is broke. The "bathrooms", for instance (a pair of port-a-john's) had no hand sanitizer. A quick look at the gift shop reveals nearly empty soda refrigerators. I spoke to Mark, the owner of the zoo, and basically played dumb, acting like I know little about caring for snakes or other exotics and letting him talk. My impression is that I was talking to a man who had some passion for snakes but had become embittered and, finally, broke (I didn't ask him about the history of the zoo; this is my subjective impression, based on how he talked about the snakes, the zoo, and the visitors). I suspect he had enthusiasm at one point, but through a combination of ignorance (he said his knowledge of how to handle and care for venomous snakes came from his mother, who had kept snakes; he may never have gone to the trouble of researching them further, believing the skills he'd learned to be adequate), apathy (no matter how broke you are, you can still clean the poo out and put water in the dishes), and financial problems, basically gave up on trying to care properly for the zoo animals. I feel sorry both for him and the animals stuck in his care; the whole situation is just sad. There are some enthusiasts out there who keep venomous snakes, and it would be nice if some responsible zoos and private owners could take at least some of his animals.

The Weather

Sunday

Conditions: Chance of Rain
Temp: 54° F / 12° C
Humidity: 97 %
Wind: NE - 6 MPH

Monday

Conditions: Rain
Temp: 50° F / 10° C
Humidity: 91 %
Wind: NE - 10 MPH

Tuesday

Conditions: Partly Cloudy
Temp: 55° F / 13° C
Humidity: 71 %
Wind: WNW - 16 MPH

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